May 29, 2013 by Loren Bonner , DOTmed News Online Editor
Patients in an underserved area of the U.S. now have access to high-quality, low-dose lung cancer screening because of a mobile CT unit equipped with a universal CT image reconstruction add-on system.
SafeCT, from the Israeli company Medic Vision Imaging Solutions, was recently added to a mobile CT scanner that will serve patients in North and South Dakota.
"This is our first implementation on a mobile CT. All our installations so far were on non-mobile scanners in hospitals and imaging centers," Eyal Aharon, CEO of Medic Vision, told DOTmed News.
SafeCT works by automatically receiving the noisy images resulting from low-dose studies acquired on the scanner, processing them, and transferring the resulting enhanced images in real-time to the workstation, without the need for any intervention by the technologist.
Low-dose CT has garnered support recently from many major medical societies to screen patients for lung cancer, as opposed to chest radiography. Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published results of the first of three planned annual screening examinations from the National Lung Screening Trial. Analysis of the initial annual screening found that more than twice as many early-stage lung cancers were detected with low-dose CT compared with chest X-ray.
CT as a screening tool has normally been controversial, and is still seen that way by many experts, due to concerns about radiation exposure, the costs of imaging, and follow-up testing on patients.
The new mobile CT equipped with SafeCT will provide low-dose lung cancer screening services to the general public at rural shopping centers in North and South Dakota.
Aharon said that adding SafeCT to an existing CT can eliminate the need for replacing the CT scanner with a more expensive new CT system. In the case of the mobile CT scanner in the Dakotas, SafeCT was added to a mobile GE Lightspeed 16, a common configuration, according to Aharon. In addition to saving the customer money, adding SafeCT also allowed them to avoid the hassle related to replacing the CT in the mobile unit.
"Unlike hospitals that typically have multiple scanners and therefore can accommodate a downtime of one of them, in a mobile unit every minute counts: downtime due to CT upgrade equals loss of income," said Aharon.
Mobile units also have limited staff and support, so the seamless integration and unchanged workflow was important in this case.
"The installation, integration, training and tests were all completed in just a couple of days, which made our customer happy," said Aharon.
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