· DR to Go
· GOING GREEN!: Universal Power Supply Good for the Environment
· PRODUCT DEBUT: DR the Wireless Way

DR to Go

Up until now, computed radiography’s biggest advantage over direct radiography has been flexibility. Where DR could not maneuver into the positions needed to capture angled shots, such as cubital or cross-table views, CR had been the modality of choice. Canon’s new CXDI-60G Portable Flat Panel Detector evens the playing field, enabling true DR portability and versatility.

With the CXDI-60G DR system, images can be taken from any angle.

“One of the biggest complaints about other DR models in the market is the limited flexibility of working with a fixed detector and a large-sized detector, which in some cases have caused repetitive injuries,” said Anne Ji, supervisor of marketing for Canon Medical Systems Division, Canon USA Inc, Lake Success, NY.

Canon’s new compact system features a 9- x 11-inch imaging area, measures less than an inch thick, and weighs 5.9 pounds. Patients can comfortably hold the sensor unit when necessary to complete image capture, and smooth, rounded edges let it slide easily beneath them.

“This DR system accommodates diverse applications, and images can be taken from almost any position or angle, including examinations of the extremities, skull, cervical spine, shoulder, and hip,” Ji said. Its size is ideal for orthopedic departments, emergency departments, and mobile imaging units.

Image quality is high, with detail visualization enhanced in multiple density areas. The CXDI-60G detector incorporates LANMIT (Large Area New-MIS Sensor and TFT) technology to achieve high-quality diagnostic images and expansive dynamic range. The control software, featuring MLT(S) image processing, provides advanced postprocessing capabilities that optimize contrast, brightness, and sharpness. The company describes extremity images that show subtle details of trabecular bone structure and soft tissue.

Innovative touch screen controls and imaging presets enable repeatability and postacquisition adjustments. “This enables technologists to capture consistently high-quality images based on their facilities’ particular imaging preferences,” Ji said.

Preview images are available after exposure and can be immediately transmitted over the hospital network to other workstations, printers, and archives. Using PACS, images can be sent to any viewing station, on-site or off-site.

The viewing physician can measure, zoom, manipulate, print, and activate many other features with the click of a mouse. “All of these features allow for easy teleradiology with minimal steps required. Radiologists are no longer tethered to a single location,” Ji said.

System use and installation is also easy. Canon DR can be retrofitted to most any brand of x-ray equipment, upgrading tables, wall stands, universal radiography systems, and mobile machines without major room reconstruction. The Canon CXDI-60G Portable Flat Panel Detector comes with the added benefits of a detachable sensor cable, which provides power to the unit and transfers data, enabling easy-to-room installation from multiple locations, such as the patient’s bedside or wheelchair, trauma, or ICU.

The new DR system continues to provide the usual advantages of digital imaging, including a fast and efficient workflow. Canon’s program imaging mode ensures protocol compliance while streamlining workflow. Typical steps in exam procedures are automated, such as the assignment of accession numbers in multiaccession exams or configuration of the exam using the procedure code ID listed in the RIS. Patients receive minimal exposure to radiation. Productivity can increase, errors can decrease, and patient care may improve as a result.

Professionals were able to demo the new CXDI-60G DR system at the annual meeting of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators, held this past July in Denver. Demonstrations showcased how the ninth-generation system significantly expands the capabilities of the modality beyond its previous limitations to the ends of the body.

—Renee Diiulio

Going Green!

Universal Power Supply Good for the Environment

Del Global Technologies Corp, Franklin Park, Ill, has launched the first of what the company expects to be a line of many environmentally friendly products it offers to the medical community. According to the company, the Del Load Center, or DLC, represents a new generation of green products.

The DLC is a unified power supply that connects all of the equipment in a radiographic diagnostic x-ray suite to a single power source that is activated with a key switch on a wall-mounted control panel. Del Global suggests placing the panel near the entrance door, where one push of a button can power up the entire suite. Safety features include an emergency override shut-off switch.

Users can tell whether the equipment in the room is on or off through a power-on light on the panel, and they can easily power the room up or down. The process of powering up is simplified through the one-button approach, saving time and increasing efficiency. Powering down the room is also easier and can be managed when in a room not expected to be in use for extended periods of time.

This control and capability contribute to the energy efficiency of an imaging facility as a whole. “The DLC Load Center will reduce energy costs and create other efficiencies that are part of a trend to cut down on overall footprint and usage,” said Joseph Flies, vice president of operations for the Del Medical Systems Group, as quoted in a press release.

