When faced with the choice of seeing images in five seconds or 20 minutes, every physician opts for multi-second access. Instant access—along with exceptional image quality—is one of the key advantages of converting from CR to DR systems. When our radiology team first considered conversion for our 279-bed acute care hospital, we were going to approach retrofitting four X-ray rooms and four mobile imaging systems in stages. It was our CEO who suggested converting all eight systems at the same time and that’s what we ended up doing.
There are advantages to the “do it all at once” approach—especially when you are retrofitting existing systems. One of the key benefits is physician satisfaction. If you convert one or two portable imaging systems to DR, those systems are going to be in demand by physicians in the ER, ICU and surgical suites as well as physicians viewing portable inpatient and general radiology exams. This creates competition for a limited number of systems that is awkward for technologists and radiology managers. The second benefit is that every area of the hospital achieves excellent image quality at the same time—which enhances patient care and creates greater image consistency for radiologists.
The key caveat is that you are making a major commitment to a single vendor. Prior to purchasing Carestream’s DRX systems, we tried another vendor’s retrofit system but were not satisfied with its performance. Our radiology team unanimously voted for Carestream’s DRX systems because of their image quality and ease of use. The training curve was very rapid because we were already familiar with Carestream’s CR systems, which share the same user interface.
If you have recently converted to DR, did you opt for a staged or simultaneous conversion? Were you happy with your decision?