Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Digital Imaging Revolution – What are you waiting for?

By: Jarrod Stiff, VP of Operations at Capital X-Ray

The digital imaging revolution. You’ve heard about it. Read about it. Thought about it. Forgotten about it. Thought about it again. Researched pricing…and forgotten about it again. Well, the verdict is in and it’s time you thought about it once more. However, this time you’ll want to remember.

You knew digital imaging was the next big thing. As we’ve seen with every industry, once things go digital there’s no turning back. At first, some providers saw digital radiography as a neat, but unnecessary, luxury. Entry-level costs were too high for private physicians to justify making the transition.

But today, computerized radiography and direct-digital radiography solutions are aggressively priced and come with more features than in the past. Let’s look at a few key points in the justification argument for going digital.

1) Eliminate film and chemistry

This argument has always been a no-brainer. The monthly bills for various film sizes and stinky processing chemicals: gone. In years past, one could argue that the film and chemistry costs were still less than a digital conversion, but have you seen consumables’ pricing lately? It’s not getting any cheaper. Meanwhile, digital prices have fallen. Significantly. Have a qualified imaging partner look at your current variable costs within your imaging department and see for yourself. Return-on-investment calculations used to strain to show a break-even. Now, most facilities recognize financial savings in the first year. And financial savings aren’t the only perk.

2) Processing time DOWN = Productivity UP

It’s only logical. If you cut your processing time in half, you now have the ability to perform twice as many exams. What if I told you that newer digital systems are faster than that? With even tabletop CR (computerized radiography) units now clocking in with processing speeds north of sixty-five 14” x 17” plates an hour, its no wonder that even single-physician practices are quickly seeing benefits.

3) Better images AND lower radiation dose to the patient

Complex algorithms, grid detection and suppression, digital editing, contrast/brightness adjustments: all of these tools are made available with digital imaging. The end result is fewer retakes and less radiation dose to the patient.

4) Reduced archival woes

How many file jackets stuffed with x-ray films are littering your practice? Have you had to resort to dedicating an entire room to film storage? Reclaim that space! The majority of today’s digital systems offer some sort of “mini PACS” (Picture Archive Communication System). This allows for quick and secure storage of patient images and allows you to easily find the images for follow-up visits and comparison studies. Cloud-based backups assist in disaster recovery scenarios furthering the argument for digital imaging. How many copies of your patients’ x-rays do you currently have? What happens if there is a fire? Yep. That’s what I thought.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits associated with digital imaging. Reduced chemical waste, less environmental damage, faster overreads, space saving - the list goes on and on.

Capital X-Ray is happy to provide more information upon request.

Jarrod Stiff is Vice President of Operations for Capital X-Ray. Captial X-Ray is a full-service radiology partner providing digital image solutions to medical professionals across the southeastern United States.

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