Many physicians are curious about mobile imaging but have questions about the service and how it actually works. As a leading provider of mobile nuclear imaging, the Digirad team has met with thousands of practices and cardiology providers. Here are the answers to the most common questions we receive.
How many patients do I need for mobile imaging to make sense?
Generally, one service day per month, with six patients per day, is considered reasonable. More patients allow for greater profitability. If there are fewer than four patients in a day, it may be difficult to justify the economics. Much of what determines your breakeven point is determined by the terms of the contract. Structure the relationship so that your breakeven point is modest compared to the number of tests you can perform in a single day, thereby ensuring profitability.
What are the upfront costs for mobile imaging?
There should be no, or very little, upfront costs for mobile imaging. The whole purpose of mobile imaging is to provide a practice with an imaging solution without the initial capital and overhead expenditures. The provider you choose should be responsible for the credentialing, accreditation, equipment, staffing, supplies, HIPAA compliance, billing and coding support.
I am not an authorized user; can I still offer mobile nuclear imaging?
Yes. You do not need to be board-certified in nuclear cardiology to take advantage of a mobile imaging service. Your mobile imaging provider can assist with all related licensing requirements and put you in contact with an authorized user to read your patients’ images.
How much space do I need?
One standard size exam room will sufficiently serve as the location for your imaging services. The imaging staff will use the room for the day, set up the equipment, image patients, and return the room to its original configuration at the end of the day.
Will offering nuclear imaging cut down on the number of echos?
By offering both modalities in your office, you’ll be more inclined to choose the right test for the right patient at the right time. Initially, you may see some shift from echo to nuclear, but over time, you may be doing the same number of echos and more nuclears. You’ll feel more comfortable and confident that you’re making the right recommendation because both are conveniently available and easily accessible.
Who will be providing the imaging?
While we can’t speak for the entire industry, Digirad hires only qualified nuclear medicine technologists who are certified by NMTCB or ARRT(N) and certified cardiovascular technicians. We provide references and license verification for each of our personnel. These highly technical professionals also undergo a thorough screening process. They integrate themselves with your practice and procedures to become an asset and contribute to the overall success of your business.
How much does mobile nuclear imaging cost?
The honest answer is that it will vary. The cost of your mobile imaging service should be structured in such a way that every service day results in a profit for your practice. The level of profitability will depend upon the unique needs of your practice: your clinical volume, the frequency of service days, the studies you perform and your office location. The margin between your set mobile imaging cost and the fee billed to payers will allow you to calculate your profitability in advance.
Is mobile nuclear imaging equipment as good as what patients would get in the hospital?
Yes. Digirad’s Cardius® imaging cameras use digital solid-state technology that is more advanced than many cameras in the market. The images that mobile cameras produce are of equal, or often better, quality to the images produced by stationary or fixed camera systems. The Cardius® features include:
- Solid State Flat Panel Detectors
- Compact, Open Design
- TruACQ™ Count-Based Imaging
- nSPEED™ 3D OSEM Reconstruction
- Imaging Capacity of Patients up to 500 pounds
Have a question not on this list? Let us know and we can get you an answer.