por Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | February 13, 2012
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
The only OEM that has continued to invest in technology for multi-plate CR units is Agfa, which two years ago introduced its DX-G platform, a multi-plate CR. More recently, the company received 510(k) clearance for its DX-M platform, a digitizer that supports both standard phosphor plates and needle-based detectors.
“Agfa’s CR volume has been up, but mainly on lower-priced units,” says Cefalo. “CR revenues have definitely dropped as result of that. But I think everyone wants DR; it’s just a question of whether or not the economics work.”
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While single-plate CR is perceived as a good investment
and stable market, the majority of providers still indicate a preference of DR to CR. Adding to the deck stacked against the CR market, providers making a new purchase can now do a wireless DR retrofit for about the same price.
Cost comparison: Banking on CR or DR
As less money is allocated to general X-ray, thanks to reimbursement cuts and the sour economy, customers now need to do more with less, keeping a close watch on spending.
“More and more customers are looking to extend the life of existing equipment with retrofit and versatile scalable solutions [removable detector rooms] instead of purchasing high-end turnkey rooms,” says Fabrizio.
Only ten years ago, the price gap between a digital and CR system was astronomical, with a conventional room priced to the tune of $50,000 and a DR room going for at least $300,000, according to Sbordone. Justifying the greater expense was a “terrible” obstacle to overcome when DR was first introduced, he adds. DR systems still remain initially more expensive than conventional CR systems, but the good news for those watching their wallets is that DR prices have come down substantially, averaging between $125,000 and $250,000 according to Sbordone. And gains in workflow speed, image quality and dose easily help justify the cost difference compared to CR.
“We help customers understand that if you just compare the cost associated with purchasing a piece of capital equipment on a cash-basis, of course the DR system would cost more,” says Sbordone. “But the real…comparison is not just capital equipment costs, but what it costs you to operate the device to provide the best clinical outcome.”