DR, CR deployment increasing

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The recent introduction of portable flat-panel digital detector direct radiography (DR) x-ray systems could possibly replace some computed radiography (CR) systems, according to a report by market research firm Frost & Sullivan of San Jose, Calif. Although portable DR systems offer enhanced levels of flexibility, their image quality needs to be examined and compared to that of the low-cost storage phosphor system, the company said.

But don’t count CR out of the picture just yet.

According to Frost & Sullivan research analyst, Pramodh Ishwarakrishnan, some of the notable developments in the CR field include dual-side CR readout, line-stimulation CR readout, and line-scan CR systems.

DR technology is showing promise in fluoroscopy applications, the company said. Studies employing these systems have shown that there is an improvement in the quality of the image obtained and reduction in the patient exposure level. The firm said that improvement in both detective quantum efficiency and signal-to-noise ratio of detectors by manufacturers will help further reduction of the exposure level and offer improvements in the quality of the image.

Frost & Sullivan noted that DR manufacturers have gone a step further in designing a new architecture of the read-out arrays that could be optimized by reducing the size of the circuit and pixels.

Both CR and DR deliver higher throughput than conventional film-screen x-ray, allowing hospitals to increase revenues through additional patient examinations. The high resolution of images obtained from these systems and the low radiation exposure risk for patients are also driving the future growth of these diagnostic digital imaging technologies, the firm reported.

Although productivity gains and the long-term value of both CR and DR are well defined, the benefits take a nose dive if medical facilities lack the basic infrastructure and electronic management systems, Ishwarakrishnan said.

He noted that this is particularly evident in underdeveloped countries, warranting manufacturers of CR and DR equipment to encourage the installation of PACS or some other form of electronic management system to promote electronic exchange of data.