Will My Image Quality Improve When I Switch to Digital?

A common thought comes up when most clinics upgrade from a film-based x-ray system to digital – will the image quality improve when switched to digital? It would be foolish for any company that sells digital upgrades to make these types of promises, without knowing all of the factors that play into the result. An improvement in image quality does happen when upgrading. However, comparing the quality of a film on a view box, with a digital image on a computer monitor is difficult. The two images are captured in differing ways. We use the analogy of older movies that are digitally remastered later on. The original film may have been filmed in very high quality but to compare it to the digitally remastered, modern version is not fair.

To the eye, the digital image is better, but it goes beyond that. Digital imaging gives you the ability to manipulate the image which, of course, film-based imaging cannot achieve. For example: zooming in on a region of interest, changing the lightness/darkness of the image, adjusting the contrast of the image, inverting the image to a negative and more. With the extra abilities that the digital upgrade provides, it is a better image to work with regarding the report of findings for your patient.

Digital imaging is also better for your staff and patients, due to the environmentally friendly benefits. The chemicals used in the film developing process can be hazardous for both employees and the environment. This is why precautions are taken in the proper disposal of some of these chemicals. It is difficult to ignore the aroma/smell the chemicals emit. The clinic staff may have grown accustomed to it but patients can still turn their nose up every time they walk past the dark room.

Do not hesitate to switch to a digital imaging solution. It will improve your ability to diagnose, retain patients, and make a small, yet positive impact on the environment—all while improving your image quality.

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