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Fujifilm pumps up CR with release of SpeedSuite


Turnkey product offers DR-like productivityWith the release of SpeedSuite, Fujifilm has upped the ante in its battle with digital radiography (DR). The turnkey product, which integrates computed radiography technology with an x-ray

Turnkey product offers DR-like productivity

With the release of SpeedSuite, Fujifilm has upped the ante in its battle with digital radiography (DR). The turnkey product, which integrates computed radiography technology with an x-ray imaging chain, offers performance comparable to systems that use flat-panel detectors, according to Fujifilm executive John Strauss. A variety of configurations afford flexibility in siting.

"SpeedSuite provides a total solution in radiography," said Strauss, director of marketing for Fujifilm imaging systems. "It offers customers a high-throughput digital room option for imaging patients accurately and rapidly."

The table-based 5502D system can read up to 168 14 x 17-inch images per hour. The dedicated chest ClearView-D can read up to 123 such images. Reducing image size to 8 x 10 inches boosts the reading speed of the units to 174 per hour.

Together these units, intended for large institutions with high throughput, can serve as the gateway to an all-digital, filmless environment, according to Strauss. Fuji is marketing SpeedSuite through the company's regular channels, making direct sales calls on the hospital community. The company believes any medical center with moderate to heavy patient traffic is a potential buyer.

"It would help them operate more efficiently," Strauss said. "It's absolutely cost-effective as an enabling tool that helps remove film from the radiographic process. Removing film is cost saving and the image is digital, so it enables a medical center to communicate images throughout the facility or remotely with healthcare providers."

SpeedSuite is designed to compete with DR devices based on amorphous selenium or amorphous silicon. Fuji hopes to exploit CR's proven ability to deliver high-quality, clinical images, Strauss said, in the context of newly fabricated means for increasing productivity.

"The issue here is efficiency," he said. "Cassetteless radiography using SpeedSuite provides the same level of efficiency reported with these other systems, but at a more refined level of processing and presentation."

Since the advent of DR, Fujifilm executives have steadfastly supported CR, correctly predicting that the adoption of DR would take many years and that CR would at least hold its own. The release of SpeedSuite, which cleared the FDA in early December (SCAN 2/6/02), demonstrates that CR can support high-volume practices without any radical change in its underlying technology, Strauss said.

High-performance SpeedSuite configurations are in use at several flagship facilities, including the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City, and Tower Imaging Wilshire in Los Angeles. Another, the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA, chose SpeedSuite because the new product combines the best of both digital worlds, according to Lorraine Kelly, manager of the Lahey Clinic radiology department.

"We were originally interested in this suite because it offers CR technology in the form of direct capture," she said. "It is in fact increasing patient throughput and improving image quality."

SpeedSuite combines Fuji's cassetteless CR equipment with workhorse x-ray components supplied by Siemens Medical Solutions. The CR plates are not removed from the device but read automatically, and data are transferred to a workstation for viewing. The plates allow dual-side reading, which improves image quality by boosting detection quantum efficiency. They also—in concert with Fujifilm algorithms—support dual-energy subtractions that allow separation of hard and soft tissue.

Fuji provides all the CR components, but DI SCAN has learned that Siemens provides the x-ray-generating equipment. Fuji's Speedlink x-ray control software (formerly called X-CON) tightly integrates the imaging capabilities with the x-ray generating requirements.

Speedlink software streamlines and simplifies the exam, according to Strauss. Exam information obtained from the radiology information system by the CR identification console automatically sets the x-ray technique and all related exposure controls in the x-ray equipment, as well as the CR image processing.

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