Central Illinois Radiological Associates use NEC Display Solution’s medical diagnostic displays throughout their facilities to help adhere to their goal of improving the standard of care.
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Central Illinois Radiological Associates Achieves Diagnosis Excellence with NEC Display

Quick Facts
  • Facility: Central Illinois Radiological Associates
  • Vertical: Healthcare
  • Location: Springfield, Ill., and 14 Other Locations
  • Challenges: Maintain adherence to DICOM standard across multiple, varying environments
  • Solution: NEC Display MD21GS-3MP and MD211C3 diagnostic displays
  • Result: Improved productivity which helped promote revenue gains thanks to the displays flexbility

Established in 1938, Central Illinois Radiological Associates (CIRA) has become one of the largest and most highly regarded providers of diagnostic and interventional radiology services in the Midwest. The provider has continuously grown and evolved to offer a comprehensive array of imaging services. Quality is of the utmost importance to CIRA in regard to the care it administers, and one of two primary reasons it selected NEC Display Solutions MD21GS-3MP monitors in 2008, when the organization did away with using diagnostic displays from multiple manufacturers. The NEC monitors have maintained accurate adherence to the critical DICOM curve and have remained faithful to their warranties. As a result, CIRA is currently utilizing 42 NEC diagnostic displays in a wide range of locations.

CIRA delivers a premium level of diagnostic interpretation, which dovetails neatly with the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide superior care. In fact, CIRA’s decisions to invest have all been contingent upon improving the standard of care and making sure it shares the right data with the right physicians within the appropriate time frames. The organization continues to keep an eye on, and to implement, the growing number of advanced visualization tools available in radiology, including color displays, in order to make the most accurate and thorough diagnoses.

The Challenge

CIRA physicians work in a sweeping range of environments, from Level 1 trauma healthcare systems to mom and pop clinics in rural communities. Plus, some physicians review diagnostic reports from home. In the latter scenario, a patient presents at the hospital or clinic, images are acquired there, and then translated to a centralized system that the physicians can access remotely. Under this system, CIRA may need 10 monitors in one hospital location and two monitors in a physician’s home.

Radiology demands superior pixel accuracy from diagnostic displays, and CIRA needed to ensure this standard translated to all of its environments. In a high stakes environment like radiology, physicians need displays they can trust to provide accurate imaging that facilitates informed decisions. As doctors determine the procedures to address a patient’s symptoms, they put their trust in their monitors to help them render the right course of treatment.

The Solution

“When I came to CIRA in October 2008, the first project I led was measuring the DICOM compliance of all of our corporate-owned diagnostic displays,” said Patrick Ward, Chief Information Officer at CIRA.

At the time, CIRA used secondhand displays it received from hospitals, resulting in a mixed bag of technology. Ward led a series of tests that measured each manufacturer’s monitor against several factors, including age and how well it had adhered over time to the DICOM curve. Throughout the testing period, Ward and his team consistently found that NEC monitors were the truest of all the monitors in the study.

In addition, NEC built sensors into its diagnostic displays that measure the light output of the monitors and report back on their compliance to the DICOM standard, to make sure the grayscales are represented accurately. This eliminated the need to send an employee to physically collect that data. What was once an arduous two-person effort that took a week to execute is now an easily collected convenient weekly report.

Finally, NEC was the most affordable of all the monitors tested – another top priority for CIRA. Based on quality, features and price point, CIRA made the decision to standardize on NEC products.

“It was an easy decision. The vote in favor of NEC was unanimous,” Ward said.

CIRA began the installation in 2008, initially with grayscale MD21GS-3MP, and later transitioning to upgraded models, the MD211C3 displays equipped with color capabilities. Color has proven important to CIRA because its PACS viewer color codes historical studies. If a physician is trying to report on the history of a condition where comparison data is available, then it is critical to give them a color code tool designating current data from historical data. Historical data overlays are red, which is not distinguishable in grayscale.

From the start, the installation process has been fluid and fast. CIRA uses the recommended video cards and follows standardized setups. The organization has never needed NEC to come out and help them with a monitor.

“It is very intuitive, and an easy product to hit the ground running with,” Ward said.

To date, while Ward has received very little feedback from physicians, he classifies this as a positive sign because the physicians will quickly vocalize their sentiments if they experience issues with the displays.

The NEC displays have also promoted revenue gains because of their flexibility.

“Physicians are able to aggregate studies from multiple disparate healthcare organizations, and that is extremely valuable because physicians are our most expensive asset. The end goal is always to improve productivity across the board. The more productive physicians are, the more advantageous it is for our revenue stream. NEC has allowed us to remain productive while decreasing the number of monitors,” Ward said.


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