Digident targets x-ray market with launch of low-cost CR system

January 19, 2000

Interest in bringing computed radiography technology to lower price points continues to spark vendor activity. The latest to join the race is Digident, an Israeli firm that intends to leverage its dental CR experience for success in the general radiology

Interest in bringing computed radiography technology to lower price points continues to spark vendor activity. The latest to join the race is Digident, an Israeli firm that intends to leverage its dental CR experience for success in the general radiology marketplace.

Making its RSNA debut at the 1999 meeting, Digident showcased Paxi-R, a CR reader/miniPACS, which will have an end-user price of $30,000. Paxi-R, which can scan a single plate or a four-cassette magazine and includes PACS and teleradiology software, will be sold in the U.S. pending Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance.

The low cost of the unit allows healthcare institutions to set up multiple CR readers in a distributed network rather than relying on a centralized system based on a single, expensive CR system, according to Digident executive Jacob Koren. It can also be used as a standalone system, however.

Paxi-R can handle four standard plate sizes up to 14 x 17 inches, and supports resolution of 5 to 10 pixels/mm, with an option for 20 pixels/mm. It provides dynamic range of 12 bits, and is compatible with existing CR systems, allowing users to add on to an existing CR network easily, he said. Automatic loading and unloading of cassettes is provided. The small size of the system allows it to fit into the x-ray room control area, offering workflow improvements for x-ray technicians.

“It’s more efficient than the film process, because the technician never leaves the room,” Koren said. “The technician comes back into the control room to hit the start button and adjust the different controls, and he’s right near the scanner where he pushes the cassette. The system’s scanning it while he’s preparing and shooting the next shot.”

Automatic transfer of exposure parameters is performed. The system also includes a DICOM-compliant software interface, allowing for smooth transmission to any PACS or viewing software, Koren said.

Digident will be targeting two primary market segments for Paxi-R. The company believes a key target niche would be private clinics and sites in remote rural areas that desire digital x-ray technology to facilitate transmission of studies for second opinions. Digident also believes Paxi-R could benefit hospitals, which could use the system to integrate small satellite offices and outpatient facilities, as well as low-imaging-volume environments. The firm would sell into this market through OEM channels, and is currently searching for OEM partners.

Digident, which is staffed by former employees of Elscint, began operations in 1996, and initially focused its energies on the dental marketplace. Digident sells its dental system through a large distributor network worldwide, and has installed over 800 systems since sales began in 1998.

In addition to its low-cost benefits, Paxi-R can be sold as a self-contained miniPACS, including a small archive, which is expandable, and a small network. It can also be integrated into a large-scale PACS offering and with hospital and radiology information systems, Koren said.

“We see ourselves as a supplier to a PACS that’s already there, and not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “We’re not trying to compete with the PACS vendors, but instead give them an addition to their solution.”

Both imaging and archive capability for Paxi-R was developed internally at Digident, although the firm did partner with Lead Software for its DICOM toolkits.

Digident plans to install Paxi-R at a beta site in Israel in February. In the U.S., test systems for OEMs are scheduled to ship by the beginning of April. Digident hopes to begin volume shipments by the end of the second quarter. Because Digident has FDA clearance for its dental system, the company does not anticipate a difficult process to secure clearance for the radiology version, Koren said.