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Radiographic/fluoroscopic equipment: pricing analysis

November 14, 2016
X-Ray
Jamie J. Dildy, BS, R.T. (R)
From the November 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By Jamie J. Dildy, BS, R.T. and Lisa Williams, BSRS, RT (R)

Within the fluoroscopy market, there is a growing push to move fully into the digital age with flat panel detector (FPD)-based systems. Buyers have a choice between image intensifier (II) or FPD-based technology for radiography/fluoroscopy (R/F) systems. MD Buyline has seen recent purchasing trends for R/F systems that indicate hospitals are moving away from II-based systems and looking to FPD-based units as their budgets allow. In addition, some major equipment vendors have turned their focus to designing and manufacturing only detector-based R/F systems within their product portfolios.

Philips Healthcare and Shimadzu offer both types of systems. GE Healthcare and Toshiba offer image intensifier-based systems, while Siemens offers flat plate-based systems. Although there is markedly higher investment associated with the latest FPD systems, digital fluoroscopy offers better penetration of anatomy, and from a technical perspective, there is less geometric distortion and glare, as well as less degradation of image quality. FPD also offers higher image quality, reduction in dose and a smaller system footprint.

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Dynamic detector-based systems are considered less bulky than II systems. This allows for additional space within the system for patient movement during fluoroscopy exams which typically requires imaging to be done in several patient positions. This is an important factor when considering the investment in higher-end R/F systems, as fewer patients will potentially be turned away due to size.

Lisa Williams, BSRS, RT (R)

Purchasers looking to invest in FPD-based R/F systems have been justifying the significantly higher purchase price by selecting system configurations that enable the room to be used in a dual-purpose capacity for general X-ray exams long after the routine fluoro studies have been completed for the day.

II-based systems are still considered a viable technology avenue, and offer a lower investment for those facilities that cannot justify the extra cost associated with flat panel technology. In addition, there is a better understanding and track record established with II technology in terms of useful life span of equipment, repair cost averages and overall reliability compared to FPD-based units.

Despite being on the market for several years, the same kind of service history for dynamic detectors continues to evolve, and will eventually be able to disclose some consistent trends over an extended period of time. Please note that these numbers have been adjusted to exclude special deals, outliers and unique circumstances.

About the authors: Jamie J. Dildy and Lisa Williams are clinical analysts at MD Buyline.

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