HealthManagement, Volume 20 - Issue 4, 2020


The COVID-19 crisis has placed extraordinary pressure on healthcare providers and clinical professionals alike. And yet, within this difficult and demanding context, we have seen incredible responses: in a sense of unity, in new ways of working, in the creation of virtual connections and more.

Agfa Radiology has stepped up as well, to help the healthcare sector meet the added challenges. #CountOnUs is our initiative to co-create and enable practical responses to the COVID-19 crisis, hand-in-hand with clinical partners. #CountOnUs is more than just a hashtag, it is a committed response, born out of solidarity, which has transformed into a holistic approach to finding simple, practical solutions to exceptional problems.

Meeting Volume Demand Through More Capacity, Productivity and Uptime

“CountOnUs” began as a message to our customers: that we would stand with them and support them in any way possible. As the pandemic ramped up, specific needs became clearer. In particular, the acute lung distress of patients created demand for an unprecedented volume of images.

Busy healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19 in ICUs, ERs and treatment rooms, dressed in bulky PPE, needed to make large volumes of bedside images offering excellent image quality, while keeping imaging units properly disinfected and working. Managing this new reality called for new solutions and support.

Within Agfa Radiology, the questions arose: How can we make our machines faster and more reliable? How do we ensure optimal utilization with the increased usage? How do we enable our customers to get more scans with the same equipment? How can we offer solutions that increase healthcare providers’ productivity? And how can we achieve these goals without long implementation times?

We saw that we needed to approach the problem from three directions:

• Increase capacity: especially for bedside imaging, whether DR, CR, analog or Retrofit. This requires to step up our manufacturing capacity bringing creativity, and partnering with other vendors.

• Increase productivity: finding ways for existing equipment to do more, both technologically and in terms of workflow.

• Secure uptime: people and equipment are being pushed to their limits. Overwhelmed staff don’t have time to worry about their equipment: whether damage due to dropping, or increased hygiene requirements.

A Holistic Platform for Problem-Specific Solutions

#CountOnUs became our platform to figure out how to work under the new conditions; to share successes and learnings, in order to find problem-specific solutions that could be implemented quickly and simply. It lets us get information, suggestions, best practices and customer stories to more people, more rapidly.

Under the #CountOnUs umbrella, we have created campaigns based on concrete actions. For example, in a campaign named Fight against Time, we are offering our Chest+ software free of charge for nine months, to Agfa customers and non-Agfa customers alike. Chest imaging is a key part of triaging and monitoring patients. Chest+, for gridless bedside imaging, can help increase speed and productivity by up to 30%, as no grid positioning or disinfection is needed.

We are communicating insights such as the advantages of CR for the ICU workflow. Fast, flexible imaging, a robust solution and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) make it a sustainable addition to the COVID-19 imaging environment. Then there are the benefits of the mobile DR Retrofit, which is helping healthcare teams deal with the overwhelming pressure on diagnostic and treatment resources. The Retrofit can upgrade mobile imaging units to DR productivity ‘in an instant’, with just a laptop and detector.

We are also spreading best practices from healthcare providers, so we can partner with companies to translate and replicate the successes to other systems. In hard-hit Brazil, for example, Agfa with its partner and a local manufacturer teamed up to create a mobile solution powered by Agfa Musica SW to offer, within weeks, state of the art imaging to a field hospital in Sao Paolo,

Transformative Experience, Practical Responses

The trends we are seeing emerge during this pandemic will reshape the way radiology is practiced, and Agfa will continue to be a partner to healthcare as we all learn and evolve together. #CountOnUs is creating a transformative foundation of solidarity with, and value for, patients, clinical professionals and healthcare providers. It represents and enables a collaborative problem-solving mindset that connects us to our customers and to other vendors, so we can quickly identify and implement relevant and practical solutions. And it encourages teams to share their stories, so they can support and motivate each other in a purposeful way. 

Agfa NV is one of the world’s leading companies in imaging technology. Agfa develops, manufactures and markets analogue and digital systems for the printing industry, for the healthcare sector, and for specific industrial applications. The group has more than 150 years of imaging experience. The Digital Radiography Solutions division delivers diagnostic imaging solutions that set standards in productivity, safety, clinical value and cost effectiveness. Agfa is headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium. The company is present in 40 countries and has agents in another 100 countries around the globe.

Disclosure of conflict of interest: Point-of-View articles are the sole opinion of the author(s) and they are part of the Corporate Engagement or Educational Community Programme.