It uses a great deal of expensive and cutting-edge technology, and none of this is cheap. While DR can do a great deal for a hospital radiology department, that department also must have the funds available to support what needs to be purchased and accomplished where DR is concerned if the department chooses to use this technology.
Image quality, other than cost, is quite probably the largest issue that is faced by those that wish to use this new technology. Therefore, it is important to discuss and compare the differences between the image quality of CR and the image quality of DR, so that more can be understood regarding the differences between them. One study looked at the plate readers that are used for CR images, and found that there were enough statistically significant differences between different plate readers as to indicate that there may be problems with the accuracy of the data and the quality of the image at times (Quinn, 2002). Digital radiography (DR), without question, has the better images, but it is also much more expensive than traditional film, so many companies are going for a compromise of quality and cost, which leads them to CR, since the images are still good quality and the technology is significantly less costly than DR (Demonstrated, 2004).
It is important to remember, however, that efficiency and access to information are also very important issues, and these should not be compromised for image quality (Tabatabaie, 2001). In other words, the radiology departments in hospitals (and all others that use this technology) should strive to find a balance between the quality of the image and the practicality of the rest of the system and its features. That is why the announcement from Kodak (2003) was reproduced earlier in this paper - to showcase some of the specific technology that is being discussed and also show how quickly one can get in over one's head in being able to understand what all of the technology means and what it will do.
That notwithstanding, however, the quality of the image remains highly significant. If DR can produce a better image, it only makes sense to use it, but for hospitals that are small, or that have small radiology...
Film-based imaging has many limitations (Seeram, 2004) and therefore both DR and CR are better choices than film when it comes to the quality of the image that will be produced. Where DR has the main advantage in image quality is in the ability to enhance the image through digitization. Using CR does not give the radiologist this option, and CR is often difficult to master, making it a poor choice for many radiology department.
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