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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When To "Go Digital"

Many practices are wondering these days about when to go digital. There are many advantages to digital imaging:
  • No expenses for chemical, film, or monthly maintenance
  • Ability to manipulate and improve image quality, thereby reducing retakes
  • Improved processing speed, especially with DR
  • Ability to easily store and transit images digitally
  • And many more ...
So if a practice can afford digital, then by all means they should purchase a name brand digital system from a respected manufacturer. Be cautious of off-brands that may be as much as $10,000 less expensive, but may not be around in 2 years when support is needed.

But what about practices that are short on funds and are conservative with the funds they have? I have seen estimates from $2 to $5 per film for the cost of processing an x-ray film using a chemical x-ray film processor. Then ROI (return on investment) calculations can be made to justify the purchase or lease cost of the digital system. But for the practices that only process a few x-ray films per week or even per month, the numbers just don't add up in favor of digital imaging.

At this point, most hospitals, orthopedic clinics, and large general practices have already made the switch to digital. Large chiropractic, podiatric, and veterinary practices are moving into digital at a fast pace. But there are still plenty of smaller practices with sporadic x-ray use that simply can't justify the investment in digital imaging. For them, an x-ray film processor is still a wise investment.

FI Sales now offers 3 x-ray film processor models to meet the needs of any practice.
  • The Protec OPTIMAX is a 90 second, fully automatic processor with many features that lists for $3995.
  • The Protec ECOMAX is a 100 second, fully automatic processor with basic features that lists for $2995.
  • The FI EcoTank is a 160 second, semi-automatic processor for veterinary use only with minimal features that lists for $2495, but is being offered in May & June at a special introductory price of $1995.
Most practices these days are choosing the ECOMAX due to it being an excellent quality processor that can handle film volume from very low to a moderately high. However, the introduction of the EcoTank is leading very low film volume veterinarians to consider that model. The EcoTank not only economical to purchase, but economical to operate, reducing consumption of electricity, water, and chemicals.

Both the EcoTank and ECOMAX are available as "No Plumbing" models, allowing a practice some versatility as to what room to use as a darkroom. This can be very important for new practices being built that will eventually "go digital," but do not want to make that investment just starting out.

And for those practices that decide to continue using an x-ray film processor for whatever reason, "going digital" can be as simple as purchasing a film digitizer that will convert their x-ray films into a digital image. Feel free to contact FI Sales for further discussion on what image processing system is appropriate for your practice.