Success Story: Konica Minolta

By Matt Skoufalos


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Choosing a technology vendor with whom to partner in the imaging space can be a decision complicated by multiple factors, including finance, functionality and follow-through. When DMOS Orthopaedic Centers (DMOS) needed to make a change to expand its lines of service, they were able to strike a deal that met all three objectives.

DMOS is a 30-physician practice in Iowa with locations in West Des Moines, Des Moines, Ankeny and Carroll. The group co-owns an ambulatory surgery center and also maintains a partnership with the UnityPoint Health system, treating patients with orthopedic injuries, arthritis, spinal injuries, hand and foot issues, and traumatic injuries, as well as performing joint repairs and replacements and seeing pediatric patients.

DMOS Radiology and Clinic Director Jodie Aschim is responsible for managing the practice’s general clinical staff and radiology department. She is also the general clinical director for its West Des Moines location. She handles clinic scheduling at all the clinics as well as equipment purchasing, and evaluation of new technologies.

“Part of my main responsibility is staying up to date on any newer technology that’s coming out and how that will affect our practice,” Aschim said; “if something’s changing on the market or there’s something new I think they should be aware of. I love seeing what’s new out there.”

In a competition-rich area, DMOS has stayed in business for more than 65 years through a combination of increasing patient volumes and attention to quality. The practice sees thousands of patients per month, and that number is expanding.

Key to maintaining that competitive edge is its ability to keep current with the latest practices, standards and regulatory compliance. When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its latest reimbursement rate reduction for analog X-ray services – and similar, planned cuts for computed radiography (CR) systems in 2018 – DMOS had to make some changes.

“I specifically wanted [digital radiography equipment] just because of the lower doses for patients, and to improve clinical flow and clinical efficiencies,”

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In addition to maintaining an inventory of MR and ultrasound imaging equipment, DMOS boasts a mix of CR and DR digital radiography (DR) technologies. One of the chief arguments for switching to an all-DR suite was the consideration of future CMS reimbursement rates, but Aschim was just as interested in making the switch to enable better digital management of her patient safety needs and improving workflow.

After evaluating the options on the market, DMOS went with Konica Minolta for its equipment purchases, eventually settling on Konica Minolta AeroDR flat-panel detectors and two Konica Minolta Ultra U-Arms. Aschim said the practice had already relied on a few of the Konica Minolta Sonimage HS-1 portable ultrasounds, and stuck with Konica based on their customer service, the quality of the technology and the control it offered them.

“There was a better handle on that all around,” she said. “I felt the panel produced better image quality, and they promised we’d be able to move forward in the future for more products with Konica as well.”

The ability to build out the rest of her technology inventory with Konica also appealed to Aschim; she described feeling as though the company offered “more of a partnership, rather than just selling us the product and moving on.”

“I feel like I have a team behind me any time I need anything,” she said.

The workflow and maintenance options available to DMOS through the Konica Minolta equipment also appealed to Aschim. As a side effect of going digital, the software suite offers her the ability to create reports by mapping technician activities such as preventive maintenance and even equipment failures.

“If one of the DR panels is dropped, it immediately notifies me by email that a drop has happened,” Aschim said. “We can check the panels in the system and if it seems we need another panel, they will start the process to overnight another panel for us.”

“Eventually, I can send out a report to see patterns with techs,” she said. “I’ll be able to track that as more of a coaching opportunity. The data can help me with efficiencies.”

In just a few weeks of going fully digital, Aschim said the physicians in her practice were starting to see a return on their investment; she said she believes things “are just going to continue in that direction” in the future. That’s one of the reasons she said DMOS went with Konica Minolta for a seven-year service agreement as well. Another deciding factor was its ability to offer remote access into her system, which Aschim said would save her the hassle of waiting for a technician to arrive onsite. The remote login added a “no-worry” component that added to the general ease of use of the equipment as well as helping her provide consistency of service, she said.

“The companies that we work with can go to any of our locations,” Aschim said. “It’s great to be able to have that kind of one-stop shop for any of the locations we have, and I enjoy being able to manage it.”

“From a general standpoint with Konica, I’ve been very impressed with the product and customer service,” she said. “Physicians are impressed with the image quality; it’s just a win-win for everybody.”