2018

WHY DICOM PRINTING ADDS MEDICAL ACCURACY VALUE TO SURGERY-FOCUSED BUSINESSES

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


For surgery-focused medical businesses, customer satisfaction is paramount from the get-go. Providing a service as sensitive in nature as surgery requires a high level of comfort and assurance for customers and patients. Those facing life-altering surgery must be confident in the clinic that they have chosen, meaning that practices must have strong marketing value if they are to instil the right levels of confidence in potential customers and patients.

Unbeatable accuracy and precision at pre-operation

But for specific surgeries such as orthopaedic and dental, patients must be instilled with confidence in both the diagnosis and proposed accurate surgery (such as checking the right size and shape of the medical prosthesis to be implanted). 
 
Orthopaedic surgeons typically view medical imaging on monitors, however, viewing printed on DICOM A3 life-size banners makes it more accurate to analyse patients in the following ways:
 
• To check size of medical device, artificial joint etc. 
• To check for changed shape or angle of joint portion.
• To check round level of lower extremity (LE) (Bowleg etc.)
In surgeries taking place on the whole lower extremity (LE) or whole spine, it’s often the case that the image cannot be printed on one film as a real life-size representation. Thus, the image must be printed to multiple films that must be collated manually with tape or other means and traced onto banner tracing paper.
 
OKI's DICOM Media Image A3 banner, life-size print, brings unrivalled benefits to the market, offering the highest level of accuracy in delicate surgeries by decreasing of working time for surgeons as well as keeping media costs down since paper is more affordable than film. Most importantly, viewing life-size print images helps surgeons to avoid making errors when selecting the right medical implants for patients when templating directly over the life-size print outs.

Increased Confidence

To ensure this level of satisfaction is achieved, surgery practices must rely on medical imaging manufacturers to produce informative images that are easy to understand. These images are not only essential in enabling medical professionals to analyse patient’s current physical states and decide upon the best course of action, they also help patients to visualise the outcome of the surgery and understand complex surgical procedures that can otherwise be challenging to explain.
Medical imaging manufacturers should recognise the opportunity to support cosmetic or dental surgery practices in winning the trust of potential patients and customers through the advanced presentation of proposals for treatments. Presenting patients with personalised proposal booklets containing sharp, high quality colour images will undoubtedly increase the ease of describing issues and treatments. For patients, this creates a friendlier more personalised and satisfying experience that will provide a valued level of comfort.  
 
Currently, the benefits of DICOM are only recognised by medical imaging manufacturers and medical staff, especially radiologists. 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.
Traditionally, this has 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 surgery businesses could explore the option of sharing the images via email, the patient or medical insurance third-parties 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.

A Personal Approach

Medical imaging manufacturers can provide a simple yet effective solution in the form of personalised booklets, providing a referenceable take-home source of information for patients, including detailed, high quality images. To maximise their marketing value, the booklets should include relevant information alongside the images, explaining the findings of a scan, or detailing proposed surgery in booklets that present visual renderings of potential cosmetic procedures.
   
Through variable data printing, the booklets can be further personalised with the patient’s name, surname and date of birth clearly displayed on the front cover. This level of personalisation will bolster patient confidentiality by helping medical staff to pass the right documents to the correct patients. 
For patients requiring successive treatments, the personalised booklet will help to keep them up to date with the course of treatment, and new booklets printed periodically during the course of treatment will increase patient satisfaction by highlighting the patient’s progress on the road to recovery.
 
For surgery and veterinary practices, there is a clear opportunity to increase satisfaction in a highly personalised experience. In turn, this creates a clear opportunity for medical imaging manufacturers that can provide high quality print images in a flexible range of formats and sizes that include sharp, colourful images that will inform and placate medical patients and/or their beloved pets in an age of high expectations. 
 
Find out about OKI’s unique DICOM embedded printers and medical health solutions.

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