Practical advice from a radiology tech at SIIM University

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If your facility is moving to a digital environment, be sure to include a radiology technician (RT) in the planning process, said Shirley Weddle, RT (R) (M), Total Digital Imaging Consulting. Her advice was part of the SIIM University presentation, “The Transition from Analog to Digital Radiography: A Technologist’s Perspective” on Thursday at SIIM 2007 in Providence, R.I.

Formerly an radiology tech for more than 20 years and now a consultant, Weddle likened planning a digital workplace without input from an RT to buying a car without any spousal input, bringing it home and telling your spouse here is the new car you will be driving for many years – like it or not.

Weddle offered practical advice based on her many years of experience, always reiterating the importance of including an RT in the process. The four areas she covered were: product selection, pre-implementation, implementation, and post-implementation.

From the beginning, Weddle noted the importance of determining the scope of the project. The team involved should understand the current workflow and determine what will work with for the employees using the space at hand. She said don’t forget the details such as where RTs will put their personal when the darkroom is eliminated.

During the product selection stage, Weddle outlined the work of team members: writing RFPs, visiting sites, contacting vendors, attending seminars, and gathering all the information necessary to make the right choice for the facility.

The pre-implementation stage was an important educational phase. “Designated one person to oversee the project,” Weddle said. Other tips included obtaining general CR/DR educational material from vendor, educating staff members, list of procedures, and considering credits for ASRT.

During the implementation, “encourage techs to provide input,” she said, adding that documentation was part of training too. Providing sample exposure index cheat sheets is helpful. As for individual passwords, that’s a must as far as she is concerned. That is helpful in tracking the work of individuals.

The work doesn’t stop after implementation. Quality control is ongoing. She stressed the importance of cleaning the equipment and regular check-ups.