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

When switching from film to digital imaging technology, ensuring you are comfortable with the workflow is important. Many doctors begin their first foray into digital technology with computed radiography—also known as photo stimuable phosphor or phosphor plate (PSP)—because the workflow is familiar (think film with faster processing times and without the messy chemicals). Computed radiography can be used for both intraoral and extraoral applications, but digital pans that include or can be upgraded to CBCT seem to be taking over this category, so this post will focus on the intraoral application of PSP.

Step 1: Comparing the Features

Unlike with direct digital radiography sensors, you only need one networked PSP scanner and an appropriate number of imaging plates depending on your unique practice.  Therefore, you should begin the process by considering the features of several computed radiography systems and deciding if they fit the needs of your dental practice.

Factor

Why It’s Important

What to Ask a Computed Radiography Supplier

Infection Control Protecting your patients from the risk of infection is not only important for their safety—it is the law.
  • What infection control process is in place for this unit?
  • How does the system protect the patient from cross contamination?
  • Is the scanner easy to clean?
Phosphor Plates Phosphor plates should come in a number of different sizes to meet the diagnostic needs and size of your patients.They should also be durable, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money constantly replacing them in order to control costs.
  • What sizes are available for the phosphor plates?
  • What are the proper handling techniques that should be used to maximize the life of the imaging plates?
  • On average, how many times can a phosphor plate be used before it needs to be replaced with careful handling?
Image Resolution Spatial image resolution for computed radiography systems isn’t as high as the best direct digital sensors, but the contrast resolution and image quality is equivalent for most diagnostic tasks
  • What is the image resolution for this scanner? Is it affected by speed of scanning the plate?
Workflow Different computed radiography systems have different workflows. While some are automated, others require manual handling to place the images in a patient’s digital file.
  • What type of workflow does this system have?
  • How long to scan an 18 Image FMS?
  • How are patient images identified?

Step Two: Upgrading Your Existing Technology

Equipment

What to Consider

What to Ask a Computed Radiography Supplier

Computer Does the scanner require a dedicated computer or just a network connection? If it requires a computer, do you already have a computer that can be dedicated to your computed radiography scanner  and new imaging software?
  • What are the software requirements for your computed radiography systems?
  • What operating platform is ideal for use with your computed radiography scanner and/or imaging software?
X-ray heads If you are upgrading your technology, now might be the perfect time to upgrade or add x-ray heads. Newer x-ray heads not only capture images faster with digital timers, but are also safer due to high frequency direct current, creating less “soft” or non diagnostic radiation.
  • How do I integrate my computed radiography with new x-ray heads?

Step Three: Determining Software Compatibility

Before purchasing a computed radiography system, you should check your existing practice management and imaging software to ensure that it is compatible. While most computed radiography systems work with the major software brands, some sales reps will try to persuade you to buy their products based on integration. To ensure that they will work together, conduct your own research to determine if the computed radiography can be easily integrated into your software.

Step Four: Ask about Training

Because computed radiography has a workflow similar to film, you may think that you will not need as much training as practices transitioning to digital radiography (DR). However training is essential and you should ask your computed radiography supplier:

  • How is training implemented (in person, online, etc)?
  • How much training is required?
  • Is training included with the purchase of your computed radiography system?

Are you in the process of upgrading your practice to computed radiography? If so, what is on your checklist? Or have you already completed this process and have advice to offer your colleagues?

2 thoughts on “Overwhelmed with the Upgrade To Digital? Here’s a Checklist to Get Started: Computed Radiography (CR)

  1. This article is actually a nice one it helps new
    web users.

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

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