Published MPMN June 2004
Originally Published MPMN June 2004
Graphical User Interface Makes MR Equipment More Efficient
|The graphical user interface on Medrad's MR equipment provides large numeric displays that can be read from several feet away.|
In response to demands from the medical community, last year Medrad Inc. (Indianola, PA;
www.medrad.com) introduced small, fast, user-friendly magnetic resonance (MR) equipment. The Spectris Solaris MR injection system has a compact design, multiphase injection control, precision timing of contrast delivery, and a large saline capacity.
Other innovations include an independent Keep Vein Open feature and programming capability that stores up to 32 detailed injection protocols. According to the company, the Spectris Solaris is also the first MR injection system to employ fiber-optic cables between the injector in the scan room and the control room unit. This cabling provides direct, reliable communication between the two devices.
Steve Rygg, a project engineer for Medrad, says the new features are designed to help technicians increase the number of procedures they can complete without sacrificing safety and accuracy.
"One of the major drivers in the design of this product was throughput," says Rygg. "The number of patients going through MR suites is getting higher all the time, and the protocols are becoming increasingly sophisticated."
Since one of the main goals of the system was to make MR injection procedures faster without jeopardizing safety, the company's engineers made ease of use a top priority. As a result, they saw the development of the machine's graphical user interface (GUI) as critical.
"Anyone that's worked in a hospital environment knows that the variety of equipment and the training required to use it can be overwhelming," says Rygg. "For that reason, our top priority with the GUI was to make it as simple and intuitive to use as possible."
For help in designing the new system's GUI, the company turned to Bally Design (Pittsburgh; www.ballydesign.com). Medrad engineers and representatives from Bally Design visited hospitals throughout Japan and the United States to see precisely how their products were used. Bally Design also gathered information independently and conducted stakeholder research on its own.
Armed with the combined feedback, the Bally Design team, under the guidance of designer Stan Mamula, created a series of prototypical GUIs, complete with electronic storyboards.
"Despite their popularity and widespread use in many hospitals, the interfaces on Medrad's first MR injection systems were not particularly user-friendly," says Mamula. "The on-screen information was not immediately comprehensible, and it took a fair amount of experience to operate a system efficiently."
The new GUI was streamlined to provide large numeric displays that can be read from several feet away. The displays offer at-a-glance identification of flow rates, fluid volume, scan delay, injection delay, and elapsed time. Two syringes depicted on-screen graphically show the saline and contrast agent fluid levels.
A keypad enables users to store and recall specific injection protocols with integrated test injections. When fluid volumes have to be adjusted fractionally, the enlarged keypad allows values to be entered easily and accurately. The keypad also provides access to six user-programmable phases that let technicians design and control numerous injection protocols, from the most basic procedures to the most sophisticated.
Rygg says reports from the field about the Spectris Solaris and the new GUI have been overwhelmingly positive. "Our customers are telling us that the system is quick and easy to use, comments that match us precisely with the objectives we were aiming to achieve when we began this project several years ago."
Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News