Examination of wireless flat-panel DR systems: Initial workflow results versus CR

Guest post: Dr. Thomas Lehnert, MD
Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University of Frankfurt, Germany

It’s well known that the immediate image capture provided by digital radiography (DR) delivers enhanced productivity when compared to film imaging and even computed radiography (CR). Less familiar are the precise workflow and time-saving benefits of portable, wireless DR detectors over their predecessors.

To determine whether wireless DR detectors have significant workflow benefits over CR, my team at the University of Frankfurt presented the results of a time-motion study comparing Carestream’s wireless, cassette-size DRX-1 detectors to our existing CR systems. This study, which I will present at next week’s 2011 European Congress of Radiology, found a statically-significant improvement in productivity when using the wireless DRX-1 detectors. Further, the image quality was higher when using the DRX-1 technology.  

Our study of 941 total examinations (CR, n=474; portable DR, n=467) showed an average time savings of 26.44 seconds per examination when using the wireless DR detectors. We saved nearly one minute for every two x-ray exams, or approximately one hour per day based on our patient volume. The single largest contributor to the time difference between CR and portable DR was post-acquisition processing (mean, 26.58 s; median, 25.91 s), a composite of multiple individual steps, including cassette transport, cassette readout, and post-processing.  

Although we expected some workflow and image quality improvement, we were surprised at the extent of the benefits. With this data, we decided to replace all of our traditional x-ray room CR technology with wireless DR detectors. We are still using CR technology in our Intensive Care unit and Emergency Care departments.

The question now is what guidelines hospitals can use to manage the purchase and placement of CR and DR technologies. What criteria should be used to govern placements of CR and DR systems?

– Dr. Thomas Lehnert, MD

Editor’s Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers are soley those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Carestream Health.

3 thoughts on “Examination of wireless flat-panel DR systems: Initial workflow results versus CR

  1. What factors were considered when not changing ICU & ED? I think that your study is helpful for those beyond the walls of hospitals–useful information for rapid paced ortho clinics. We have multiple physicians with limited clinic hours, numerous patients and only 1 rm of equipment. We are looking to change from film base (our main office, 1 off-site office is already CR). Your wrk flow study makes physical sense to me, would just like to know about the 2 departments that you did not change.

  2. Sue: Our team in Germany met with Dr. Lehnert last week and was able to get an answer to your question. He says:

    The only reason why we have not changed CR with DRX-1 in the ICU and the ED is that till now we do not have a mobile digital X-ray workplace based on DRX-1 in our department. Such a mobile X-ray system will be introduced in our department by the end of year 2011.

    Thanks for your question!

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