Tips for imaging departments making the jump from CR to DR

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | July 27, 2020
Elizabeth Evans
From the July 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

In the last few years, the radiology equipment install base in the U.S. has undergone a dramatic shift. What was once done with film had been replaced with computed radiology (CR) technology, and now the transformation has gone a step further with approximately 80 percent of providers moving to digital radiography (DR).

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 provided financial incentives to make the switch, (it introduced reimbursement hurdles for providers who continued with non-DR X-ray technology), but ramping up a new type of technology can be challenging on the front lines. We spoke to Elizabeth Evans, X-ray modality manager at AdventHealth, to find out how she and her team have worked to perfect the process.

HCB News: AdventHealth has made a big shift toward digital radiography in the last few years. Can you talk a little bit about the top-level factors that contributed to that decision?

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Elizabeth Evans: For us there were several factors that went into the decision to move our fleet to DR. In terms of functionality, it gives us the highest quality images possible with faster exams. That means productivity and efficiency of workflow are improved. Switching to DR also means we can continue to receive 100% of our Medicare reimbursement.

HCB News: Can you tell us a little bit more about the efficiency advantages compared to CR?
EE: With DR an X-ray is immediately converted into an image, which can be seen on a high-resolution monitor within seconds. This eliminates the steps of digitizing an image, as with CR imaging, which can take from 30-60 seconds. At high-volume hospitals and imaging centers, that is a significant time savings.

The other advantage is not maintaining and cleaning the CR equipment. This was a very time-consuming process for larger sites, with upward of 150 CR cassettes. CR cassettes had to be cleaned regularly, as did the CR digitizer.

HCB News: What about for patients, does DR improve their experience?
EE: DR imaging provides higher quality images using lower doses. Which, in turn, means patients with subtle pathologies have a higher chance of detection where DR imaging is utilized. This is because DR technology provides more advanced image processing.

HCB News: For hospitals implementing their own DR technology, what kind of recommendations can you offer in terms of preparations and staff training?
EE: Making sure there is a complete and comprehensive study tree ensures ease of use for the technicians. Some things sites can standardize include views needed (AP, Lat, or Obl). This way techs won’t have to add views during an exam. Reject reasons and common annotations can also be standardized.


Bob Winters

Cost consideration

July 30, 2020 10:47

Interesting process that makes sense. What I would like to have clarified is the cost of capital expense and maintenance of DR verses the cost to continue maintaining the CR. System in spite of the reduced reimbursement reduction. I am believing the real reduction in cost may only be FTE utilization because of improved speed but DR systems are less cost effective overall

Bob Winters

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