The U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act: Moving from CR to DR
Reading Time: 4 minutes read
Rental, retrofit and trade-in are financial options for moving to digital radiography.
The benefits of moving from CR to DR are widely recognized by the medical imaging community. Radiology Today summarizes them as, “the technology is more efficient, quicker, and, most importantly, requires less dose to the patient.”
They also include a more productive radiology workflow than computed radiography (CR). In fact, WellStar North Fulton Hospital told 24×7 magazine that DR reduces their processing time by 90 to 95%. With fast and efficient DR technology, they can see more patients and gain higher utilization of their assets.
The advantages of DR – along with upcoming reimbursement cuts for film and CR exams as a result of the U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act (also known as HR 2029) – make a strong case for facilities to transition to digital x-ray. Yet at least 8,000 CR systems are still in use today, according to IMV Medical Information Division’s “2015 X-ray Market Report”. Why the delay?
Some medical xray facilities are reluctant to make the transition because their CR systems are working reliably. For others, the biggest hurdle is finding a cost-effective path to upgrade their existing technology. Facilities also need to weigh whether they should make the move from CR to DR one room at a time or in one swoop.
Carestream Health recommends that radiology managers consider the age of each existing X-ray system, its current operating condition, and whether it provides all the necessary imaging capabilities. In some cases, the X-ray imaging system might need to be updated to deliver advanced features or enhanced productivity. In other cases, installing a DR detector can deliver a rapid conversion to DR technology that makes high-quality images available in seconds.
Carestream offers three smart options to help customers in the United States move from CR to DR without a large upfront capital investment: rental, retrofit and trade-in.
RENTAL: Customers can rent a DRX-Mobile Retrofit kit or DRX-Revolution mobile xray system until they can secure the capital funding for an outright purchase. This choice is especially attractive for facilities that are in between budget cycles or perhaps need to replace a broken CR system. Renting is a smart bridge between a time of immediate need to a planned purchase, and it protects a facility from the Medicare reimbursement reductions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act.
RETROFIT: Customers can leverage existing investments and shift from CR to DR technology with lower upfront cost by retrofitting their CR systems. This simple and quick conversion involves simply replacing the CR cassette with a DR detector and continuing to use the existing analog x-ray system from all major suppliers. For systems that need to be tethered, Carestream offers more than 169 different cables that can interface with any system to get an imaging site up and running within a day, minimizing downtime. This timeframe holds true for x-ray rooms, as well as mobile units.
TRADE IN: Whether you need to replace your existing CR room or mobile, or just want to retrofit your existing equipment, Carestream offers a trade-in program. Customers can exchange any working CR system from any manufacturer and receive a very attractive price on a DRX room or mobile.
Depending on your goals, your conversion plan might be staggered and varied, which makes modular DR components important. You might decide to retrofit one room while completely replacing another; or you might replace your portables and convert all your rooms. Look for digital solutions that allow detector sharing so digital imaging can be deployed throughout your facility wherever it is needed most, and at the pace that works best for you.
All three options are designed to help make moving from CR to DR affordable and with minimal interruptions in workflow. When completed, the efficiencies gained by the new DR technology – and the avoidance of a 7 to 10 percent reduction in Medicaid payments for x-ray studies – will help the DR system pay for itself. More importantly, by having current technology, facilities can improve the quality of their patient care. With flexible rental, upgrade and retrofit options from Carestream, imaging facilities now have further incentive to make the jump to DR sooner. Want to learn how Edwards Hospital made their transition to DR? Read the case study.
To learn more about rental, retrofit and trade in offerings in your geographic location, contact your local Carestream Health sales professional.
Jane Duffy-White is a Marketing Manager at Carestream for the United States and Canada.