X-Ray was originally used in the late 19th century to document broken bones. As time passed, the application of x-ray technology extended to the painless, non-invasive disease diagnosis and monitoring of therapy we have so very well come to know. As you can imagine, the advancements in medicine and technologies over the past 100 years or so have been varied and plentiful. Today, we are able to acquire high quality, high resolution x-ray images at doses as low as reasonably achievable.
The healthcare industry has moved from conventional screen-film x-ray to Computed Radiography (CR) to Digital Radiography (DR). Some practices, hospitals and clinics skipped the CR step altogether, transitioning right to digital from film. Compared to conventional film x-ray and Computed Radiography (CR), DR does have significant advantages. The extensive list of benefits includes exceptional image quality, increased speed, boosted productivity, and higher throughput all while providing a lower dose and higher level of care to patients. Increased productivity and throughput along with an increase in patient satisfaction certainly helps with ROI outlook for an upgrade to digital x-ray.
Digital x-ray retrofits are approximately one third of the cost of a full-blown system replacement. Flat panel detectors are designed to fit into existing wall stands, bucky trays, and mobile units. Detectors can be used in portables, fixed x-ray rooms, and multipurpose rooms for x-ray and fluoroscopy. DR systems can be installed quickly. This is especially true with retrofits built around existing equipment, which may share detectors between table, wall stand, and mobile units. Retrofits with flat panel detectors are the most cost-effective way to transition to digital x-ray without a complete upgrade of the radiation room.
What do industry experts say? According to Agfa, CR is slower than DR by as much as 8 minutes, while Konica Minolta says increased productivity between the two is between 40%-60%. Fuji Medical Systems suggests a 30%-50% reduction in radiation dose with going digital. While the specific statistics may vary in application and facility type, it is clear that digital x-ray is not only a viable solution for today’s diagnostic imaging, but will definitely be around tomorrow.