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Radiography job market remains tight, while digital path continues

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | November 30, 2014
Molecular Imaging Pediatrics
From the November 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Pure DR
Samsung, which purchased CT maker NeuroLogica Corp. last year, has been making inroads into the radiography market. NeuroLogica’s Webster says that with no CR carryover, it can focus on new advancements. A year ago, the company released its first DR system, the Samsung XGEO GC80.

“Everything we did is designed with DR in mind,” Webster says. “It’s a much smoother experience.”
The company focuses on improving image quality for its displays, which in turn, lowers radiation dose. “Samsung wasn’t the first company to put out a smartphone, but now they’re the world’s leader,” Webster says. “What Samsung does really well is take a digital technology and perfect it.”
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From a flip phone to an iPhone
With the trend moving toward smaller and more lightweight detectors — Fujifilm released a 24x30, four-pound detector in 2012 — service has also become an important aspect of any DR system. According to a report last year by MD Buyline, service fees have climbed to $30,000 to $55,000 for digital systems, versus $8,000 to $12,000 for analog X-ray systems. But options and customization levels vary.

For instance, Fujifilm offers a service called Active Line Monitoring, an option for customers to be connected to the company’s service headquarters and have error codes from any system tracked and logged. “If the administrator wants an email every time a detector gets dropped, we can trigger an e-mail alert,” says Fabrizio of Fujifilm. “It’s a huge help for hospitals that are hard to get to from a service standpoint. A lot of troubleshooting can be done from the active line.”

Fabrizio likens the more fragile DR detectors to moving from a flip phone to an iPhone. “The users need to be retrained to really handle the detectors with more care and in full understanding of the scope of how expensive they could be,” Fabrizio says. “That said, they are getting more rugged and lighter.”

Dose detection
While lowering radiation dose is a bigger issue in the CT market, it’s still a priority for X-ray, with manufacturers and third party companies offering image processing and also dose tracking software.

“The U.S. market is becoming much more conscientious and aware of dose,” says Carestream’s Titus. “Facilities are asking about how much dose is required to get a good image and they’re much more aware of it than in the past.”

Carestream’s software provides X-ray techniques and image processing that’s unique to different body weights and sizes and also monitors dose, Titus says. Fujifilm’ Fabrizio says the company’s 24x30 detector reduces dose by 40 to 75 percent and the company’s D-EVO Suite II has dose tracking, providing warnings when the technologist is outside of the recommended range.

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