Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Portable X-Ray machine is right for my practice?

This is a question often asked by Veterinarians when looking to make a new purchase and it’s a fairly easy question to answer. You just need to ask a few simple questions…
1.       What type of practice do I have?
2.       What is the quality of the Portable X-Ray unit?
3.       What type of warranty does it have?
4.       What is the service after the sale?
5.       What type of company am I buying from?
6.       What is the cost?

1.       What type of practice do I have?
This is an easy question for you to answer, but it is the first question that needs to be asked.  The type of practice you have will determine the size of the Portable X-Ray unit you need. If you are a small animal practice or a mixed-animal practice, you should have a 100kV or 120kV unit. If you are a large animal/equine practice, an 80kV or even better a 90kV unit is ideal. It may sound backwards, but large animal practices need a portable that is lightweight to be taken in the field. Also, most x-rays on large animals are taken on the limbs at 70kV stifles at 80 or 90kv and so don’t require the higher kVp unit. For small animal practices, you need a high kV for examining the largest of dogs, and you don’t generally have to worry about the weight of the unit because you are in-office. However, mixed animal practices need the best of both worlds (high kV and light weight). That’s why the Diagnostic Imaging Systems’ ULTRA high frequency 120kV/40mA unit only weights 25lbs.

2.       What is the quality of the Portable X-Ray unit?
Buying a new piece of equipment is an investment and you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on something that may only last a couple of years. So, ask around. Find out who else has bought the type of portable you are interested in and ask them how it has stood up to the wear and tear of being used every day in a Veterinary practice.  If you don’t know anyone, ask the company that is trying to sell it to you for references.

3.       What type of warranty does it have?
No matter what type of equipment it is, no matter how much it cost, sometimes things break and you need to know what the warranty covers and for how long. Most portables on the market come with a 2-year warranty. There are a few that come with a 3-year and one company that used to boast a 5-year warranty (although, at the time this article was being written, I can no longer find any information on a 5-year warranty from that particular company).  Diagnostic Imaging Systems’ line of ULTRA Hf portables all come standard with a 3-year Hot Swap Warranty- if your machine needs to be fixed we drop-ship a loaner or new unit to you so you are never down-and are upgradeable to a 5-year Hot Swap Warranty at a minimal cost.

4.       What is the service after the sale?
It’s easy to sell someone a product, but it’s what is done after the money has been received that really tells a lot about a company.  You want to know that even after money has exchanged hands you won’t be forgotten and if you need someone, they will be there. That’s why DIS offers Free lifetime toll-free support.  No matter what the problem is, even if your warranty has run out, just give DIS a call and the in-house service department will be happy to help for the entire life of the product (10-15 years).

5.       What type of company am I buying from? ( After the sale accountability)
It’s important to know what type of company is trying to earn your business. How long have they been in business? Do they have a service department? There are a lot of companies out there that are just distributors. They have been in business for a couple of years, selling a lot of products from a lot of different companies, and they have no expertise in what they are selling. All they are doing is middle-manning the buying process. DIS prides itself in its expertise in Radiology including digital x-ray equipment. The company was founded in 1983 by President Joe Hecker. DIS is the exclusive North American Distributer of the ULTRA Hf line of Ultra-light Ultra-powerful portables and Versa-View line of radiology accessory equipment and Mr. Hecker owns the patent on the dual-laser pointers that are on the portable x-ray units so many people are now using.

6.       What is the cost? (under $10,000)
You’ve been waiting for it and here it is. You’ve learned what type of portable x-ray unit you want/need and about the company you are looking to buy it from. Now, the big question…how much does it cost?  Well  when it comes down to it, you can find the best company in the world, with the absolute best portable ever made, with a lifetime warranty, but if it costs you an arms and a leg, who cares if you can’t afford to buy it!  Now, like I talked about earlier you need a quality machine at an affordable price. Don’t think I mean for you to throw all of that out and buy the cheapest unit out there, you do get what you pay for, but over paying is not necessary because there are companies out there selling their products at reasonable price and you don’t need to over pay for the Name.  DIS portables aren’t the least expensive, but they certainly are one of the best values out there.  They are very reasonably priced and considering the warranty and service after the sale, you can’t beat it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Veterinary CR: Is the need/want going away?

Last weekend we went to The CVC San Diego conference and showcased just some of our Veterinary Radiology equipment, including PortableX-Ray units, Ultrasounds, DR Flat Panels and CR Scanners.  By the way, thank you to The CVC and all of the attendees for a great conference.

While I was there, something struck me about what Veterinarians were looking for. There was a large amount of Veterinarians who came by our booth that still use film in their practice and wanted information on digital, but they didn’t even want to talk about CR.

For those that don’t know the difference in CR and DR:
CR,  Computed Radiography, is a digital x-ray system that uses CR plates in a cassette that are run through a scanner, scanned to a computer and erased for the next x-ray.
DR, Digital Radiography, uses panels that once the x-ray is taken, the image automatically appears on the computer screen.

In the past DR has been extremely expensive, making it difficult for Veterinary practices-especially small ones-to purchase, leaving CR as the only choice in order to join the digital realm. However, like all technology, as time goes on prices come down. Now, DR Flat Panels are much more affordable. DR Flat Panels still run $10,000-$20,000 more than their CR counterparts, but what you get is a crystal clear image instantly, without having to bother with scanning any plates. It should also be noted that CR plates don’t last forever.  After about 5 years of use, a Veterinary practice will have to start replacing CR plates, which run anywhere from $500 to $1,500 a piece.

Though the price gap between DR and CR is closing, for many small practices the extra money still isn’t in the budget. That’s why DIS will continue to offer a solid line of CR products at a reasonable price. But like the film processor, it will soon become a thing of the past. Just how soon? Maybe sooner than we think.

There is a time when CR could make an even greater economical sense for a practice. DR doesn't offer a good way to integrate dental. If you want digital dental and your practice is using DR, you have to buy a separate dental sensor with software. The DIS CR4000, can scan plates up to a 14"x17" and also with our adapter can scan dental CR plates. Your entire practice, including dental, can move from film to digital very economically.