Overwhelmed with the Upgrade To Digital? Here’s a Checklist to Get Started: Digital Radiography (DR)

When I speak to my colleagues about upgrading to digital radiography from film, I am always surprised at the number of people who tell me that the change feels overwhelming to them.  At the time I decided to make the transition, I was excited about using the most up-to-date technology to not only make my job easier but to also improve patient care.  On the other hand, I can certainly understand that taking into account all of the operational changes that must be made can seem intimidating at first.

In the chart below, I have highlighted some of the factors you need to consider from an operational standpoint before incorporating intraoral sensors into your practice.

Step One: Determining What You Need

The first step in the process is determining the number of sensors you will need for your practice. Things to consider include:

Factor

Why It’s Important

What to Ask a Digital Radiography Supplier

Number of treatment rooms Unless you want to move sensors from one operatory to another, you may want to consider purchasing enough sensors to go in each room.
  • Do you offer wireless versions of this intraoral radiography system so it can be transported to different rooms easily?

 

Number of hygienists and doctors in your practice The purpose of upgrading to digital is to save your practice time—not increase it. If hygienists and dentists have to wait on a sensor to perform an exam, it could cause timely delays.
  • Are special rates available if I buy a number of sensors at one time?
Sensor sizes needed for exams Sensors can come in up to three sizes.  Take a look at your most common dental examinations and patient base to determine which sizes are necessary for your practice.
  • What sensor sizes do you offer, and what function do they serve?

Step Two: Upgrading Your Current Technology/Equipment

Equipment

What to Consider

What to Ask a Digital Radiography Supplier

Computer Do you already have networked computers in your treatment rooms? If no is there adequate space for computers? If you already have computers, is the system adequate for incorporating new technology–such as sensors–and imaging software or is an upgrade in order?
  • What are the hardware and software requirements for your intraoral radiography systems?
  • What operating platform is optimal for use with your sensors and/or imaging software?
X-ray heads If you are upgrading your intraoral equipment, now might be the perfect time to upgrade or add x-ray additional generators. Newer x-ray heads are safer, lighter, and can capture images faster via digital timers.
  • What are the benefits to adding new generators to my new digital sensors?

Step Three: Compare the Features

After you have decided how many sensors you need and whether you will need to add or upgrade to existing technology, it is time to compare the features of sensors from different competitors. Here are some things to consider:

Feature

Why It’s Important

What to Ask a Digital Radiography Supplier

Durability The human mouth is a harsh environment. Staff could easily drop sensors while performing examinations. For this reason, ensure that the sensor is both durable and immersible for adequate infection control.
  • Has testing been performed on this sensor to ensure it can stand up to a busy practice environment?
  • What kinds of warranty programs are available?
Resolution The higher the line pairs, the higher the spatial resolution—which can mean better images and improved diagnoses.
  • What is the highest resolution sensor your company offers?
Sanitation Infection control is important for every dental practice. When sensors are easy to clean, it makes life easier for staff and safer for patients.
  • Is this sensor easy to clean?
  • What is the process for disinfecting the sensor?

Step Four: Determine Software Compatibility

Before making a major purchase, it is important to ensure that the sensor you select is compatible with your practice management and imaging software. The truth is that most major software systems can be made to work with most major sensors; however, when asking a supplier about compatibility, you may be steered towards their products. For this reason, it is important to perform due diligence by reading reviews or participating in online forums to ensure that their sensors will do the job and can be integrated into your software easily.

Step Four: Ask about Training

Depending on the experience you and your staff have with intraoral digital sensors, training may be necessary. Ask your intraoral radiography supplier:

  • How is training implemented (in person, online, etc)?
  • How long is the training?
  • Is training included with the purchase of your intraoral digital radiography system?

As you can see, there is a lot to take into account when overhauling your practice. What’s on your checklist when upgrading to digital technology?

One thought on “Overwhelmed with the Upgrade To Digital? Here’s a Checklist to Get Started: Digital Radiography (DR)

  1. Pingback: The Digital Image Stream | Dental Practice Startup: Imaging Technology Considerations that Can Make or Break Your Practice

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