Diagnostic Imaging Solutions Banner

Specializing In Digital Radiography Systems

SEARCH

440.940.5040


VOICE/FAX


Electronic X-Ray - When, Why, and How

Med Industry Blog



Digital Radiography - Electronic X-Ray - When, Why and How?

July 17, 2011

It seems like we have crossed the healthcare frontier and the only thing left to conquer is analog or film based x-ray systems. MRI's, CT's, Ultrasound, PET, Bone Densitometry, Mammography and most diagnostic imaging systems output digital data, that is except for Radiography and Fluoroscopy. Most existing systems are still analog and put out either x-ray film and/or analog video. Although most mobile C-arms are now being produced with digital output capability, most existing C-arms, X-ray systems and R/F systems have not yet been upgraded. When you consider that today there are more x-ray studies done than any other modality study, we should concede, we are way overdue in moving to electronic Rad and Fluoro. These upgrades should probably be initiated before all others at medical facilities today. The sooner digital conversion takes place the sooner cost savings will be realized and productivity will be enhanced. So when we ask the question, "When should we convert to digital X-ray?", the answer should be "now" or "as soon as possible."

There are many reasons why the conversion should take place, but first and foremost, as always, is cost savings. The cost to purchase, process, duplicate, archive and access film is enormous. Although the actual cost of film is relatively inexpensive, the cost of a film processor, its maintenance, replacement, chemicals and dark room facilities is not cheap. Then, the cost of filing, storing, retrieving, and/or duplicating film further compounds the cost. Now, add in the time it takes to process and possibly re-shoot, because of poor quality, and the time it takes to transport the film study to the physician or technician, and you probably can cost justify the purchase of a digital solution in less than two years. The last factor is the amount of time saved during the procedure itself, thereby increasing the number of patients able to be x-rayed in a given time period. Actual throughput for a single system can probably easily accommodate 8-10 studies per hour, probably an increase of 30% over a film based system.

The bigger question is how do you make this conversion? If you have not had much time to look into digital conversion, you will find there are quite a few options. Although the technology was developed several years ago, it continues to evolve and price continues to change as well. The least expensive and most popular solution is Computer Radiography (CR). These systems consists of cassettes/phosphorous plates, a reader/converter and a computer workstation. The cassettes/plates are inserted into the table or the chest bucky, similar to inserting a film cassette. The plate is exposed to x-ray, the cassette is removed and inserted into the reader/converter, which reads the exposed plate and produces a digital image. The plate is then erased and ready to be used again in the same process. The image is available at the computer workstation for viewing, transfer to a radiologist and/or transfer to a Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS). CR systems range in price from low performance systems (one plate processed every 60 seconds) at $30K- $40K to high performance systems (multiple plates processed in 30 seconds) at $90K-$100K.

Although CR is less expensive, the time to load and transport cassettes around, combined with 30-60 second processing times result in lost productivity and throughput when comparing it to Direct Radiography (DR). These systems generally use flat panel detectors that are permanently fixed into the table and/or chest bucky. They also come with a computer workstation and acquisition/viewing/manipulation software. The DR process is very fast and simple. The x-ray exposure is shot and the detector converts it immediately to a electronic image available within 5-15 seconds for viewing at the computer workstation. However you must pay the price for speed and simplicity. A single panel DR system can costs $100k-$140K. If you have a table and chest stand and you require two detectors, you will need to add another $80K, resulting in a DR system costing 2 or 3 times more than a new x-ray system, which might cost $75K for a high performance and major brand. DR Fluoro/Spot systems are also available to retrofit R/F and Angio systems. These systems are deployed by adding a CCD camera at the image intensifier, a computer workstation, acquisition/viewing/manipulation software and digital R/F system monitor. These systems cost $65K-$80K.

Although all of the solutions discussed are relatively expensive, there are opportunities to reduce costs. We offer a CCD flat panel DR detector system for under $50K. We have sold many refurbished CR systems under $30K and refurbished DR Fluoro/Spot systems under $40K. We have also replaced older X-ray and R/F systems with late model high frequency systems (suggested when upgrading to digital) at half the price of a new system.

