Many questions have arisen lately from the reimbursement changes that affected analog radiography (film), computed radiography (CR), and digital radiography (DR). We are here to try to help you make some sense out of what is happening and hopefully save you some money as well as decrease your carbon footprint.
A Policy Review
First, let’s take a look at what exactly is happening. In a nutshell, the government is incentivizing the transition from traditional radiography to digital radiography by lowering their reimbursements when film or computed radiography is used instead of digital radiography. The reimbursement for film will decrease by 20% every year (non-compounding) and the reimbursement for CR will decrease by 7% each year (non-compounding as well) until 2023 when the reduction will jump to 10%.
Patient Advantages and Cost Advantages
Next, looking from a patient-centric view, the advantages for the patient are that DR utilizes a lower radiation dosage than CR, and the fact of the matter is that regardless of what kind of imaging you need, the less radiation exposure, the better.
This all sounds like a no-brainer, but like most investments, the downside is the upfront cost. DR software is generally more expensive than a CR machine. Taken into account is also the cost of maintaining CR cassettes to consider. Because the processor disassembles and reassembles CR cassettes with each use, this results in inevitable–and not insignificant–wear and tear. Remember, the DR panel requires no manual processing.
All in all, changing from CR to DR is a decision every radiology department must consider, eventually, if they haven’t already. At a certain level, the question isn’t as much if, but when, and understanding the differences between CR and DR and even amongst differing DR systems is vital. To learn about the Novarad DR system, ChameleonDR, click here.