While technological advances in medical image processing has superseded most older technology, there is still a great deal of older equipment that is quite serviceable. In addition, due to budgetary considerations in the profit-driven US health care system, discarding such equipment may not be practical.
The ideal solution in such cases is to retrofit your old equipment with newer computed radiography (CR) technology. Such CR solutions make it possible to integrate older equipment that is in danger of becoming obsoleste and give it a new lease on life?
About Computed Radiography
CR is a "bridge" between conventional radiography and the digital variety. It uses the same same equipment, but replaces traditional film with what is called an imaging plate. This plate contains a material known as photostimulatable phosphor, a special chemical that responds to x-rays. Placed in a special cassette, this plate is positioned over or under the region of the patient's body to be examined as the x-ray image is being taken. This plate is then run through a CR scanner, which is a specific kind of laser scanner designed to create a digital image.
Using portable x-ray machines, this makes it possible to use existing equipment to create medical images that can then be saved in DICOM format.
Manipulating and Editing the Digital Image
DICOM is an image file format similar to the better-known.jpg and.png formats commony used for Web images. As such, a DICOM image can be enhanced and enlarged like a Photoshop or GIMP image. What makes the DICOM format so useful to the medical profession is that a DICOM image file also includes vital patient information, preventing that information from ever becoming separated from the image.
How is a CR image Different From Digital Radiography?
While both CR and Digital Radiography (DR) can use stationary or portable x-ray machines, and both produce digital images that can be edited with computer software. The main difference lies in the nature of the media; whereas the former uses an imaging plate housed inside the cassette, DR is able to capture an image directly on to a flat panel detector, eliminating the need for a special cassette.
For the small clinic with budgetary constraints, such CR Solutions can allow the facility to benefit from the latest digital imaging technology, making it easier to achieve more accurate diagnoses than ever before.