Combat & Casualty Care

Summer 2017

Military Magazines in the United States and Canada, Covering Combat and Casualty Care, first responders, rescue and medical products programs and news\Tactical Defense Media

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Page 21 of 35

Combat & Casualty Care had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Diego Gomez-Morales, a Certified Life Cycle Logistician Level III and biomedical equipment specialist with over 25 years of diversi- fied DoD experience supervising and managing various military multi-leveled diversified medical research, development, testing and evaluation healthcare technology maintenance programs. Presently with the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA), USAMMA Project Management Office-Medical Devices (PjM MED Devices) branch, Mr. Gomez-Morales spoke to the latest develop- ments in Portable Digital Radiography System (PDRS) technology implementation. PRECISION MEASURABILITY IN MOBILE PACKAGING Mr. Diego Gomez-Morales Biomedical Equipment Specialist Digital Radiography System (PDRS) manufactured by Virtual Imaging/ Canon. In short, the chemical film processing and X-ray generator capability were replaced with the CR reader and X-ray generator capability, which were then replaced with a detector plate integrated with X-ray generator technology. C&CC: As PDRS has been noted to be smaller, lighter, less expensive and more cyber secure than previously fielded systems, will you please speak to the specifics on these aspects in comparison with previous fielded capabilities, and how they are expected to benefit users directly/ indirectly? Gomez-Morales: Eliminating the CR Scanner component was the biggest factor in reducing the overall weight and cubic footage in comparison to the previous system by 15% (less weight) and reducing the number of transport cases from 4 to 1. Not to mention, the additional work flow steps required initially for the installation and normal operation of the previous system were reduced. Another reduction that is not normally captured is the administrative time requirements for the Line Item Numbers (LIN) management. The current system reduces the LIN administration by 50% (from 2 to 1 LIN). The total cost of the PDRS is about 63% less than the previous CR Reader and X-Ray Generator systems. Moving away from the Computed Radiography (CR) technology eliminated the need of the CR Reader/ Scanner. Another aspect that has always been a sore topic for discussion is the maintainability and reliability of the CR Scanners in the field. Unfortunately, these older systems were affected by the environmental factors surrounding military operations. Additionally, the design, application software management-registration and product support of the systems was challenged by the normal operation and maintenance of the systems by military personnel. After many modifications made by the manufacturer, the CR Scanners never gained back the confidence from the military operators and maintainers. C&CC: Will you speak to the evolution of the Army's need / requirement for a Portable Digital Radiography System (PDRS)? Gomez-Morales: In the beginning, field radiography was accomplished by the use of film processing that required the use of chemicals to develop the latent image obtained from a X-ray system. There were a lot of challenges trying to keep the chemicals and film within the correct temperature and lighting requirements. Also, there were environmental concerns regarding the handling and disposal of the chemical agents used in the development of the films. The early X-ray generators were bulky and far from being truly por- table. By the late 90's, the introduction of the Computed Radiography (CR) Reader eliminated the need for chemical processing of film. The first portable X-ray system fielded to the Army medical units spent much of its time in the medical maintenance. I want to make it clear that film processing and X-ray generation were always considered two separate capabilities. Previously, you would have needed an X-ray Generator and some type of image processor to view the images. The PDRS combines these two capabilities into one system solution. Additionally, the first portable X-ray systems did not use state of the art miniaturized electronic components. These systems were mainte- nance heavy and very unreliable. The introduction of high frequency X-ray generator technology allowed for the X-ray production to become more reliable and maintainable and considerably reduce its size. By the late 90's portable radiography was becoming lighter and radiation exposure to the patient was drastically reduced with the use of new (solid state) ionization energy detector technology. However, the processing of the images still required a scanner to read the image and send it to the application software for interpretation. Migrating from CR to Digital Radiography (DR) technology resulted in the elimination of the image scanner/processor (CR Reader) which added electromechanical variables that have proven to be a challenge to sustain and maintain in an austere environment. The Army capabil- ity developers identified the technology gap and provided a capability requirement for the USAMMA to develop a medical materiel solution that would transition our current CR systems to the commercially available portable DR technology. The result was the current Portable 20 | Combat & Casualty Care | Summer 2017 R&D SPOTLIGHT

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