Charles J Patti, President/CEO
Back

Add A Comment



Med Industry Blog

Recent Postings

Nov 8, 2016
"Affordable" Care Act - Isn't. How will it effect the Healthcare Industry

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed in March of 2010 contrary to the wishes of the general population. The majority of people were not in favor of this program but the Democratic Congress and President Obama found away to get it passed.

Read Full Article

May 5, 2016
2016 DIGITAL RADIORAPHY (DR)

The transition away from x-ray film and Computer Radiography (CR) to Digital Radiography (DR) is advancing rapidly. There are a number of reasons DR is quickly becoming the x-ray digital output of choice.

Read Full Article

March 31, 2014
How To Plan For Diagnostic Imaging Expansion With Healthcare Programs Being Uncertain

Medical facilities are struggling to determine how to accommodate the uncertainty surrounding our current healthcare dilemma. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was established to increase the number of people who would be insured to receive healthcare benefits, by as many as 30 million people, thereby increasing demand for diagnostic imaging services.

Read Full Article

October 9, 2013
Which C-Arm Should I Buy?

Today you can be faced with many choices when deciding to purchase a mobile c-arm. Although most are appropriate for the majority of procedures, some may be particular good for the procedures you perform. Of course, the first consideration must be financial.

Read Full Article

February 8, 2013
DR Digital X-Ray Prices Finally Low Enough To Compete With CR

Direct Digital Radiography (DR) traditionally have been priced so high that only large medical facilities could afford to install them. The alternative for digital x-ray output has been Computer Radiography (CR).

Read Full Article

Nov. 23, 2012
Demand For Diagnostic Imaging Systems Growing Rapidly In Africa, The Middle East And Eastern Europe - Will The Systems Be Purchased?

The demand for medical facilities and related diagnostic imaging systems is growing at a tremendous rate. There is a strong need for x-ray and fluoroscopic systems as well as CT, MRI and ultrasound systems.

Read Full Article

Aug. 8, 2012
INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL
MARKETS

I recently received an email from a physician in India. He had been residing in the United Kingdom for several years and had returned to his home land. He contacted me because he was interested in developing a new business of selling and supporting pre-owned diagnostic imaging systems to facilities throughout India.

Read Full Article

How To Safely Buy Pre-Owned Medical Systems
August 8, 2011

Very often there is a need to acquire additional capability in our health care facilities but there isn't always the funds to purchase a new, full-functioned, state of the art, diagnostic imaging system. Therefore, a decision must be made to determine if the additional services can be shifted to another facility or if it is critical or at least necessary to remain at your facility. The decision usually comes back that it needs to remain and options to accommodate it must be considered.

Read Full Article
As Featured On EzineArticles
July 17, 2011
Digital Radiography - Electronic X-Ray - When, Why and How?

It seems like we have crossed the healthcare frontier and the only thing left to conquer is analog or film based x-ray systems. MRI's, CT's, Ultrasound, PET, Bone Densitometry, Mammography and most diagnostic imaging systems output digital data, that is except for Radiography and Fluoroscopy. Most existing systems are still analog and put out either x-ray film and/or analog video. Although most mobile C-arms are now being produced with digital output capability, most existing C-arms, X-ray systems and R/F systems have not yet been upgraded. When you consider that today there are more x-ray studies done than any other modality study, we should concede, we are way overdue in moving to electronic Rad and Fluoro. These upgrades should probably be initiated before all others at medical facilities today.

Read Full Article
How To Get The Most From Your Radiology Dollar
June 3, 2011

The decisions are getting harder when we try and determine what our facility should invest in to provide the best patient care. 256 slice CTs, 3.0T MRIs, Digital Mammography, PACS Upgrade, EHR and so on....? We first try and determine our available budget or we are asked to submit a request for funds based upon current and future requirements, local competition and/or physician requirements. It is now necessary to take a long hard look at what is currently being utilized and determine how best to enhance capabilities. You probably begin to bring in vendors to discuss the capabilities of their new systems, as well as potential costs. If you are like many administrators, you immediately get a large blast of reality $$$$$$$. You instantly know that you will be limited to one purchase or less and it's possible funding won't be available for several years. If you are experiencing growth, patient count is increasing, test procedures are on the increase, and avaliable system time is becoming harder and harder to come by, then you know you will need to upgrade Radiology capacity.

Read Full Article