Cardiff, Wales, - University Hospital Wales (UHW) recently acquired four Philips DigitalDiagnost (DiDi) Flex wireless systems for use in the busiest radiology department in Wales. The hospital needed to upgrade to a system which would not only provide exceptional images but also effortlessly deliver on waiting time targets. The new configuration of four DR rooms, each with a moveable vertical stand and digital wireless portable detector, has enabled UHW to move to a gold standard in the service it provides.
Deputy Superintendent Radiographer, Helen Burns, comments “The Philips equipment is unlike anything else I have ever seen. The design is very different, yet simple and elegant and in our evaluation Philips came out way ahead. I have been qualified for 33 years and I didn’t think I’d be excited about anything at work ever again but I am invigorated – I love this system.”
In addition to being one of the busiest radiology departments in Wales, it is also the largest and has one of the busiest A&E units in the UK. The new equipment has enabled the department to introduce a Radiographer Reporting Scheme. Previously radiology provided a formal report within 24 hours, but by then the patient may have been discharged. Now, a small team of reporting radiographers issues a formal report while the patient is still in A&E.
Philips’ wireless portable detector enhances the flexibility of the system as the detector can be used between rooms, providing freedom of movement and eliminating obstructive cables. Through intelligent design, the wireless portable detector excels in trauma, orthopaedic and routine exposures. In addition, because the portable detector is completely integrated in the Digital Diagnost’s workflow, it offers fast results for free exposures that can be instantly processed and displayed. The detector irself is of robust design and can be used for patients up to 135 kg in bed thorax exams and up to 100 kg in weight-bearing exams. It is also splash-resistant and therefore easy to clean.
Helen goes on to cite one particular case as an example of when the wireless detector came into its own. “During a particularly busy lunch hour in A&E with only two staff on, we had nine patients waiting for an X-ray and an immobile elderly patient came in with swollen limbs and rheumatoid arthritis. He needed both feet, ankles, knees, hands and elbows X-raying. I was worried that it would take a long time and we were already so busy, but I used the wireless detector, saw the images immediately and got it all done in eight minutes. It was just incredible.”
The DigitalDiagnost Flex room comes with Philips’ multi-resolution image processing ‘UNIQUE’ for high image quality at the lowest possible X-ray dose. UNIQUE delivers good detail visibility in all areas, with images that are processed and optimised for each anatomy according to the user’s preferences. The high quality images have impressed the whole team in Cardiff. Dr. Kyle Jacques, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, says, “When I first saw the new images it was reminiscent of the first time I saw colour TV. It was a lumbar spine X-ray and the difference was amazing.” Dr. Jacques, a major trauma specialist goes on to comment on how the time saved using the new digital system can help him to save lives. He explains, “The fact that I can now have an image in eight seconds instead of twenty minutes, makes a big difference. I can make decisions in real-time. For a drowning incident, for example, I can’t put in a chest drain until we’ve seen definitive X-rays. We can also re-X-ray straight after putting in a chest drain to check everything is OK.”
The ergonomic design of the Philips DigitalDiagnost has proved a winner over the years and the integrated digital version builds on this reputation. The radiographers at UHW have been particularly pleased with the system’s flexibility and design. The opportunites created by the new technology have led the team to change their work patterns, so that the DR rooms have been set up in different ways to reflect the workload. Rob Brown, Superintendent Radiographer in Emergency Medicine says, “One room is set up for traditional on-table imaging using the under-bed detector and the others are set-up as standing upright.” Rob continues, “We have had to learn to work smartly and the kit has encouraged us to do that. From the first day of installation we knew we had made the right choice. Philips and their installers were totally professional and they bent over backwards to fit into our timescale. The whole process was a joy and there was a real team spirit. We are so happy with the finished product and the kit performs even better than we expected.”