Equipment vendors go for gold at Olympic games

February 20, 2002

Donated systems offer chance to contributeImaging equipment has been a staple at the last few Olympic games, but imaging has achieved new heights in Salt Lake City. In the 1996 games in Atlanta, MRI and ultrasound were available

Donated systems offer chance to contribute

Imaging equipment has been a staple at the last few Olympic games, but imaging has achieved new heights in Salt Lake City. In the 1996 games in Atlanta, MRI and ultrasound were available onsite for the first time. CT debuted in Sydney four years later. This year, the world's best athletes found improved information flow systems, digital radiography, MRI, and the newest generation of ultrasound equipment.

The equipment could be used to perform up to 30 exams each day from the start of the games Feb. 8 to their end Feb. 26, according to Dr. Julia R. Crim, director of musculoskeletal radiology at the nearby University of Utah. Crim has been working on the project since last March. Her Olympic participation, like that of other radiologists and technologists, is voluntary. But even "team radiology" has limits to its roster.

"Obviously, we can't have every specialty radiologist at the clinic," Crim said. "If someone has a neurologic problem, we do a brain MRI and then make sure it's read with the highest level of expertise, which would be at the hospital."

Equipment donated to the Olympic Polyclinic includes Kodak's DirectView DR 9000 digital radiography system, two diagnostic workstations, PACS, and a medical printer. GE supplied a 1.5T Signa EchoSpeed MR scanner, and Philips donated an HDI 5000 ultrasound machine. Because of construction limitations, administrators chose not to install a CT. If athletes need a CT exam, they will be transported to a hospital less than a mile from the clinic.

All modalities are linked to a PACS, which is networked to the University of Utah hospital radiology information system. The Polyclinic also has a speech recognition system, which makes it possible to give each athlete a copy of the radiology report immediately after an exam.

At the Sydney Olympics, the organizing committee chose not to implement a RIS or speech recognition, instead using typists to compile the radiologists' reports. When Crim consulted with Dr. Jock Anderson, her counterpart at Sydney, he advised her to push for a RIS and voice recognition system. Delays in report turnaround time in Sydney created the need to track down athletes the next day to deliver reports.