One of the largest deciding factors in the choice to add or upgrade to digital x-ray imaging is cost. Despite being one of the most common questions, no imaging solutions provider can tell you exactly how much these changes will add up to without talking to you about your specific needs. Most Computed Radiography (CR) solutions today have a clinic price of below $20,000 while Digital Radiography (DR) solutions are typically near $30,000. However, there are several factors that commonly affect cost. The three most impactful factors are x-ray sourcing, clinic needs, and additional parts.
First and foremost, do you already have an x-ray source? This is obviously key to the question of overall cost. If your clinic does not already have an x-ray source, or is in need of new equipment, this will have a significant effect on the cost of adding digital imaging. New x-ray sources can require new wiring and shielding as well, so make sure to talk to an experienced imaging solutions provider. You may also want to upgrade an existing x-ray source, but unless the generator has pre-existing problems this probably isn’t necessary.
There are two different image capturing options most clinics consider when adding digital imaging. CR is cassette based digital image processing, and DR is a direct capture digital image process. High Volume clinics should consider DR for its efficiency, but it is also costlier on average, and can lack flexibility compared to a CR.
If you go with a DR system, you will also have to decide whether or not you want or need a wireless detector. Many radiology rooms will actually work better with a tethered detector wired directly into your computer, but there are many applications that demand or benefit from a movable wireless DR. You may also want a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) to view your images on other computers, protective or weight bearing covers for your equipment, and other accessories which can add up.
Ultimately, your individual needs and overall clinic situation determine how moving to digital imaging will cost. It is important to go into the buying field knowing how these factors will impact the price of your upgrade. While prices may not be easily calculated, knowing these factors when talking to an experienced x-ray dealer will help ease the buying process and allow you to purchase what your clinic needs.