2018

INCREASING MARKETING VALUE WITH A SHARPER FOCUS OF MEDICAL IMAGING

ARTICLE BY JAVIER LOPEZ, GENERAL MANAGER, VERTICAL SOLUTIONS, OKI EUROPE LTD


For medical organisations and businesses that centre around radiology-based offerings, ensuring the right information is being provided in a clear, effective and personalised manner is essential to gaining trust and increasing satisfaction. From general surgeries to cosmetic surgeries, veterinary surgeries, dental surgeries and orthopaedists, clear and accurate medical imaging is vital to both correctly understanding patient issues and communicating the issues and the available treatments to the patients.

With accurate information presented in a clear fashion, medical businesses and organisations can ensure that patients are getting the right treatment, checking visually its progress on print-outs and are satisfied with the services that they are receiving. This has created an opportunity for medical imaging manufacturers to assist medical organisations and businesses in boosting trust and confidence. This can be achieved by providing them with the latest technology that can deliver clear imaging available in a wide variety of print formats.

Tangible Assets

State of the art DICOM-embedded printing equipment and DICOM RIP printing technology can provide doctors, veterinarians, surgeons and consultants with a tangible and easy-to-understand way to examine x-ray, nuclear medicine, MRI, CT and ultrasound scans and explain the results to their patients. In orthopaedics for example, the provision of banner images printed to life size scale from a DICOM device will allow faster diagnoses through greater image clarity.

Studies have shown that it takes only 150 milliseconds for people to process images that are shown to them, and then another 100 milliseconds for them to attach meaning to it. The entire process takes less time than the blink of an eye whereas words can take up to twice as long to process and recognise.

A more recent MIT study suggests that we can understand the meaning of an image in only 13 milliseconds – ten times faster than the blink of an eye. Further studies have found that adding colour to important documents has been shown to increase recall of that technical information by up to 82 percent.

For medical organisations, DICOM printing will reduce the amount of time it takes for medical staff to explain medical conditions to their patients from printed scans and results, and minimises the opportunity for the wrong misinterpretation to be given thanks to the clarity of the printed images.

DICOM printing will increase patient satisfaction through the businesses ability to track course of treatments (for example, dental aesthetics progress to improve smiles, rehabilitation progress) to patients more clearly and easily through the use of sharp, large format images that are easy for patients and their loved ones to understand.

In policing and law, DICOM print outs can provide high quality forensic evidence, not only allowing law enforcement to accurately understand how crimes have taken place but also helping courts to apply the most suitable sentences to the correct suspects. From a marketing perspective, DICOM printed forensic evidence also allows police forces to share clear and accurate details through relevant media channels, informing the public about closed cases and helping to gather valuable information from the public about open cases.

A Personalised Offering

Presenting patients with personalised booklets will increase satisfaction and boost confidence by providing them with a referenceable source of information including detailed, high quality images that they can take home. Printed booklets should include relevant medical record information alongside the images to maximise their marketing value by explaining the findings of the scan or X-Ray, or detailing proposed surgery in booklets that present visual renderings of potential cosmetic procedures.  

Presenting a patient requiring surgery with an A3 colour booklet could help them make an informed decision during the consultancy stage, and help the business to drive patient satisfaction.
Including a detailed proposal of treatment in the booklet as well as the course of surgery, will increase the patient’s confidence in the weeks or months prior to the surgery as they will be able to quickly reference and familiarise themselves with the medical procedures. This confidence can be further supported by the inclusion of ‘after treatment’ renderings as well as details of any potential follow-up treatments.

For university hospitals, providing patients and students alike with their own personal copies of medical imaging is equally important. Attracting students to enrol relies heavily upon the quality of learning resources provided by the institution. Not only does a personalised copy for each student improve the learning experience, but holding on to a copy for reference will contribute to a high pass rate by providing students with high quality study material.

State of the Art Simplicity

The ease of integration between medical imaging equipment and DICOM-embedded printers, and the continuous evolution this communication standard has experienced over the years, has achieved a nearly universal level of acceptance among vendors of radiological equipment. However, the benefits of DICOM are only recognised by medical imaging manufacturers and medical staff. While this means that patients receive correct diagnoses and treatments, the benefits of actually being able to keep or reference DICOM printed images have not been experienced by patients, or clients of private medical businesses.

This has traditionally been due to the fact that DICOM image files are not easy to share with patients. While other image file formats such as JPEG, PNG or TIFF files are recognised and easily read by personal computers, DICOM files are not recognised by the standard home PC or laptop running Windows or iOS operating systems. While medical organisations could explore the option of sharing the images via email, the patient would require additional software in the form of a DICOM viewer to access the file, and even then, the patient would need additional information in the email content or in a separate text file to explain the findings in the image.

There are clear opportunities for surgery-based medial businesses to simplify the consultation process for both patients and staff, making it easier for both parties to understand treatments and injuries. In turn, this creates a clear opportunity for medical imaging manufacturers to provide the equipment that can cost-effectively print tangible assets such as high quality personalised booklets in a flexible range of formats and sizes including sharp, colourful images that will inform and placate medical patients in an age of increasingly high expectations.

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