Dr. Max Lippert and Dr. Stefan Feiler manage a joint practice for orthopedics in Schweinfurt, Germany. The images have been perfect since they have been producing X-ray photographs using digital film storage radiography. The innovative image system integrates seamlessly into the IT infrastructure of the modern orthopedics practice. The image quality no longer depends on numerous external influences as in the times of wet chemical development. The doctors were able to greatly simplify the complete archive management. X-ray bags are a thing of the past in the Schweinfurt practice ? and nobody misses them.
The orthopedics practice of Dr. Lippert and Dr. Feiler was already almost completely digitalized before the investment in the Regius 190 film storage system from Konica Minolta. Both orthopedists organized the complete workflow with a practice management system. The patient data only have to be input once and can be called up very quickly at all 14 workplaces in the practice network where patients are treated together with X-ray, ultrasonic or endoscopy images.
Dr. Max Lippert and Dr. Stefan Feiler remember: “In the past, the complex procedure of archiving X-ray photographs and fetching the archived photographs into the treatment room again cost us a lot of nerves, time and money”. “The highlight of digital radiography is direct access to the digital X-ray images everywhere and at any time”.
“X-raying is an important integral part in the orthopedic practice. Whoever wants to work in a modern way needs a digital X-ray system”.
Dr. Max Lippert
Two cassette slots only 40 seconds for the image
Before the orthopedists in the Schweinfurt practice decided on the film storage system from Konica Minolta, they informed themselves about all the systems available on the market. They looked at numerous devices and made comparisons.
“The Regius 190 is one of the most modern systems. Its functionality and the simple operating concept are convincing” is how Dr. Max Lippert justifies his decision for Konica Minolta. The manageable system is also suitable for recording complete spines and legs. A software module merges three photographs made in a special stand into one large overview. Thereby, it is also compatible with stands from the independent accessories trade. Some competitors were no longer on the short list due to this requirement of the doctors.
The small footprint of the compact dual slot system is also notable.
With a space requirement of only 0.35 square meters, there is space for it in the smallest corner.
Dr. Max Lippert: “The conversion from conventional X-ray technology to a digital recording process was child’s play due to well-coordinated logistics and precise detail planning. The work was completed within one day”.
The technicians dismantled and disposed of the development machine. The engineers integrated the Konica Minolta system in the network environment while the carpenter converted the darkroom. The familiarization took place on the following day which only required a little time thanks to the innovative operating concept using a touch screen. An application assistant familiarized the practice staff with handling the system and took care of the optimal adjustment of the individual examination parameters.
Dr Stefan Feiler dispatches the X-ray order during the consultation with the patient. The assistant is immediately informed by the new workflow about the new entry in the “X-ray virtual waiting room”. The electronic order has all the necessary data. The X-ray assistant explains the individual work operations as “I select the patient on the touch screen monitor with my index finger, fetch the appropriate X-ray cassette and make the recording”.
Depending on the cassette size, a preview image is available on the operating console after only 12 to 24 seconds.
It takes about 40 seconds until the photograph is displayed in high resolution. The dual slot concept favored by Konica Minolta makes it possible to insert a second cassette after a waiting time of 6 seconds. The assistant can provide the orthopedist with up to four examinations for assessment within only two minutes.
The assistant very quickly assigns patient and examination data to the picture disc with a barcode identification system. The photographs go back into the consulting room via the practice network.
Digital image processing fewer artifacts and noise
No more paper, no typing in patient data several times and no more carrying X-ray photographs through the practice. “The administrative effort of the X-ray assistants has been enormously reduced due to the digital recording process. They have significantly more time today to look after the patients”, explains Dr. Max Lippert. “The complete examination process has been greatly simplified with the Regius 190 from Konica Minolta”.
The images arrive at the assessment monitor of Dr. Max Lippert and Dr. Stefan Feiler with ideal default settings and a standard local resolution of 175 μm. “The digital X-ray photographs are perfectly usable and can be reproduced, printed or transmitted digitally at any time”, says Dr. Lippert about the benefits of using the new technology.
Artifacts and signal noises are clearly reduced using the organ-specific optimization of individual frequency bands (‘Hybrid Processing’) developed by Konica Minolta.
The Orthopedists can zoom in and out on the images on the computer, change brightness and contrast, measure distances and angles or invert the black and white values. If it is a matter of comparing the current image with a previous photograph, Dr. Lippert simply fetches the corresponding images on to the monitor and places both photographs directly next to each other.
The referring physicians receive a paper printout of the X-ray images or a CD with the diagnosis from the orthopedists. The doctors can now answer queries about the diagnosis directly during a telephone call. They put the digital images in the X-ray position with a few mouse clicks to retrieve them from the archive on to the monitor.
Both the orthopedists Dr. Max Lippert and Dr. Stefan Feiler are certain: “With the saving in operating costs alone, the investment costs for the film storage system are already paid for after a short time”. The operating costs for maintaining the development machine, the procurement and disposal of chemicals, and the film costs cease to exist. “If I take all that into account, the system amortizes itself within three years”, explains Dr. Max Lippert. “If the staff saving is also included, then it goes even quicker”.
The team in the Schweinfurt orthopedic practice produces more than 120 X-ray photographs per day. The saving of the smallest operations itself totals to impressive times.
Measuring, zooming, inverting, placing images directly next to each other and comparing: Everything is possible. Digital radiography increases the assessment quality.
Maximum meaningful information minimum radiation exposure
X-raying plays a significant role in orthopedics for the diagnosis of illnesses and injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Dr. Max Lippert: “Our objective is to protect patients from unnecessary exposure to radiation. With digital film storage radiography we are achieving a maximum in meaningful information with a minimum in exposure to radiation”.
The patient notices these benefits immediately. He sees that the doctors can rework the X-ray photographs at the latest when the orthopedists explain the diagnosis on the monitor to him. Confidence is created by brightening dark photographs or magnifying small hairline cracks in a few simple steps.
Dr. Lippert is particularly very pleased about the reliability of the Regius 190 from Konica Minolta. The stored films show no kind of degradation after almost one year. The absolutely contactless reading process of the picture discs, which runs completely without mechanical load on the stored films, contributes to this.
The digital patient file with integrated digital image management also puts the orthopedists Dr. Max Lippert and Dr. Stefan Feiler in the position that they have access even in the operation to the patient data including X-ray, endoscopy and ultrasonic images. The bidirectional data exchange of the film storage system with the practice software takes place via a GDT interface. “The organizational benefit of digital radiography in combination with a practice management system is enormous”, stress Dr. Lippert and Dr. Feiler.
The complete practice team is more than satisfied with the innovative Regius 190 digital radiography system from Konica Minolta.
Dr. Stefan Feiler “Digital X-raying pays for itself after about three years with the saving in operating costs alone”.