A preventative maintenance program is the most effective way to keep your nuclear camera operating at its best and address potential issues before they impact your practice. Most often, issues with SPECT and nuclear gamma cameras arise over time and a consistent, comprehensive program will ensure the optimal performance of your system. Additionally, a valid preventative maintenance program is required to satisfy accreditation and regulatory requirements, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly or, more importantly, sacrificed as a way to reduce costs.
What should be covered with preventative maintenance?
A preventative maintenance plan should include a detailed review, both visually and functionally, of the entire system. The following items are what should be checked at each visit:
- Perform a visual review of the camera’s motion
- Ensure that all appropriate parts are properly lubricated
- Verify all limit switches, location sensors, and gears are in working order
- Ensure fans are properly functioning, and filters are free of dust or debris
- Listen for excessive noise, which may indicate the need for replacement
- Look for excessive humidity levels
Image Quality Assurance
- Verify that energy peaks are within the expected range
- Confirm all uniformities are in good condition
- For solid-state systems, ensure pixel maps follow manufacturer’s guidelines
- Check x-ray alignment and attenuation correction, if applicable
- Review checks and balances on the computer to ensure optimum efficiency
- Save all calibration backups to the server
- Perform a final gauge check to ensure there are no other issues
How often should maintenance be performed?
Generally, stationary systems should receive preventative maintenance twice per year, and mobile imaging systems should have a maintenance check at least three times a year. While most practices would benefit most from a contractual preventative maintenance program, many providers also provide on-demand service.
Preventative maintenance programs allow for quicker identification and resolution of camera issues and ensure your system is working at an optimum level at all times. When compared to on-demand service, a preventative maintenance program is less expensive in the long run and can provide you with 24-hour service, technical support, software updates, priority parts, expedited delivery and discounts on labor costs, to name a few.
Are you considering a preventative maintenance program for your camera? We would love to help! Learn more about Digirad’s preventative maintenance programs here.