Justifying costs for new X-ray equipment is very difficult in this day and age due to low reimbursement. However, the X-ray modalities are a necessity of life for any diagnostic facility.
Many of our customers express that they NEED X-ray. They WANT digital but they do not want to spend the money that it takes for a full-fledged digital room. The good news is that there is more than one way to achieve digital.
Option 1: CR System
The least expensive way is to purchase a CR system to complement your analog X-ray. But this involves placing an extra step between the exposure and acquisition of the x-ray.
Examples: Carestream DirectView Vita, Kodak Point of Care, Agfa CR
Option 2: Digital X-ray System
On the other end of the spectrum is a fully born Digital X-ray unit. These tend to be extremely expensive, but also the most efficient when it comes to speed of play between exposure and acquisition.
Example: GE XR/D
There is however a middle ground...
Option 3: Retrofit Analog X-ray with a Digital Plate
Nearly any analog X-ray system can be retrofitted with a digital plate.
Examples: KrystalRad 560, Carestream DRX-1, Flex DR
There are many different types of digital plates on the market, but I would like to focus on the type that I believe to be the most cost-efficient.
Tethered DR Plates vs Wireless
Tethered DR plates are the most cost-efficient of the digital plates.
The tethered plate differs from other plates by the way it connects to the X-ray system. Tethered plates can be moved from the tray in the table to the tray in the wall bucky easily, and are connected to the computer system by wire.
Both wireless and dedicated options are a little bit more convenient, however tethered is by far the most cost-efficient way to do it. The cost is generally about half of what a wireless plate would cost, and also about half the cost of the dedicated plates because only one plate is required instead of two. It will also save considerably on service for the plates in the years to come.
Ready to go digital?
Meet the author - David McAndrews