KLAS: Digital mammo delivers postive ROI

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With many hospitals and imaging centers still struggling to reconcile technology budgets, digital mammography has proven to be a solid return on investment (ROI) for many healthcare providers. Although a switch from traditional film mammography to digital technology can present a learning curve for clinicians, a new report from healthcare research firm KLAS found that

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many providers experience improvements in workflow that allows digital mammography to pay for itself when implemented and used correctly.

The Orem, Utah-based KLAS interviewed more than 200 healthcare professionals about their use of full-field digital mammography (FFDM) solutions. The FDA has noted that roughly half of the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA)-certified facilities in the United States have now adopted digital mammography equipment; and according to the report, many of those who have made the switch to FFDM systems have increased their capacity for patient throughput, leading to a strong ROI for the new technology.

"Before we were digital, we had a one-year backlog of mammo exams. Now that we have digital mammo coupled with modern scheduling and a PACS, we can schedule patients the same day for diagnostic exams," one surveyed provider responded. "For routine screenings, we can schedule patients within a week. In the past, we were losing business when we had the one-year backlog, but now things are so much more efficient."

However, the proper environment is an important factor in gaining those benefits.

"When used in conjunction with complementary technologies, in a prepared environment and with a staff committed to digital workflows, digital mammography is a definite win," said the report's author Ben Brown, KLAS general manager of imaging informatics. "The transition does usually require both the technician and the physician to restructure their workflow, a process that reportedly can take several months; but most providers find that the efficiency gains outweigh the learning curve."

Of the four vendors rated in the report, Hologic's Selenia earned the top performance score (88.3 out of 100) by a slim margin over GE Healthcare's Senographe Essential (88). KLAS noted that although Hologic ultimately claimed the lead in this year's study, the company switched places with GE several times over the last year, making a clear winner difficult to predict. The other vendor products rated in the report are Fujifilm Medical Systems' Aspire ClearView-CSm and Siemens Healthcare's Mammomat NovationDR.