There are many different types of X-ray systems available to purchase. To find the X-ray system that is right for you, you will need to take into consideration the type of environment you are operating in, which DR panel will suit your needs, and how you want to store and view the X-ray images.
The environment you will be using the X-ray system in is very important when considering which type of system to purchase. For example, if you are going to be using the X-ray system in a hospital setting, you will likely require a table. Whereas in a chiropractic setting you may only need a wall stand.
Another thing to consider when purchasing an X-ray system is the type of DR panel you want to use. There are different types of panels on the market that have different features. Some DR panels can be easily moved between a wall stand and a table, while others are designed for use on a table or wall stand only.
The last thing to consider when purchasing an X-ray system is how you want to store and view the images. We will explain the different options available so you can make the best decision for your practice.
In this article we will go into more detail about the questions you should ask and will give you the information you need to choose the X-ray system that is right for you.
How much space do you have to install the X-ray room?
Different types of X-ray rooms that have different spatial requirements. For example, in a chiropractic office if you're just installing a wall stand and you don't need a table, it's going to have different requirements than if you were in urgent care and require a table.
In a chiropractic office, you can also minimize the space the X-ray system takes up by using a 40 SID or what we call a fixed 40. If you are a chiropractor and you do only have a small amount of space, you can use a system that would be a fixed 40. However, there are some limitations with a fixed 40, such as the inability to take 72 SID shots. Overall, if you only have a limited amount of space, a fixed 40 is a great option.
Do you have enough incoming power to be able to take the X-rays?
Typically there is a requirement to have at least 100 amps dedicated into the space where the X-ray system is going to be. For some spaces that is not possible and you are either going to have to spend money to bring the electrical into the space, or in some cases you can get a generator that is battery operated, what is called a stored energy generator. Stored energy generators are great options that plug into a single 110 volt outlet.
What type of practice is this X-ray system for?
The type of facility you work in will determine the right fit for your needs. If you are a chiropractor you are going to be looking for a different system than if you are in urgent care, an imaging center or an orthopedic group. When it comes time to choose the right X-ray system for you, you will want to consider a few different things depending on what type of practice you are working in.
For example, traditionally in a chiropractic office, you would only have a wall stand and would not use a table. Whereas in urgent care, you will want to have a table as well as the wall stand. Additionally in urgent care, you might purchase a stronger generator to be able to penetrate through larger patients.
Let’s explore the different environments you might be operating in and which X-ray system could be best suited to meet your needs.
If you are in chiropractic, there are a few options for X-ray systems that could meet your needs. There is the traditional wall stand and table, and there is also a tilting wall stand.
The tilting wall stand is a great option for those that are doing a lot of X-rays of extremities and want to be able to use a DR panel that does not move in and out of the cassette tray. The wall stand goes horizontal and you can take extremity shots there.
As previously mentioned, if you only have limited space, a fixed 40 X-ray system is a great option that allows you to install the system in tighter, more compact spaces.
There are a variety of different options available for urgent care. Typically, you will see a four way float top table along with a wall stand. The generator size is often going to be 40 kW.
There are some instances that urgent care facilities choose a straight arm X-ray system (which tends to be more expensive) and a mobile table. This straight arm and mobile table combination is a good option for those that have limited space or want to be able to utilize the DR panel while it stays within the straight arm.
On the other hand, in a traditional X-ray room there will be a table and a wall stand. This is typically paired with a single wireless DR panel that moves from the wall stand to the table and vice versa as needed.
One of the advantages of a straight arm X-ray system is that you do not have to move it which means it's a bit faster. Additionally, as the straight arm never moves, it's going to protect the DR panel from drops and damage and give it a longer lifespan.
For veterinary clinics there are a lot of different options regarding which X-ray system to choose. A traditional veterinary X-ray system is simply a table with the X-ray tube and the generator above it, meaning you take the shots down. Many of these systems will use either a pedal to be able to expose the patient or they will end up holding the patient down and using the buttons that are above the table to take X-rays.
Another option for veterinary clinics is hand-held or portable systems. These can be a great option if you want to have the ability to go out into the field or if you are taking X-rays in a mobile environment. You can mount the portable system to a fixed table in a traditional environment to give you a range of different uses.
Most of these options come with a variety of different settings for the generator size, from 32 kW and upwards, depending on the types of demographics of your patients and how large they are.
How do I choose the right DR panel for my x-ray system?
The next thing is choosing the right DR panel that will meet your needs and this will depend largely on which kind of practice and environment you are working in.
There are tethered DR panels which are primarily used in chiropractic environments where you are not moving the DR panel from the wall stand to the table, instead it's just used in the wall stand.
Another option is a DR panel with a straight arm system and that's typically used within an urgent care or orthopedic clinic. The DR panel stays within the straight arm digital x-ray system and doesn't move from one place to another.
The last type of DR panel we will look at is a wireless DR panel. Typically we see wireless DR panels in environments that use both a wall stand and a table. This makes it easy to move the DR panel back and forth between them.
DR panels come in a variety of sizes, but for wireless the most popular is the 14x17 wireless DR panel. They all come with a charging station as well as multiple batteries so you can always make sure that your DR panel is ready to take exposures.
How are you going to view the X-ray images?
Now assuming you have chosen the digital X-ray system that is right for you, it's time to consider what you are going to use to store and view the X-ray images. Typically digital images are going to be stored using a central archive, called a PAC system.
A PAC system stands for Picture Archive and Communication system. A PAC is essentially a large database where you can store X-ray images that are searchable, and query-able from other nodes and other viewers.
There are PAC systems that are more suited for enterprise or hospital level, which have a lot of things that radiologists require. However, most of our customers use a mini PAC system, which is essentially a slimmed down version of the PAC system. The majority of customers use the mini PAC system simply for storing X-ray images and then being able to view them in a viewer.
The different viewers that are available include a client based or a PC based viewer, or a web-based viewer.
Client or PC based viewers use software which is installed onto whatever workstation that the customer would like to use. They can then query and retrieve images from that PAC system to be able to view the X-ray images.
The other option is a web-based viewer system which allows you to view the X-ray images on any device and store them either in the cloud or within your own internal network.
Both options are great, usually the PC or the client based viewer tends to have some more features and functionalities, where the web-based system is somewhat limited in features.
Definitely take a look at cloud-based systems, which allow you to store the images in the cloud. This is a great way to ensure you are HIPAA compliant and if your server fails or there was a disaster - your images are still safe and accessible from any device.
Choosing the right X-ray system can be a daunting task. There are many considerations to take into account, including the environment you are working in, what you will typically use the X-ray system for, and how you intend to view the images. By taking these factors into account and using the information we’ve provided, you can be sure to choose the X-ray system that is right for you.
If you want help choosing the best digital X-ray system for your needs or have any questions about which system could be right for you, get in touch with our team today.