How a ND Clinic Boosted X-ray Volume and Patient Experience with SHARP FM X-ray

by Veronica Sapp on May 10, 2024


Essentia Health’s main campus in Fargo, North Dakota, is centrally located among a series of small towns whose local care options typically include acute care and emergency departments.

Casselton is one such town, located about 20 miles away. The Essentia Health-Casselton Clinic prides itself on its small town roots, with providers getting to know each and every patient on a first name basis.

In addition to being a primary care provider and outpatient facility, the Casselton Clinic provides radiology services on site, including X-ray. And a few years ago, they needed to update their X-ray system from their older model.

Their much older model.

“Was it a ’59 or a ’69?” asked Bret Beach, imaging manager at Essentia Health. “It was an older piece of equipment. We were limited on what we could and couldn’t do. Parts were very scarce and so we wanted some flexibility.”

In the world of diagnostic imaging, it’s not uncommon for X-ray to be the last modality many department leaders consider when outfitting their hospital, health system or clinic. Which is why 60-year-old scanners are more common than most patients probably realize.

While exciting advances continue to occur in MR, CT, mammography and more, X-ray has remained relatively steady. There have been advancements around the edges, especially in the transition to digital, but for the most part, X-ray remains the workhorse of the imaging department. It’s not flashy, but it gets the job done.

That reputation, however, is beginning to change, thanks in large part to exciting new technology like SHARP FM from Siemens Healthineers. This state-of-the-art system was designed from the ground up for smaller facilities. With a floor-mounted four-way floating table capable of supporting up to 700 pounds, SHARP FM was meant for effortless movement, helping ease the strain on the technologist while getting the patient in and out of the exam comfortably and quickly.

“There were only a couple of options, and we wanted to get [an X-ray] that had some bells and whistles,” continued Bret. “The SHARP FM goes up and down, it gives us a little more functionality that we didn’t have before.”

“Oh, it’s a world of difference,” said Renee Sharp, Medical Laboratory Technician - Radiology at Casselton Clinic. “I had to measure patients and I had to dial up my settings according to that. And the [SHARP FM], if I need to tweak it a little bit, I can. The time from me finishing the image to the provider seeing the images on her computer screen, it’s a snap.”

Working with a previous X-ray system that was either 55 or 65 years old, the Essentia team obviously knew they needed to upgrade. Their most important considerations were affordability, patient volume and the ability to conduct the wide variety of exams their community relied on them to provide.

“We were able to get everything that we needed on that equipment and for what Renee is doing,” said Bret. “It’s a perfect size. Volume-wise, I know she could do a lot more. It’s just the size of the clinic is limiting that way. I’ll say that her overall volume is probably doubled, at least from what she was doing to what she’s doing now.”

Another big difference they’ve noticed is the positive impact to the patient experience.

“Everything is so fast,” said Renee. “By the time I click the exposure to go back to do another view and reposition the patient, it’s already there. Everything is so fast. If you need to add on an exam, it’s very easy to figure out how to do that. Everything about it is just so nice and clean.”

The enhanced speed means patients can get in and out of their appointments faster than ever, with the additional functionality making quick positioning a breeze. Bret notes that the ability to move the tube transverse in and out has been a huge win, because it means getting the body part directly under the tube is no longer challenging, something that can’t be said for many floor-mounted units.

Maybe the best part though? Far fewer rescans, which also leaves more room for additional patient volume without sacrificing patient experience.

“My retake numbers are way down from the system I had before. I just can’t say enough about it.”

At Cassling, we do everything in our power to connect you to the solutions that fit your needs based on your patient population, workflows, community and other factors. And for Casselton Clinic, the SHARP FM just made sense. The Essentia team out of Fargo has come to appreciate their ability to get information from our team when they need it, at any time, day or night.

“Our Cassling reps have been very wonderful to work with,” said Bret. “If they don’t answer right away there, they call you back within probably two hours at the latest.”

Because of the two-fold increase in volume, the impact to the patient experience, the speed and more, SHARP FM was the right choice for Casselton Clinic. They continue to be on a first-name basis with each patient, with the ability to see more X-ray patients in a day than ever. And we can say we’re honored to be on a first-name basis with Renee, Bret and their entire clinical team as well.

SHARP FM was the right choice for Casselton; are you interested in learning if it’s the right fit for you? We’ve built a calculator to help you determine, based on your current imaging volume, how long it would take you to reach breakeven, helping you make an informed decision about your investment.

And, if you’re ready to speak to Cassling about this or any other solution, X-ray or otherwise, reach out today.

Meet the Author

As Cassling’s Marketing Manager, Veronica Sapp is responsible for leading Cassling’s marketing strategy through multimedia campaigns and overseeing the day-to-day operations of Cassling’s in-house marketing department. Prior to joining Cassling, Veronica served the healthcare community for nearly 10 years in a marketing career focused on medical staffing and long-term care. She earned her degree in Public Relations from the College of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Image of Author