Over the years, I have placed and received thousands of ultrasound technical support calls. Regardless of your experience and resources, we all need a little help now and then and having this support instantly available is invaluable whether you are on the repair side trying to get a system fixed or the clinical side, waiting on a system to perform exams.
Prior to writing this article, I spoke with Conquest Imaging Director of Technical Support Mike Davis and asked him about the most common and most difficult problems he encounters that he could share with TechNation readers.
The number one call we receive concerns no image on the screen or a completely blank screen. This is caused by the video card on the Philips iU22 and iE33, BEP or video card on the GE family of systems and the RM board on Siemens products. Of course, the main display may also be the culprit so testing of video outputs is indicated.
Next is a “rolling” noise in the image area which is usually caused by external noise sources and can be trapped by moving the system, trying a different power circuit or isolating the unit by unplugging all external devices. You also want to test ground continuity of the system to ensure proper grounding.
Another common issue is slow operation of the system or inability to save patient data. This is usually caused by a full or nearly full hard drive. The hard drives on ultrasound systems are only to be used as a temporary storage location until a permanent one is used such as a PACS. Regular erasing of data will prevent this problem.
The most difficult issue we encounter is related to DICOM. Virtually every make and model of ultrasound system has a unique process for programming DICOM destinations and DICOM Host and many service engineers are unaware of all the different nuances. When a system fails to send an exam, you first want to ensure you are connected to a live network and can “see” the destination by pinging it with a device such as a laptop. You can also try to restore the system’s backup in the event of software corruption (you make regular backups, right?). Because of this challenge, we actually created a class called “Multi-Vendor DICOM” where we teach engineers how to program all the various makes and models.
These are but a few of the common calls we receive. If you are ever in need of ultrasound technical support, please call Mike at 866-900-9404 or 209-942-2654. If he is unavailable, one of our service experts will be happy to assist you.
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