Hospital's New Mobile X-Ray Expands Imaging Options, Limits Radiation

Digital radiology is on the move at Humboldt General Hospital with the purchase of a new mobile x-ray unit.

The CARESTREAM DRX-Revolution Mobile X-ray System will allow HGH's Radiology Department to bring the key capabilities of a radiology room right to the patient.

The Humboldt County Hospital District Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the new unit at its April 22 meeting at a cost of $153,000; the new equipment was delivered at the end of June.

HGH Administrative Director of Imaging Pam Wickkiser said the old portable x-ray unit was 28 years old and, like most things, didn't show its age until her department began checking into the newer model.

"The technology has changed so extensively," she said. "It was remarkable what we were able to get with this new unit."

Wickkiser said the new unit provides the highest degree of clarity and resolution in an x-ray—both of which can directly affect the success of a patient's outcome.

Touch-screen display allows for quick image review directly on the unit; previously, technologists had to return to the Radiology Department to see whether the needed image had been captured.

Images can also be sent directly from the unit to physicians, or to the department's archive system.

Plus, Wickkiser said the new x-ray is very compact and maneuverable, even making easy 360-degree turns in hospital hallways or patient rooms.

Wickkiser said the unit's best feature, however, is its decreased radiation exposure.

"This unit decreases the radiation dose by more than 75 percent, as compared to our previous x-ray," she said. "This is the safety feature that really sold us on this purchase. How much radiation our patients are receiving is a top concern."

The new unit is wireless. Three included batteries will capture about 200 images each.

The life expectancy of the new unit is also 10 years—which is fine with Wickkiser.

"I don't think we'll be keeping this one around for 28 years," she joked. "Technology is just changing too quickly."

But Wickkiser said she and her staff members are excited to add the new mobile x-ray to their lineup of state-of-the-art modalities including CT Scan, MRI, fixed X-Ray, Vascular Ultrasound, Obstetrical Ultrasound, Cardiac Ultrasound, Mammography and Bone Densitometry.

Over the past several years, Wickkiser said the hospital has added or replaced all eight of its modalities, bringing the latest technology and diagnostic capabilities to Humboldt County.

"As a team, our goal is to make sure that we provide Humboldt County with the finest imaging services possible."

For more information on Humboldt General Hospital's Radiology Department or to make an appointment, please call (775) 623-5222, ext. 1131.