Prognosys believes that government policies should encourage local manufacture of international quality products.
President, Prognosys Medical Systems
Tell us about your views on the space that digital imaging market has carved for itself in the industry.
With majority of recognised x-ray rooms, both private and government owned, large and mid-sized, shifting from analogue to digital, the market dynamics is fast changing. The market for Digital X-ray in India has been growing significantly for the last 5 to7 years. If one uses China as the yard stick to measure market potential, India’s diagnostic imaging market is slated to grow by ten times from current levels. Prognosys Medical Systems has already established its foot hold, in both the Telemedicine and Diagnostic Imaging spaces, as one of the leading solution providers in India.
Brief us about the latest trends in DR/CR.
Computed Radiography has led to growth of digital x-ray. Typical cost per CR set up has consolidated itself to very competitive levels in India. The cost is much lower as compared to what we have in international markets. The average cost of an entry level CR package, which includes a CR Reader, workstation, 6 to 8 cassettes and a 3 tray (online) DICOM film printer of about 300 DPI will be less than INR10 Lakhs. Five years ago a similar unit would cost at least five times more. This consolidation in prices has clearly changed the mindset of x-ray room owners to move to a more convenient and efficient digital technology. There are two types of approaches to this – retrofit DR Systems and full room DR systems.
What do you think should go into an ideal digital radiography imaging system?
Digital Radiography, unlike Computed Radiography, is a more comprehensive and fully integrated solution. In an ideal DR set up, the x-ray source and the x-ray receptor (detector) is fully linked and integrated and should work as one comprehensive unit. Flat Panel Detectors (FPD) based on Amorphous Silicon technology has now emerged as the preferred technology of choice. One can choose size of the detector as 14 x17 or 17 x 17. Modern DR X-ray systems involve a HF generator with an AEC (Automatic Exposure Control) device that ensures x-ray dose that does not go over recommended limits. Most international safety standards highly recommend this and have also made AEC mandatory in x-ray systems.
The x-ray generator – tube – detector combination is controlled by the OPU – or the operating system of the DR system. Modern DR systems are more efficient and have pre-programmed factors / x-ray techniques, such as pre-fixed kV – mAs depending on the body part being x-rayed (APR) and the size of the patient.
Most standard or internationally acclaimed DR systems offer DICOM 3.0 Compliant systems with DICOM work lists and HL7 compliance as standard which can be linked to the HIS / RIS / PACS. Some of the options are Universal or U-Arm DR system, Floor Mounted DR system and Ceiling mounted units.
How do you see DR/CR market five years from now?
The Digital Radiology industry will show significant growth in the next few years. However, government and its policies should be designed in such a way that local manufacture of international quality products and standards are encouraged. Local manufacture need not necessarily mean “cheap” products or “low quality” products which is the current mind set. International industry standards already defined and wetted are available as bench mark measures to ensure quality. In time as the market matures, costs become more reasonable and the industry learns the right processes, we are confident that the Indian Digital Radiology business will see significant growth.