NCET explores business and technology
When Eric Kraemer, M.D., was a medical student less than two decades ago, surgeons routinely undertook exploratory surgery to learn more about their patients.
Today, Kraemer works as part of the team of radiologists at Reno Diagnostic Centers, and he says that exploratory surgery is largely a quaint relic of medical history. Instead, the increasingly powerful technology of medical imaging provides diagnostic information that allows today’s physicians and patients to make informed decisions without the pain and expense of exploratory surgery.
In fact, Kraemer says the field of diagnostic imaging is seeing such rapid change that it won’t be too many years before technology will be able to handle many of the routine diagnoses that today require the attention of a radiologist.
Like so many sectors that are seeing rapid technological advancement, advancements in the field of medical imaging are driven by the desire to improve patients’ experience and the demands for economic efficiency, says Terri Mahannah, the executive director of Reno Diagnostic Centers.
New technology such as 3D mammography, which provides better detection of breast cancer than 2D systems, helps to bring peace of mind to patients. A state-of- the-art Magnetic Resonance Imaging system known as “3T
Wide Bore MRI” provides swift, detailed scans and gets patients out more quickly. New technology allows tests that once took as much as an hour to be completed in a matter of minutes.
The improved efficiency, Mahannah says, is critical to the financial health of providers such as Reno Diagnostic Centers as health insurers continue to reduce their reimbursement payments.
Technology boosts efficiency in small ways, too. Reno Diagnostic Centers now produces images in precisely the order preferred by each of its physicians — no more one-size- fits-all presentations — and allows radiologists to complete their work more efficiently.
Behind the scenes, the advanced diagnosis technology relies on dramatic improvements in network speeds and data-storage capacity, says Ronald Milbank, Director of Information Technology at Reno Diagnostic Centers.
The center’s network is moving mind-blowing amounts of data. The data produced by a single 3D scan, for instance, fills an entire compact disc that must be maintained for 10 years — and the centers conduct 100s of those specific scans every week, and in excess of 65,000.00 imaging scans per year.
And efficiency, Milbank notes, demands that those files open quickly. Radiologists aren’t willing to drum their fingers for 10 seconds while even the largest of files opens on their computers.
Every resident of Northern Nevada wants the best in medical diagnosis, and all of us want a medical system that delivers healthcare in efficient, financially responsible fashion. Powerful new technology is making it happen for all of us.
Learn more about the power of today’s medical imaging technology at NCET’s Tech Wednesday event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, hosted by Reno Diagnostic Center at The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, 490 S. Center St. More information and registration is at NCETwed.org.
Dave Archer is President/CEO of NCET, which produces networking events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology. This column first appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.