Interim imaging can be the answer to many of the challenges providers and hospitals face when it comes to managing their imaging needs. Successful execution of a short-term solution, however, begins in the planning stage. Here are some things you’ll need to consider:
1. Timing Requirements for Interim Imaging
Preparing for the transition to interim imaging should start well in advance of the date in which it’s needed. In fact, contact with the rental provider should be initiated as soon as the decision is made to move forward with renovations or new imaging equipment.
Although a four-month lead-time is ideal, it is possible to obtain mobile interim imaging equipment within a shorter time frame. During the time before the delivery of the asset, you’ll work with a vendor to determine your equipment needs, iron out the logistics, negotiate a contract, schedule any necessary training, and coordinate delivery options.
Of course, the terms of the rental contract are a critical piece of the process, but special consideration should be given to the beginning and end dates.
Consider allowing a short period of overlap at the beginning of the contract, which provides your staff ample time to transition to the equipment and workflow. Make sure to give yourself a little extra time at the tail end of the contract to help alleviate any potential disruptions caused by unforeseen delays in the project.
Keep in mind, these interim imaging units are often reserved far in advance by hospitals and imaging facilities throughout North America. While most imaging providers are willing to be flexible and extend an existing contract, it may not always be an option due to other commitments.
Communication with your mobile imaging provider is essential. This will help ensure an all-around successful project outcome, especially if the completion timeline begins to push out to a later date. It is important to notify your imaging provider ASAP when a project may need to extend. The earlier the notification is provided, the higher the likelihood the equipment will be available to accommodate the extension.
2. Locating Interim Imaging Equipment
Most interim imaging systems are rented on a first come, first served basis and there is a limited supply. The earlier you initiate contact with a rental provider and determine your equipment needs, the higher the likelihood of securing the equipment you requested. Don’t wait until the last minute and find you have no option but to settle for the equipment the provider has in inventory, or worse yet, push out your project timeline.
Ideally, your interim rental equipment should be the same as, or as close as possible, to your current system; age, make, model, software level, etc. In which case, your staff will require less training, experience minimal disruption in service, and allow for a shorter and smoother transition period.
For those reasons, the more advanced notice a provider has to identify, locate, and reserve equipment, the better the chances of finding the best fit.
3. Interim Imaging Workflow Considerations
Imaging equipment that is different from your current system might require changes in protocols. Matching the manufacturer, type of software, and available options can be more difficult for some modalities than others. The good news is that some interim imaging providers can offer applications support if needed.
Each modality has its own set of considerations. For example, with MRI, there is the need to identify and best match or locate specific coils that are needed to perform certain exams. These seemingly small details could significantly affect the supplier’s ability to locate the “best fit” due to limited industry supply or other factors, and therefore must be addressed in advance.
All projects come with their own set of hurdles. With interim imaging, many of those challenges can be avoided or minimized by reaching out to your rental provider as early as possible and clearly communicating your needs throughout the entire project. You’ll benefit from a higher quality of service, a smoother transition, and an overall better experience.