Case Study | December 03, 2006

Specialized Imaging Center Selects Customized Sony Printing Solution

Emily Corbman, CNMT, RTR, center director for VyMed, and the center's GE PET/CT

Emily Corbman, CNMT, RTR, center director for VyMed, and the center's GE PET/CT

Emily Corbman, CNMT, RTR, center director for VyMed, and the center's GE PET/CT

VyMed Diagnostic Imaging Center radiologists work hard to cater to referring physicians’ needs. That’s why this six-month-old, growing PET/CT center was pleased to find a printing solution that worked just as hard.
At VyMed, the Sony UP-D77MD color dye sublimation printer, together with the FilmStation dry film imager, creates a specialized and cost-effective printing system.
“In our effort to become the first dedicated PET/CT center in the Salisbury [Md] area, we wanted to build a strong referral base as soon as possible and also maintain state-of-the-art communications with our clinicians,” said Darren Miller, B.S., ARRT, chief operating officer for the center. “While our radiologists exclusively read soft copy on interactive work stations, today many of our referrers still request hardcopy images. Plus, as a start-up, we had to make the most of our equipment budget.”
Finding a Fit
Miller said he had difficulty justifying the purchase of a large, high-output, high-maintenance printer with an equally high price since exam volume for new, specialized PET/CT imaging is significantly lower than for most other radiology procedures. VyMed’s initial research found its potential referring physicians had predictable format preferences. Based on these, the dozens of options built into today’s costly multiformat imagers would be an unnecessary drain on the department’s budget and time.
By contrast, Sony offered a full line of specialized devices and allowed VyMed to select only the printing components it needed to custom craft a comprehensive hardcopy solution.

Image Quality Key to Growth
For its image output, VyMed’s goals were simple.
“While quality was paramount to help us break into a new market, we needed only color paper and monochrome film output,” said Miller, an industry veteran who has been associated with seven PET/CT centers during his career. “Naturally, we also were looking for reliable, easy-to-manage workflow.”
While the center’s goals seemed simple, putting it into place was not. In fact, according to VyMed, the printer VyMed’s PET/CT manufacturer quoted was inconsistent with its needs and out of its price range. VyMed sought a better answer, and the results have been excellent.
“My images are beautiful,” said Emily Corbman, CNMT, RTR, imaging director for VyMed’s Salisbury Center. “Referring physicians are pleased, and the printers are extremely reliable and user-friendly.”
Two Devices –
One Affordable Solution
At the imaging center, the Sony 8-by-10-inch color DICOM printer produces high-quality, smudge-free images for referring physicians and patient records. It delivers color management, and supports accurate color reproduction and screen-to-print matching.
Complementing this, the Sony FilmStation dry film imager provides monochrome printing for the single modality CT images that often accompany hybrid exams. Taking advantage of an innovative thermal print head and blue thermal film specifically engineered for the device, it delivers high-resolution images in 4,096 shades of gray.
As VyMed’s volume grows, it can expand the number of printing units. If the center adds new modalities, it can introduce additional printer models into the Sony solution to evolve with changing needs.
According to Miller, the Sony dual-printer configuration purchase price was about 40 percent less than a single high-volume color dry imager. He also noted that some printers require costly miniPACS network interfaces, while both Sony printers are attached directly to the center’s IT network, yielding additional savings.
Sony’s customized solution, Miller added, also delivers small footprint, redundancy and distributed workflow. If one unit experiences problems, another can stand in. The individual units can be sited right at the technologists’ fingertips.
“The compact size is ergonomically correct for today’s medical workplace, which is increasingly crowded with complex devices,” Miller said.
Rolling Out a Sony Solution
Recognizing the potential of new fusion modalities, VyMed says it is creating a blueprint for PET/CT centers to be rolled out around the country. In addition to owning two imaging centers, the company reports it also offers professional consulting services to radiology groups on implementing their own sites, and partners with some of these groups to co-fund projects and contracts to manage others.
“Sony printers have been so successful that we plan to build this Sony option into our PET/CT equipment specifications for other centers,” Miller said.
An Effective Marketing Tool
He also said that at VyMed, Sony printers operate reliably and effortlessly, while his experience with multiformat devices has been more difficult, requiring — not surprisingly — a multistep process to switch among various format options.
According to Corbman, the two Sony printers far surpass the image quality of printers she has used in the past, and at the same time, deliver faster throughput and easier maintenance.
“VyMed referring physicians are extremely pleased with the image quality,” she said. “One potential referring practice commented, ‘Oh you’re the center with those great color images.’ This is good news as our image quality suggests the quality of our work.”

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