There are many considerations when it comes to purchasing a digital x-ray system for your practice such as what kind of table you will need, whether to purchase a new or used system, and what type of DR panel is best suited to your needs. There are also financial options to consider, such as whether or not to finance or lease the machine. Let’s explore some of these options in more detail.
Questions to ask when purchasing a digital x-ray system
Purchasing a digital x-ray system can feel overwhelming at times with so many different options and configurations available. It can be hard to sift through the choices to find which system is best for your facility. It is essential to ask the right questions in order to find the digital x-ray system that best meets your needs.
What kind of facility will the x-ray system be in?
When it comes to x-ray systems, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The type of facility that the x-ray system will be used in is one of the first things that needs to be considered. For example, a high volume imaging center is going to need a different x-ray system than a small hospital. If it is a chiropractic facility, you're going to need a wall stand and you're probably not going to need an x-ray table.
What’s my patient volume?
When you're looking at different digital x-ray systems, one of the things you want to keep in mind is patient volume. How many patients are you going to be seeing on a daily basis? And how many x-rays are you looking to take? That's going to contribute to determining what type of digital x-ray system is going to best suit your needs.
What space do I have available?
Another key consideration is the space requirements for the x-ray machine. You need to know the length, width and height of the room, as well as understand where the walls, windows and doors are situated. This will help you determine what type of system will fit within the allocated space.
Do I need a table?
If you choose to use a table for your workflow or clinic you’ll need to determine which table option is best for you. A stationary table can have a reflow table top, which allows the table top to flow from left to right. There’s also an elevating table which allows the table to drop down to where someone in a wheelchair could easily access it. Choose the table that best fits your space and your patients. And when in doubt, ask the expert Maven team what other clinics are using.
Do I need a mobile or stationary x-ray system?
One of the key decisions when considering a new x-ray system is whether to choose a mobile or stationary system. Stationary x-ray systems are usually found in traditional x-ray rooms, which are designated solely for taking x-rays. One advantage of stationary x-ray systems is that they are typically more powerful than mobile units, making them ideal for larger patients or procedures that require higher doses of radiation.
Mobile x-ray systems are great for clinics that may have multiple rooms or special requirements that make it very difficult to install a stationary system. For example, a clinic that has multiple rooms where they want to bring the x-ray into each room to x-ray the patient would be a great candidate for a mobile x-ray system. By having a mobile x-ray system, it enables them to be much more agile and efficient in their workflow and get patients through quicker.
Table options for your digital x-ray system
If you're looking to purchase a digital x-ray system for your practice, then you'll need to select the appropriate table for it. The four most common types of tables used in digital x-ray systems are: mobile x-ray table, stationary x-ray table, four-way float top table, and four-way elevating table.
1. Mobile x-ray table
Mobile x-ray tables are designed to offer more flexibility and portability than other types of x-ray equipment. With wheels that make maneuverability easier, these tables can be moved from room-to-room with ease, making them a great option for facilities with limited space or multipurpose rooms.
2. Stationary x-ray table
Stationary x-ray tables are fixed in place and cannot be moved around the facility. Stationary x-ray tables are used in urgent care centers, hospitals, imaging centers, and other high-traffic facilities.
3. Four-way float top table
Four-way float top tables are a really flexible option that can be used in many different types of facilities. This type of x-ray table is more common at urgent care, imaging centers or general practice.
4. Four-way float top elevating table
The four-way float top elevating tables are a popular choice for hospitals and urgent care centers with lots of volume. This is because they allow you to raise your patient up off the ground so that they don't need to move around during the procedure.
Things to consider when buying a used digital x-ray system
Used digital x-ray systems can be a great way to save money on the purchase of an expensive machine, but you want to be sure that you don’t have to upgrade or buy a new system just a few years down the track.
If your practice is expanding and you are anticipating a higher patient volume, you might be better to go with a new system. If you are considering adding more services or moving spaces then a used digital x-ray system might be a more appropriate choice.
Considerations when purchasing a used x-ray system
1. Is it operational?
It’s important to make sure that used digital x-ray systems are operational before you purchase them. Make sure you buy from a trusted supplier. Secondly, ask for a certificate from an electrician or qualified assessor before purchasing. We also recommend reading up on the terms and conditions of the vendor so you know what rights you have in case the x-ray system malfunctions.
2. Has it been routinely serviced?
When buying used x-ray systems it’s important that they have been routinely serviced by a professional. We recommend that systems are serviced at least once or twice a year to keep them operating smoothly. When considering purchasing a used digital x-ray machine, it is important you ask your vendor of choice for the service book of the machine.
3. How has it been used?
It is important to take into account how and where the digital x-ray system has been used before you purchase it. Was the machine in a small chiropractic clinic or in a busy hospital environment? Was there a low or high patient volume? This is important because this will likely affect its lifespan and cost when it comes time for repair or replacement.
4. How many hours has the equipment been used?
It's important to know how many hours used and refurbished x-ray equipment has been used for. Service records from x-ray technicians can provide this information, as well as details on what was done and when repairs were made. Having this information will help you make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase the x-ray equipment.
5. What are the costs associated?
There are a number of costs associated with used digital x-ray systems. These costs can include the cost of the system itself, the cost of de-installation, and the cost of maintenance.
6. Have any upgrades been made to the equipment?
When you purchase used x-ray equipment, upgrades may be available to help extend its lifespan. However, these upgrades can be expensive, so it's important to confirm with an authorized dealer whether or not any replacement parts have been installed.
