CR vs. DR detectors – and the inexorable march of progress

by Lee Nelson, Contributing Reporter | November 05, 2015
From the November 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“Previously, the physicians might have stepped away while the cassette was being processed, and when it was ready they had to go back to a workstation to be able to view the images,” he says. “It could take 10 to 15 minutes to process a cassette. Now they can view images in less than five seconds on the portable’s monitor and make decisions. That’s a tremendous advantage in the ED setting.”
At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., Jason Spaulding, section supervisor, says, “Our first wireless digital detector was purchased in 2009 from Philips. It was first used in an outpatient environment, then moved to the emergency room, and we have not had to replace it, or any of our detectors. It’s a testament to the care our technologists take with the equipment,” Spaulding says. Today the facility performs an annual total of 207,000 imaging exams, of which approximately 85,500 are DR studies and 15,000 are CR studies.


Jason Spaulding

The staff is very pleased with the speed and ease of the wireless DR detectors. “We took the upgrade path to bring speed and better delivery of care to those in the ED. A big part of the driver to go to DR was the speed of image processing in the trauma setting. These are the first images we get and time is of the essence, as you can imagine. Not only are they fast, the image quality is superior,” Spaulding says.
Howard Sanford, diagnostic imaging operational manager at El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, California, says the facility performs about 125,000 total imaging exams a year. About 65,000 of those are DR X-ray procedures, just a handful are CR. “We’re really all DR. We went DR hospital- wide about 5 years ago, and a ROI was not an issue, not part of the business plan. We were solely focused on patient care and DR gives our radiologists and patients the best of both worlds: speed and quality images at a lower dose,” Sanford observes. “We also have two AMX-4s that were upgraded to DR located at a different campus. For those we chose Carestream DR kits.”
What’s out there in CR and DR upgrades (and what about film)?
There is a consensus among most end users and OEMs that CR will stay around a while longer, possibly another decade. There continues to be a place for it in all sizes of medical facilities. But DR already reigns supreme and continues to grow as radiography goes fully digital. And yes, there are providers in the United States that still use film.

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