We are often contacted by practices and clinics using conventional screen-film x-ray or Computed Radiography (CR) who are considering making the move to Digital Radiography (DR) also known as digital x-ray. Making such a decision should be well-informed. Here are some items to be considered in the decision-making process.
When considering making the switch to digital x-ray, the cost is of primary concern. Of course, your practice or clinic is already spending money on taking and processing x-rays. If you were to make the move to digital, such items could be seen as reductions in cost. Don’t forget about other costs associated with seeing patients and taking x-rays. These could include: identification cards, filing envelopes, shipping of films, film and chemical expenses, other consumables, and, oftentimes, monthly maintenance costs.
If you are part of a smaller practice or clinic, you may one of the folks taking the x-ray exposures. Time is by far the most expensive aspect in taking x-rays. The less time a doctor spends in the radiation room and the darkroom, the more time they will have to see and treat other patients, which would translate into additional income for the practice. If your clinic has a designed staff member taking the x-rays and developing the films, it should be simple to calculate real cost savings associated with those tasks being performed. Increased workflow efficiency can result in shorter wait time for patients and more time for the clinic to work with additional patients. Faster throughput is definitely desirable.
An increase in efficiency can certainly contribute positively to patient satisfaction. It’s fair to say that most patients are pleased when they receive a high level of service in a timely fashion. Digital x-ray also enables doctors to include the patient in viewing the x-rays. Completing your report of findings with the patient can also contribute to higher patient satisfaction. Another benefit of digital x-ray is having the ability to send your patients home with a CD of their x-rays. Overall, patients appreciate knowing that your practice or clinic has made wise investments to improving quality of care. A happy patient is an excellent marketer.