New CR flagship takes position atop Kodak’s evolving portfolio

August 1, 2005

Eastman Kodak will unveil a top-of-the-line, multicassette computed radiography system at this week’s meeting of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators in San Antonio. Earlier this summer, the company unveiled a value-oriented single-cassette CR reader designed for budget-strapped hospitals, imaging centers, and physician practices.

Eastman Kodak will unveil a top-of-the-line, multicassette computed radiography system at this week's meeting of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators in San Antonio. Earlier this summer, the company unveiled a value-oriented single-cassette CR reader designed for budget-strapped hospitals, imaging centers, and physician practices.

"Now that the market has grown to sufficient size, from a manufacturer's perspective, it is cost-effective to have more customized solutions for different applications," said Todd Minnigh, director of marketing for the Americas, Kodak's Health Group.

The latest development, DirectView CR 975, boosts productivity by speeding image review and cassette reuse. In one hour, the system can handle more than 100 35 x 35-cm cassettes, or about 20% more cassettes than its predecessor, the CR 950. Like the 950, the CR 975 can handle 16 plates at a time.

Engineers introduced ergonomic features such as a lower cassette loading area to ease the burden on technologists, who may load hundreds of these cassettes daily. The CR 975 also supports the use of a local barcode reader, which identifies cassettes before they are run. The CR 950 depended on the Remote Operations Panel for patient demographics, a kind of wall-mounted, miniature workstation hooked into the IT network.

The ability to read barcodes, along with a built-in CPU and battery back-up, insulates the CR 975 from network and power outages, Minnigh said.

The new flagship is being launched worldwide, except China, Japan, Korea, and a few other countries where regulatory reviews are pending. Routine shipments are set to begin in mid-August.

The CR 950 will be phased out of the company's portfolio over the coming few months, leaving Kodak with a total of nine CR systems. Four of these are built on the recently acquired OREX platform, which is oriented toward radiological operations with lower volumes.

The company extended this value end of the portfolio in June with the introduction of the single-cassette CR 825. This system, which can process in an hour up to 60 plates sized 35 x 43 cm, is intended for orthopedic practices, imaging centers, and small hospitals.

"These places are going digital, as large institutions are, but they have more modest procedure volumes," Minnigh said. "This means they have more modest reimbursement and, consequently, a more modest capital budget."

CR 825 is priced competitively with single-plate readers with similar capacities, such as Fuji's Smart CR and Agfa's CR 25, he said.

The CR 975 and CR 825 boost productivity by working in concert with related technologies. The Remote Operations Panels allows CR functions to be performed in the examination room, streamlining workflow. Each CR scanner in the Kodak portfolio can feed its images into the company's Capture Link System, which allows technologists to use linked CR systems or Remote Operations Panels to process studies. This technology enhances workflow by allowing CR images to be identified and viewed along with DR images at the DR system operator console, according to the company.