What should I invest in? What is the best solution for my business?
Since the inception of flat panel DR technology, many have predicted the demise of CR. This has not proven to be reality. CR will continue to be an excellent digital solution for many facilities, for a variety of reasons. In fact, DR is not the right product for every customer and neither is CR. Your customer will look to you to be their Digital Imaging Consultant. They will rely on your knowledge of Digital Imaging Technology to guide them towards the Digital Imaging Solution which best fits their needs.
CR has been, and continues to be the workhorse in many departments, but more competitive pricing and recent developments in DR technology, including wireless detectors and retrofit kits are giving DR a lot more momentum.
Flat panel technologies are still more expensive, but prices have come down. On the CR side, prices have fallen just as steeply. This is healthy for the market as it brings the technology to a larger market segment. As the prices come down, more people can adopt it.
Increasing in frequency is the retrofitting of an existing analog room to a digital DR room. This is attractive to those facilities facing a lack of capital to outfit a new DR room. Conversions can save practices large amounts of money. Also, with retrofit conversions, besides being cost effective, the typical install is 3-4 hours and completed the same day. In this current economic environment more and more are looking to stretch their dollars. Digital technologies are getting increasingly faster and better.
What is “best”?
Each of these technologies has tradeoffs and advantages. Both are alive and well in the market. DR is the choice where high throughput and efficiency are required, as in an Emergency Department, where imaging is very time sensitive for patient care, and exam volume is high. CR is highly flexible and will provide an excellent image and will do it more economically. The obvious disadvantage of DR is the higher price.
The mature CR market in hospitals is being replaced by DR. CR on the other hand is far out-selling DR in the non-hospital segment, smaller facilities, private practice, imaging centers and clinics.
A disadvantage of CR is slower workflow than direct digital, but places that are less centralized may find that CR works better for them. An advantage for CR is with Scoliosis studies. An image can be captured on a long bone cassette with one exposure to the patient. DR requires two exposures stitched together. A possible disadvantage of DR for the cost conscious customer is the cost of Drop insurance protection on the detector. This is not needed on CR. The cost of replacement cassettes is lower than replacement DR panels, and CR offers a wide variety of available cassette sizes.
The two technologies are more alike than different. CR is a technology which is essentially cassette based and processed by a Laser scanner and DR uses direct capture technology with fixed, tethered or wireless flat panels, but technically, both are digital. CR was really the original wireless digital technology. CR will continue to expand into new market segments as DR is increasingly picked up by large hospitals and customers seeking better throughput.
Our customers look to us for guidance to help people through with their digital decision. Call us so that we may talk about the Pros and Cons of each technology to help educate you and find the best solution that fits your needs.