DR panels are a significant financial investment, so ensuring you get the right one is critical.
There’s so much to consider — size, image quality, software, budget — the list feels endless.
But we’ve created a starting point to help you prioritize what to consider when making this big purchase. Keep reading to get started on your DR panel journey.
1. Size & Portability
DR panels come in different sizes, with the three most popular being 14" ×17" cassette, 17" ×17" cassette, and 17" ×17" fixed.
Cassette-sized, conventional film, and CR cassettes are all the same dimensions, and they can easily fit into existing cassette trays.
Considering that most users trying to get a DR panel already have an x-ray system, those with traditional cassettes must choose the cassette size. However, for practitioners such as chiropractors and pulmonary specialists, the 17" ×17" fixed is a perfect option since all exams are taken on a bucky.
2. Image Quality
Recently, GadoX and Cesium Oxide (CSI) are the top choice for most radiology departments.
In the past, manufacturers offered both options, with the GadoX being less expensive but requiring more x-ray doses and having a lower image quality.
CSI technology offers much better image quality with less patient dose, but it’s more expensive. However, for some departments, the better image quality (compared to GadoX) outweighs the purchase price.
Thanks to manufacturers deploying mass production for CSI technology, the cost is beginning to come down, making it closer to GadoX’s price. Ultimately, every radiology department has its image quality requirements, so your choice will depend on your needs.
3. Software & Features
Software and features are crucial when considering which DR panel to buy. Although most software perform similar essential functions, there are notable variations in how they operate, how user-friendly they are, and how they communicate with other software.
It’s essential that before you get a new DR panel, you check whether its features are compatible with the system you already have. Most software is proprietary, making it impossible to download alternative software. So ensure what you’re buying is compatible with your current software, or be prepared to buy new software along with the new DR panel.
For large facilities, such as imaging centers, the priority will be having software that integrates with the current workflow network.
For smaller facilities, such as urgent care offices and chiropractors, it’s imperative to buy one with a Mini-PACS component to use the acquisition computer like a server. That way, you can pull up patient images throughout your office to report findings, carry out further analysis, and undertake admin tasks.
Finally, for the practitioner, it’s vital to consider your analysis tool of choice when making your selection.
4. Software Support & Manufacturer Warranty
It’s crucial to consider the kind of warranty offered and how long it takes, as not all warranties are created equal. A five-year warranty on the hardware is industry-standard, and it’s what we here at Maven Imaging advise clients to get when making a purchase.
Additionally, it would help if you had good remote support for the software. Your system will need updating, and you'll want to contact someone if you need assistance with your PC or training with specialized toolsets. Most DR Panel packages include remote support of 1-year, but you may want to opt for a five-year plan to avoid disruption of service and equipment issues.
Here, it would be best to consider paying the five-year plan from the start or factoring it into your financing plan to minimize cost rather than paying for it yearly.
5. Overall Price
Regardless of your DR panel, it’s probably the most expensive part of your digital x-ray system.
DR panels come at different prices, and it’s essential to note that the most expensive is not necessarily the best. Consider the above factors and features first, then use your budget as a tiebreaker.
Looking to Upgrade Your X-Ray Equipment? We Can Help.
DR panels are essential components of the digital x-ray system. To get the best out of what’s available, it’s necessary to consider all of the components in this guide.
At Maven Imaging, we understand that every medical practice has unique needs that require individualized solutions, and we provide a variety of software at the best prices.
We’re also happy to provide you with a software demo (usually via Zoom), so you can see how the software works in real-time and ask questions.
To get started on the equipment acquisition, you can contact us or get a quote for the equipment needed.