Konica Minolta ready to reveal its latest DR solution in Nashville

After more than two years of ground-up development on a brand new system, Konica Minolta is officially lifting back the curtain to reveal its latest Digital Radiography (DR) system at the AHRA 2016 Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

The revelation is the company’s new U-Arm DR X-ray device, for which the company has yet to disclose its name. Bruce Ashby, Konica Minolta Vice President, DR, spoke with Health Imaging about the new device as the company was making final preparations to head to Nashville. Ashby is clearly excited about sharing the solution, which he says will improve the overall imaging experience for both patients and technologists.

“It is the next advancement in X-ray positioning devices,” Ashby says. “In my 30 years of imaging experience, I have not been this excited about a new imaging system and the value it can bring to all—the technologist, the patient and the healthcare facility.”

Konica Minolta developed this new positioning device with the latest trends in throughput and hospital layout in mind. Many hospitals are working toward moving their imaging services closer to the front of the facility, and this device helps technologists accomplish a majority of their day-to-day work from one central location. 

“Eighty to 90 percent of the X-ray imaging done in a hospital will be able to be performed with this device,” Ashby says.

One feature Ashby was proud to discuss was the device’s low-profile stand, which assists technologists when performing a weight bearing foot series. Such studies typically require the stand to be elevated as high as 35 inches from the ground, which can cause mobility challenges and discomfort for the patient, but the new positioning device can work 10 inches off the ground.

Ashby also spoke about how this new device takes technologists out from behind the lead glass and allows them to look at their results from a display on the tube stand. When scanning a patient’s hand, for instance, that technologist no longer has to position the hand, go behind the lead, look at the image, and then come back to the patient to position their hand again if the image is rejected. Instead, they can see everything from the tube stand, and if part of the exam needs to be repeated, it can be corrected immediately.

Ashby estimates this saves anywhere from between seven and 15 seconds per view, per patient.

“It’s a tremendous benefit for the patient, because the experience is better and, clinically, the technologist is moving along and looking at results as quickly as they can,” Ashby says. “Patient satisfaction is significant for hospitals.”

A hospital’s smallest. but sometimes most discerning patients—the pediatric patients—will also benefit from the new Konica Minolta U-Arm. Children can be frightened by X-ray equipment, so the new system was designed to make the experience as simple and comforting as possible. The detector goes so low to the ground that the technician can be at eye level with the pediatric patient and manage the imaging right there, decreasing anxiety and fear.

Ashby said the list of benefits associated with this new positioning device goes on and on. It also saves important time during stitching, for instance, and provides users with two separate ways to make quick changes to the source to image-receptor distance—one at the X-ray tube and one at the detector.

As Konica Minolta prepares to share this solution with attendees in Nashville, the company is still busy thinking about the future. Ashby predicts that by RSNA 2016 in Chicago, the technology will be even more evolved and advanced than today. 

“We’re going to make devices that are one with the user,” Ashby says. “I think the user experience in the next five years is only going to increase in a positive way.”

Konica Minolta has been waiting a long time to reveal this new device, and Ashby is looking forward to the looks on attendees’ faces when they see it in person in Nashville.

“This is going to be our ‘holy smokes’ moment for a lot of people,” Ashby says. “And we will be displaying all of these features, and more, at AHRA.”