Using a Laptop as an Ultrasound Support and Diagnostic Tool
I am currently flying over Texas on my way to the MD Expo in Washington, DC to not only exhibit but to present a class with the above title and thought that there are many folks that are unable to attend so I wanted to share this information with the readers of TechNation.
A laptop can serve many purposes when servicing an ultrasound system; you can use it as a database for technical manuals and materials, a network tool, a way to access excellent web-based resources and as a reader to view system boot logs.
The first thing is to ensure you are prepared as much as possible with the resources needed for service. This would include the service manuals for the systems you are caring for. Over the years, I have accumulated over 50 gigabytes of data on ultrasound systems that has been invaluable for me and for the poor souls that may call me in the middle of the day or night. There are many resources to acquire these materials including from the manufacturer, through awesome websites like MD Publishing’s Medwrench (www.medwrench.com) and through OEM websites like the GE Common Documents Library ( http://apps.gehealthcare.com/servlet/ClientServlet?REQ=RNEW&MODALITY=US ). The training classes we offer at Conquest Imaging are another excellent resource as you not only get the best training available but also a hard and soft copy of our proprietary training manuals. These classes also entitle you to a lifetime of free, live 24x7x365 technical support.
Networking issues can be challenging when working with ultrasound and having a laptop configured with a DICOM program is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal. Say you have a system that is not sending to PACS and, of course, the PACS folks say that it is the ultrasound system that is at fault. You can connect your laptop to the system with a crossover cable and send images to it to verify functionality. You can also use DOS commands to troubleshoot a network such as PING, NETSTAT, TRACERT and others. Our troubleshooting may end at the RJ45 port on the back of the system but it is a nice added-value to the customer when we can troubleshoot a network all the way to the malfunction.
There are also ways to connect your laptop to various ultrasound systems using external ports to view boot logs, power up sequences and power up tests. The cables and configurations vary and I do not have the luxury of space to provide details but you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can assist you with details.
Laptops are more than a device for completing paperwork; they can be an invaluable resource when troubleshooting.