Advantages of buying new digital x-ray systems
A new digital x-ray machine can offer many advantages over an older model. The images are often sharper and more detailed, making it easier to diagnose problems. In addition, the newest machines use less radiation, which is safer for both patients and staff.
Another benefit of investing in a new machine is that it will be covered by a warranty or service contract, which can provide peace of mind in case something goes wrong.
What type of DR panel do I need?
DR panels are the piece of equipment that makes the x-ray system digital. They capture the image and then send that image to the computer. Chiropractic clinics typically will go with a 17x17 tethered DR panel. In urgent care you're more likely to see a 17x17 wireless panel that will fit in both the wall stand as well as the table, and can be moved back and forth. DR panels come in different sizes, but the 17x17 is most common.
Should I choose new or used x-ray equipment?
At Maven, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to find an x-ray solution that suits your needs and your budget. We offer a range of used equipment that might be of interest to you.
Newer models often come with longer warranties - meaning that you'll be covered in the event that something goes wrong. With used equipment, you might save money upfront, but over time, you could end up spending just as much, or even more, on repairs and maintenance. New equipment is also likely to be more reliable and efficient, meaning that you'll save time and money in the long run.
The biggest mistake people make when buying an x-ray system
When you're opening a new medical practice, it's important to consider what your future needs might be. For example, if you're a chiropractor, you may start by only doing x-rays of the spine. However, as your practice grows, you may find that you need to do more x-rays of extremities. This would require a different x-ray system. Similarly, if your patient volume increases, you may need a new or bigger x-ray system to keep up with demand. It's important to think about these future needs when you're first setting up your practice, so that you can choose the right equipment from the start.
The do's and don'ts of buying or upgrading to a digital X-ray system
When it comes to buying or upgrading your digital x-ray system, it is important to do your research and make sure you are getting the right system for you and your needs.
What to keep in mind when buying a digital x-ray machine
1. Get a demonstration of the software
2. Make sure the software is right for your needs
3. Choose a vendor with a DR drop protection plan
4. Choose a vendor that has a DR loaner program
5. Make sure the digital X-ray system has a five year warranty
6. Make sure you have the correct spatial requirements
7. Make sure you have the correct electrical requirements
8. Choose a reputable vendor with experience in digital
Pitfalls to avoid when you're ready to buy or upgrade a digital X-ray system
1. Don't opt for a used machine
2. Don't opt for outdated tech
3. Watch out for systems with monthly fees
4. Don't buy a CR system
Good buying decisions:
- Buy equipment you can trust
- Protect the safety of your customers and employees
- Save time and money in the long run
- Bad buying decisions:
- Buying a digital x-ray machine without knowing about previous use, warranty, and terms and conditions
- Buying outdated technology
- Buying a system with high maintenance costs
- Buying a CR system
Financing or Leasing a Digital X-Ray System
You'll need to decide whether you want to finance the equipment outright, or lease it. Let us break down what financing options are available:
Outright financing your new x-ray machine
This type of financing option allows you to purchase the equipment outright, and then make monthly payments on it. The benefit of financing the equipment outright is that you'll eventually own it, and won't have to worry about making lease payments indefinitely. The downside is that it can be more expensive in the long run, since you'll be paying interest on the loan.
Leasing your digital x-ray system
Leasing is another financing option available to those looking to purchase new medical or allied health equipment. The benefit of leasing is that it's often more affordable in the short term since you're only paying for the use of the equipment, not the entire purchase price. The downside is that you'll never own the equipment, and will have to continue making lease payments until the end of the lease term.
At Maven, we have an in-house financing program that allows you to finance everything from your x-ray system to your DR panel, as well as any software that's related to the system; your acquisition software, viewing software, or even a PAC system. We can also include services like installation, lead shielding reporting, and even your electrical and building in-room build-out costs altogether in your financing.
What type of lenders can I have access to?
- Banks are a familiar and trusted option
- Independent leasing companies have access to capital, so they can offer competitive rates
- Brokers work with multiple lenders, so they can find the best loan or lease for you
Tips for finding the best DR panel for your x-ray system
What is a DR panel?
Digital Radiography panels (DR panels) are a type of flat panel used in digital radiography. DR panels convert x-rays into digital signals, which are then transmitted digitally for viewing on a computer monitor or screen. DR panels have many benefits over traditional film-based imaging methods, including the ability to see images almost instantly.
DR panels come in two main types: Charge Coupled Device (CCD) and Flat-panel Detectors (FPD). CCD DR panels are less expensive, but they're also less sensitive, so they may produce images with less clarity. Flat-panel Detectors (FPD) panels are more expensive, but they're also more sensitive, so they'll produce clearer images.
Factors to consider when choosing a DR panel for your digital x-ray system
- Image quality
- Budget and cost
- DR panel technology
DR panels are an essential part of any radiology department. They come in two main types: Cesium (CSI) and Gadolinium (GADOX). CSI is the newer and better option, providing better image quality and less patient dose. Cesium offers the better technology at the same price point, so you want to ensure you do not get the older GADOX or Gadolinium technology, as having the newest technology is ideal.
Mistakes people make when purchasing a DR panel
One mistake that we often see customers make is purchasing an x-ray system from a company that is not technology-driven. It's important to work with a company that is always on the forefront of the latest technology. This way, you can be confident that you're getting a high-quality product that will meet your needs now and in the future.
For more detailed information about purchasing your digital x-ray system, please visit our Learning Hub.
There are so many factors to consider, and it's hard to know where to start. That's why we're here to help. We'll work with you to figure out which machine is right for your practice.