Digital X-ray Rooms: What to Ask Before You Buy
It’s arguable which Digital X-Ray technology (Selenium, Cesium, Gadolinium) provides the best quality, and at the lowest radiation dose. Voices from all camps pipe up boisterously and, with all the chatter, this element can seem to be the core choice of the DR buying process. But, as this debate continues in the industry, an equally important element is often overlooked: measuring the after-purchase customer service track record of a prospective vendor.
Here are some important questions to ask when the Block Imaging rep, or a local X-Ray company, or “Jimmy” in purchasing has located a DR plate online for a lower price than you ever thought possible. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll employ the familiar “Who, what, where?” format.
WHO will you select to help you?
A vendor with thousands of systems installed in North America? Hundreds? Or this story – “They’re just starting out and they’re the Doc’s brother-in-law’s nephew – give him a crack at it”? Hmmm…The better choice is the reputable, nationally, or even internationally, organized group where a complete parts, service, and logistics package is what they do every day.
WHAT DR will you choose when the time is right?
This is where a professional X-Ray/DR representative will help you sort through several layers of information so you don’t have to do all the research yourself. There are vendors who only provide one brand, so you know what technology they’ll push at you. On the other hand, there are vendors who, due to a combination of the size of their organization’s “footprint”, strategic partnerships, and buying power, will help you select the right system, for the right studies, for the right budget.
WHERE are their support people located?
This isn’t as important if they actually have support people in the continental US. If not, you can expect delays/communication difficulties.
HOW MANY service people do they have?
Service organizations today are able to partner with others to provide a “person on the street” – which is to all of our advantages. I Christmas shop online from my “Perfect Chair” in my living room. I can read and send emails while I walk my dog. I can carry ten times the music I ever had on my LP collection in my pocket! We’re all savvy in the IT-driven world we live in, but none of us can do it alone. At some point, you will need support and, holy-cow, if the DR detector you just purchased only has a handful or less of people on this side of the pond to support software, applications, or operational questions, you’d better be comfortable with delays, or worse: lost scan-time!
HOW will this retro-fit or new Rad and DR Plate be delivered and installed? And how will I know it will fit properly?
When working with a professional X-Ray organization, you’ll be provided with a series of questions “qualifying” the best fit for your particular studies. Thorough planning is essential for timelines, budgets, room size, applications training, and a laundry list of other considerations. This kind of planning takes time and effort that certainly aren’t free, so look out for the super-low price. Something is probably missing – or worse – it’s included, but it’s not a profitable venture for the vendor, and thus, they may no longer be in business to support you in 3 months.
Watch the video below for more on DR plate options
WHEN should you upgrade to DR?
There are a dozen answers to this question. Annual study volume and a need for higher efficiency seem to lead buyers to go digital. This is where a professional, multi-faceted vendor’s expertise really comes into play. Telling your story to a professional vendor, one who will help you calculate whether or not moving to DR makes sense now, in the future, or never provides the best “when” to begin.
Moving to DR or replacing your existing system will be a big investment for your site, guaranteed. To help maximize the return on that investment, you’ll need to minimize delays, lost scan-time, and disruptions to patient and doctor schedules. The best way to do this is to make sure BEFORE you buy that your new DR will be able to get the support it needs quickly and correctly from people who know what they’re doing.
Take the time to ask these questions. We at Block Imaging will be happy to help answer them.
Meet the authors: Darrin Dodge and Jordan Batterbee
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