The DLC will be followed by a green generation of products the company will manufacture and distribute for use in the general imaging, digital, chiropractic, and veterinarian radiography markets.

Del Global notes its green program follows high-profile initiatives, such as the Environmental Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Policy Statement for Health Care. Issued by the Global Health and Safety Initiative (GHSI), the EPP is part of a sector-wide collaboration created to transform the design, construction, and operation of health care facilities as well as the products used in those facilities.

The goals of the EPP and many other environmental initiatives are often both self-serving and altruistic, for instance to improve the quality of the earth’s environment and the work environment. Environmental initiatives may also aim to reduce costs through lower overhead, decreased waste disposal, and fewer liability or occupational health costs. Positive publicity is another plus.

The EPP guidelines were developed to aid the federal government with purchasing decisions, helping buyers to select smart options and stimulate market demand. The EPA’s Instructions for Implementing Executive Order 13423 defines environmentally preferable as “products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.” Environmental impact is therefore a purchase factor that deserves consideration along with product and service needs, regulatory requirements, performance and features, costs, benefits, and other conventional competitive markers.

Even though the EPP guidelines are designed for those making purchases on behalf of the federal government, the material can also be used by businesses, vendors, and consumers to manage their own purchasing decisions. Program information is available on how to find and evaluate green products and services as well as calculate the costs and benefits of purchasing choices.

The commitment to going green continues to grow and penetrate most industries, with the medical community no exception. With this new product, Del Global solidifies its commitment to the ongoing research and design necessary to lead to other green products.

—Renee Diiulio

Product Debut

DR the Wireless Way

Trends show that, over time, there will be a reduction in technologists, radiologists, nurses, and health care professionals, in general, while the population ages and requires more hospital visits, as it gets older. In essence, a smaller number of people will be taking care of a larger number of patients.

Carestream just unveiled the industry’s first wireless DR detector to be used with existing wall stand or table-based Buckys.

Todd Minnigh, worldwide director of marketing, DR, for Carestream Health, said figures show that in as little as 15 years, there will be twice as much work with proportionately 30% fewer workers in health care.

“There’s a burning need for productivity around the world,” Minnigh said. “Not just in the US, not just in Europe, but really in almost every country of the world, there are more patients and not enough physicians.”

Addressing the need for productivity, the Rochester, NY-based company recently unveiled the industry’s first wireless DR detector that is the size of a standard cassette and can be used with existing wall stand or table-based Buckys. The works-in-progress CARESTREAM DRX-1 System will be exhibited during this year’s meeting of the Radiological Society of North America and will be made available during the first quarter of 2009.

Minnigh explained that there have traditionally been a number of barriers for the slow adoption of DR, the main one being cost. A DR room can cost anywhere between $245,000 and $655,000, and it doesn’t handle the entire suite of procedures, he said. “This is a really significant investment and proposes a considerable obstacle in the event that you’re not already changing the room,” he added.

Carestream’s new technology marks a significant change, Minnigh said, because the company has eliminated all of the hurdles that had prevented people from moving into DR in the past, “things such as room renovations, cost of retrofitting, or simply the cost of completely replacing a room.” Providing a rapid, affordable conversion for those with radiographic film or computed radiography systems, the CARESTREAM DRX-1 System consists of a console and a wireless 14-by-17 inch cassette-size digital radiography detector.

The system boasts a number of benefits. One, it does not require any modifications to existing analog equipment, which makes for lower installation costs. It is also fast, with the ability to deliver high-quality preview images in less than 5 seconds. Lastly, it is designed to exhibit flexibility of use; it can be used anywhere it is needed, such as the wall stand Bucky, table Bucky, or for tabletop shots and other difficult views. “One detector for the room can do a great deal of work with very limited movement of the cassette,” Minnigh said. “Because it’s DR, it stays in the Bucky. You don’t have to take it out and transport it back to a reader like you would with a CR cassette or back to the darkroom like you might with a film cassette.”

Suitable for general radiology, trauma, orthopedics, and virtually all other x-ray exams, the 8.5-pound detector is up to 30% lighter and up to 50% smaller than other portable detectors. Minnigh estimates that customers can purchase the system for around $125,000 in order to achieve the speed and breadth of capability of a DR system in a cassette form.

The detector includes a console, which can assist with image capture, preparing preview images, image processing, and full-resolution display. Images can be transmitted as DICOM files to a PACS or storage device.

—Elaine Sanchez