A Cost Analysis of Using DR Equipment

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People assume that Digital Radiography (DR) equipment is generally expensive but that can’t be farther from the truth. Considering the introduction of legislation to cut Medicare reimbursements for failure to adopt DR in imaging centers, DR is slowly becoming a way to cut expenses rather than a lavish spending decision.

Brand-new DR systems are definitely expensive, but there are plenty of retrofit DR solutions in the market which guarantee similar performance at a fraction of the cost. With the rising sense of urgency and steadily diminishing financial resources, all healthcare facilities would do well to retrofit DR imaging solutions.

Retrofit vs. Brand-New DR—Cost Differences

Recent reports indicate that a brand new digital X-ray system costs somewhere around $160,000–$300,000. These prices don’t factor in the costs of software and a PACS that would support your brand new digital X-ray system. A retrofit DR solution by ExamVue, on the other hand, costs $40,000—nearly a third of what even the lowest priced brand new digital X-ray system costs. You’d still have to spend on supporting software and maybe a PACS but that’s still a step-down from what you’d have to pay for a brand digital X-ray new system.

How Does a Retrofit Solution Work?

Retrofit Solution Retrofit DR solutions involve fitting a flat panel DR detector onto your existing analog equipment. You can use the same X-ray generators, but instead of cassettes or film, a DR flat panel detector picks up these X-rays to render high resolution images within seconds. These detectors have higher DQE ratings, which means they produce clearer images.

Legislative Considerations—Medicare Reimbursement Cuts

Healthcare providers are beginning to feel the crunch as the implementation of the Consolidated Appropriations Act gets underway. The act was introduced to spur on the adoption of digital radiography equipment across medical facilities by reducing reimbursements for any X-ray procedures conducted using CR or film X-rays. The reimbursement cuts were scheduled as follows:

  • 7% cuts for CR imaging and 20% cuts for film X-rays starting from 2018.
  • 10% cuts for CR imaging and 20% cuts for film X-rays starting from 2020.

A couple of years ago, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons estimated that any orthopedic practice not moving to DR forfeited $19,287 a year. The organization further estimated that the cost would amount to $96,435 by 2023 and the doctors would lose $27,568 per year if they still didn’t upgrade by 2023.

Given the low-cost retrofit alternatives available in the market and the huge annual losses if you don’t switch to DR, it’s best advised that you switch to digital radiography via a retrofit.

ExamVue is a premium supplier of digital radiography equipment in the US. The company offers DR flat panel detector, image acquisition software and PACS. Get in touch with the company for more information today.


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