3 min read

DR Panels: A Clear Choice for X-Ray Upgrades

Featured Image

If your facility hasn't upgraded its X-ray capabilities in the last five years or more, we can't overstate our recommendation to upgrade to a DR panel ASAP. Many people we talk to have been scanning with burdensome reimbursement cuts for two years (at 20% for film processor users) or one year (at 7% for CR reader users) but are still concerned that upgrading to a flat DR panel detector is cost-prohibitive for their budget and patient volume level. These concerns loom large when you compare the up-front price of a CR reader to the price of a DR panel, but begin to fade if you consider the cost of ownership over a few short years from the point of purchase. To help clarify, we'll share the numbers and tech factors that show why we think any digital X-ray upgrade should be an upgrade to a DR panel.

A Value-Based Case for DR Upgrade

The Numbers

When considering a purchase of this size, it's important to consider the long game. The compelling aspect of stepping from film to CR or from an older CR to a newer model, as opposed to choosing DR, is the significantly lower "sticker price". Right now a quality, refurbished CR reader sells for roughly half the cost of a new DR panel. If 20% or 7% of your reimbursement revenue is less than that price difference, and if sticker price is the only aspect you consider, it's a short and easy conversation. 

When you consider cost of ownership over the lifespan of the CR reader, however, a different picture emerges. Over the years the costs to repair and maintain a CR reader begin to accumulate. Also factored in should be the knowledge that reimbursement cuts for CR increase from 7% to 10% in 2023. 

Below is a sample 5-year cost of ownership for an average CR or DR upgrade. These figures are based on a medium-volume clinic performing 100 studies per month and include service/support and cassettes and reimbursement cuts where applicable.

Average Cost of Ownership: CR vs. DR


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4 

Year 5 


CR Upgrade 







DR Upgrade 







The Tech Advantage

The example above shows that the first five years of owning either upgrade will cost about the same, with subsequent years shifting in favor of DR. But what the chart doesn't show is the value of a DR panel's technological advantages. For roughly the same 5-year cost, your facility can enjoy higher image quality and the scan time and throughput savings of 2-second image preview. To see the time savings in action click here for a video race between a CR reader and a DR panel.

On top of benefits to speed and image, a DR Panel has no moving parts. This means that when service issues arise, they can usually be fixed remotely via software, with no downtime waiting for replacement parts to arrive.

The Takeaway

If your facility is looking to upgrade in the near future we believe the best value, in terms of both lifetime cost and technological capabilities, is a DR panel. If you agree, but the upfront cost is still an issue, we can help your upgrade happen with our panel subscription program. However you'd prefer to pursue your next X-ray solution, you can contact us with the button below to tell us how we can help.

New Call-to-action