When is it time for a new nuclear camera?

If you have an aging nuclear gamma camera, you’ll soon be faced with a number of important decisions that will affect the direction of your business. Over time, cameras show signs of wear and tear, many of which can be addressed through maintenance. At some point, however, when multiple, more critical issues arise, or when outdated technology leaves you at a service disadvantage, it may be time for a replacement. Is your camera at that point? Below are some of the more important questions to consider:

Is your camera…

  • Over ten years old?
  • Nearing or at its end-of-life?
  • Difficult to find replacement parts for?
  • No longer performing to the original specifications?
  • Causing you to question you clinical confidence?
  • Reporting an increased number of false positives?
  • Incompatible with newly released software and technology?
  • Delivering a less than ideal patient and technologist experience?
  • Providing outdated technical specifications and negatively affecting your clinical outcomes?
  • Experiencing excessive downtime?

What do I do?

Most practices understandably try to hold onto their equipment for as long as possible. Doing this though forces you to accept certain compromises over time: your camera may require repair more often, it may not perform to the original specifications, and clinical confidence may no longer be at its highest.

Your camera’s current performance is not the only deciding factor when it comes to replacing equipment. The decision is also driven by financial realities. Fortunately, in today’s market, there are multiple options. Most practices choose one of these three paths:

New technology: Purchase a new camera that utilizes state of the art technology to deliver higher image quality and resolution, increased patient comfort and convenience, improved clinical confidence and accuracy, capable of today’s low dose protocols and faster imaging time when practical.

Old technology: Purchase a newer model camera with fewer miles. This is a less expensive way to upgrade your camera, but consider the amount of money you’ll spend only to remain behind the technology curve. If you’re investing in upgraded equipment, your clinical outcomes should be substantially better for it.

A mobile imaging service: Partner with a mobile imaging service and avoid the investment of any additional capital expense. You’ll have the benefit of advanced technology, never worry about repairs or upgrades, and can customize a service package that can include any combination of staff, equipment, licensing, accreditation, and supplies.

You can also couple one of these options with your vendor’s trade-in program if they offer that service. Trading in your existing camera and applying the residual value to your replacement option can lighten the financial burden.

Make it better

Regardless of the option you choose, be sure to consider the needs and demands of the industry today and into the future. Healthcare is changing, and clinical accuracy is quickly becoming one of the most critical influencers among insurers and payer organizations. Any investment you make should contribute to a better patient experience, lower radiation burden to the patient, improved outcomes, or other added clinical value, all of which will ultimately help your practice successfully navigate the new healthcare business model.


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