If you're considering digital radiography (DR) for the first time, we'll say this: Between reimbursement cuts, the ongoing cost of CR reader maintenance and cassettes, and declining costs for DR panels, it's just not economical to put off the upgrade to direct digital imaging any longer. You'll have higher image quality, faster scanning, lower costs- and you can keep your analog X-ray system. If you're no stranger to the benefits of DR, welcome back to the market!
In either case, DR panels are more affordable now than ever. Keep reading to see commonly available DR panel options and the current average price range you can expect to spend on each.
Common DR Panel Types
14 x 17 or 17 x 17 Tethered Panel:
Tethered panels are connected to a computer workstation by a cable. They rest in a bucky tray and are movable between the table and the chest stand, allowing a full-service X-ray room to get by with just one. Cables are typically around 45 feet long and will not limit the studies you can perform.
10 x 12, 14 x 17, or 14 x 17 Wireless Panel:
Wireless panels communicate with their workstation with no cables whatsoever. They are powered by rechargeable batteries. They are also movable between table and bucky with the added convenience of no cables to manage or avoid. A single wireless panel can suffice for a full-service room as well.
Average DR Panel Pricing
Why The Ranges?
There are a few factors that affect where a panel will fall within its size range. First and foremost is whether it uses cesium iodide (CsI) or gadolinium oxysulfide (Gadox) as its scintillator. CsI affords the user better image resolution, and the patient a lower dose. Neither of these are dramatic advantages over a Gadox panel, but they are, nonetheless, advantages that place CsI panels toward the higher end of each range.
Features of different panels also vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some panels use auto-trigger while others use automatic exposure detection. Some panels have built-in handles while others need a case for a handle. Some panels have fixed batteries while others are removable. Some panels can sync with the pre-set protocols of any room in seconds, via NFC technology. The list of options goes on and, the more feature-rich a panel is, the more likely it is to reside on the higher end of its respective price range.
The principles of buying in "bulk" apply here as well. If you're looking at outfitting your X-ray room with two panels, most providers will lower the price of each. The same is true if you're buying other equipment from the same provider at the same time ( a PACS system or a portable X-ray for example).
Installation and delivery also play a small role in determining price. Wall-mounting for monitors, modifications to the chest stand bucky tray, and expediting all have potential to add to your costs.
If you want to go fully digital but don't want to replace your entire X-ray room, DR panels provide the advantages you're looking for at a fraction of the price. We're ready to help you make the best pick for your facility's needs. Contact us to get the conversation started with a price quote or an on-site panel demo at your facility.
Written by Devinn LoVette
Devinn LoVette is an X-Ray Product Associate at Block Imaging. In his role, Devinn finds and creates opportunities for Block Imaging and our partners to give a second life to medical imaging equipment. Outside the office, he is a youth pastor at City Life Church, an avid athlete, and a high school basketball coach.