Demand for digital drives adaptations in CR and DR

January 16, 2006

As manufacturers continue to vie for position in the digital imaging marketplace, they are reluctant to give competitors an edge. Consequently, computed radiography vendors are beefing up their technology to rival digital radiography in image quality and productivity, while digital radiography suppliers develop smaller, more compact products to challenge CR in affordability and flexibility.

As manufacturers continue to vie for position in the digital imaging marketplace, they are reluctant to give competitors an edge. Consequently, computed radiography vendors are beefing up their technology to rival digital radiography in image quality and productivity, while digital radiography suppliers develop smaller, more compact products to challenge CR in affordability and flexibility.

Industry insiders believe that digital technology is well established, at least in larger institutions that have the means to make the economic plunge. According to industry estimates, about 90% of large teaching institutions have converted to digital, and the percentage of nonteaching, 300- to 400-bed hospitals that have gone digital approaches 75% to 80%.

But digital x-ray is just beginning to move into community hospitals and large multispecialty clinics. The question for vendors is how to fuel the momentum. One strategy demonstrated at the 2005 RSNA meeting is to offer compact CR or portable DR units. Another is to develop high-end CR.

"The radiology market in large university hospitals is saturated with PACS and CR," said Ralph Schaetzing, Ph.D., technical director of digital imaging at Agfa Healthcare. "These hospital s are in the replacement business, and they're looking for a digital solution, and digital workflow, to get efficiency up. Bringing out a 'DR equivalent' CR system is a good niche market."

Editor's Note: How companies are addressing this niche and the technologies allowing them to do so will be featured in the Jan. 16 issue of DI SCAN.