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Special report: Radiography (and fluoroscopy) keep pace with market demands

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | November 14, 2012
International Day of Radiology 2012
Carestream's DRXRevolution
Mobile X-Ray System
From the November 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that radiography sales representatives have it pretty easy these days promoting direct digital radiography systems to customers.

“When our sales people walk into a situation they don’t even have to convince a manager anymore,” says Aaron Ybarra, Toshiba America Medical System’s XR product manager. “Most just demand it.”

Back in 2000, managers probably needed some prodding, but today, DR seems to be the standard in most U.S. hospitals, with the advantages of efficiency and patient care being key points in its favor.

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“The main benefit is productivity and overall workflow,” says Helen Titus, worldwide marketing director for X-ray solutions at Carestream. “They may have had two to three rooms with CR [computed radiography], but they can have the same through-put with DR using maybe one room. Also the benefits of lower dose and having that instant access to images, which in certain situations like the OR, can have good patient outcomes,” she says.

Wireless detectors on DR systems are the most recent advances in the market over the past two to three years. They facilitate the configuration of an X-ray image in less than three seconds via a transmitter device built into the detector.

“It’s eliminated all the cassettes and eliminated the process of sticking them in a reader and waiting for images to come up,” says Ybarra.

According to Arne Helbig, director of global marketing for diagnostic X-ray at Philips Healthcare, with no more cables tethering detectors to a wall, wireless capability gives providers the ability to position the device more freely around the patient.

“It’s about efficiency and workflow and getting the patient in and out of the room as quickly as possible,” says Helbig.

And in the mobile environment, it’s about being able to bring the detector to the patient.

Detector sharing
Efficiency often justifies the higher cost of the DR detector, according to experts interviewed for this story. Before wireless, facilities often invested in two detectors but now, one can suffice, helping reduce costs.

“Detectors are the most expensive component and you can have a single or two detector system, and with multiple rooms, you can share the detector,” says Pierre Niepel, director of the radiography and fluoroscopy segment at Siemens Healthcare.

Almost all OEMs have introduced some form of detector sharing into their systems. At RSNA last year, Philips showcased detector sharing on its radiography equipment. This type of setup is ideal for many health care facilities — rather than having an expensive detector sit idle for periods throughout the day, a single detector can travel from the radiography or fluoroscopy room in the morning, to the ICU on a mobile unit in the afternoon.

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