The demand for helium is at an all-time high. This is problematic because there’s a shortage of liquid helium. In the U.S., this shortage is due to commitments with government contracts, fewer new sources of helium, high international demandand waste. In the medical field, this is problematic since commitments have been made in existing customer contracts. And because of the shortage, there’s now an unspoken moratorium on spot fills as suppliers try to honor their contractual commitments.
The cost of liquid helium has skyrocketed, costing almost double then it used to. As a result, many liquid helium service organizations are having to raise their full service pricing, which affects your costs. If you don’t have a service contract for your MRI, you might not be able to access liquid helium in a timely manner, or at all! Here are some ideas to help you get through this challenging situation.
Stay On Top Of MRI Maintenance
Be sure to replace your coldhead before it flatlines. By all means, schedule regular preventative maintenance on your chiller in order to avoid costly repairs.
Reduce Your Consumption
You can choose to have remote magnet monitoring service. You’ll be able to catch any HVAC issue that could turn your compressor off during the weekend. It can also identify when magnet pressure increase are causing increased boil-off. Magnet monitoring service also monitors your helium levels week over week so you can reduce the occurrence of excessive helium loss.
You should also examine your records and determine what your monthly helium loss is expected to be. That way you can respond more quickly should you see an increase in the boil-off.
Inform Your Provider
Are you bringing a new system online? Be sure to notify your liquid helium provider several months in advance. Of course, you should also update your provider regularly about the helium levels of your current magnet or magnets, too. This kind of proactive thinking will help you avoid the need for an emergency fill (if you could even get one!)
The Good News
According to industry experts, we can expect the shortage to level out during the latter part of 2020 or early part of 2021. That still leaves a long time to try to handle the shortage and the higher costs of liquid helium.
Talk To An Expert
If you have questions or concerns about the availability of liquid helium for your MRI equipment, or are searching for the right equipment for your hospital, clinic, practice or healthcare facility, be sure to reach out to Atlantis Worldwide. We’ve been helping customers for more than three decades and would love to help you.
Some blogs you may have missed:
- Comparing 1.5T MRI Gradient Slew Rates
- MRI Cold Head Tips
- Service Contracts for Imaging Systems: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish?
- Radiologists, Healthcare & Social Media
- Should your business lease or buy medical imaging equipment?
- Free MRI Resources
Meet the author: Vikki Harmonay