By Zach Parker, Director of IT and Service Delivery
The healthcare industry is one that is constantly evolving – and when it comes to radiology and other highly technological fields of health care, the evolution is even more rapid. Radiology imaging is an area of medicine where expertise is both a prerequisite and a particular challenge, as success involves multiple jobs and disciplines working together.
The workflow ultimately comes down to three touchpoints and occupations. First, the engineer, who must ensure the equipment is optimal. Second, the physicist, who understands the imaging and compliance needs better than anyone else. And finally, the technologist, who is at the beginning of the cycle and works most directly with providers, and by extension, patients. These three roles cannot function independently – they must seamlessly interact in order to ensure success for all roles
One of the distinguishing aspects of Numed is that we have all three roles covered in-house. The multidiscipline depth of expertise is covered under one umbrella – and has been that way for the more than 40 years we’ve been in business. Let’s dig into each role and discuss how they interact for the success for our clients:
Engineers at Numed must go through certification and achieve technical competency on each specific piece of equipment – something not all companies like Numed will do. Training certification is achieved through OEM and other certified training companies, as well as, in some instances, in-house training.
This helps our clients in two specific ways. First, through remote diagnostics, engineers are often able to show up with part in hand, ready to go and solve the problem. This improves our first-time fix rate, which we strive to improve year over year. Secondly, our expert engineers work hard to limit rescans, often one of the most costly issues in imaging.
The next role is that of the physicist. “As an integral part of the nuclear medicine team, the physicist provides assistance with the physical aspects of new applications for nuclear medicine and can perform tests on new equipment, develop and maintain a quality control program for equipment, make dosimetric calculations or create computer programs for clinical use,” writes RadiologyInfo.org about the position.
Particularly when it comes to the complicated field of nuclear medicine, our licensed medical physicists are crucial to ensuring compliance. Often dealing with cumbersome paperwork, our physicists do the work of hand-holding our clients through the radiology nuclear process – through all the regulation – in addition to their expertise in providing high-quality imaging and knowing exactly what to look for.
Finally, the third role in the chain is the technologist – often the face of Numed, as they are on the frontline, working directly with our client, and the client’s clients, or patients. Our technologists form a seamless relationship with the hospital they are working at, becoming a de facto part of the staff.
Technologists are also at the frontline of innovation. “Imaging technology is advancing fast, which puts radiologic technologists at the front and center of innovation,” writes Cleveland University. This means that as technology changes, technologists are tasked with adapting to those changes. Every year, our technologists continue their education, and most of our technologists have been with us for 10+ years. (Read more about the technologist role at Numed.)
The partnership between these three roles is important for several reasons. For one, it helps ensure patient and client satisfaction. It also assists the overall radiology workflow. But over the last year, our employees have had to also become increasingly well-versed in a new field – medical device security. “The health care industry increasingly relies on technology that’s connected to the internet: from patient records and lab results to radiology equipment and hospital elevators,” wrote The Verge earlier this year. “Those technologies are often vulnerable to cyberattacks.”
At Numed, our employees have experience in making sure our security audits meet or exceed what is required of our clients when it comes to cybersecurity. We know our relationship requires trust and partnership, and we take this responsibility seriously. As further evidence of our commitment to cybersecurity, we also recently hired an in-house information security specialist.
By having all roles under one umbrella here at Numed, working together for our clients, we are ready to offer multiple consultant services at the same time. Maybe a client is using Numed for nuclear medicine but needs to upgrade their MR – we can quickly get that up and running.
But most importantly, our experts in each field have an ease of communication which allows them to better serve each other and our clients. It’s the radiology experience that has stood the test of time, helping our clients for 40 years and counting.