Please give us an overview of the digital imaging market. What is your market size?
The market for digital imaging is spurring up. We find that most companies that were earlier into film based radiology are now entering digital imaging market or slipping into oblivion. India, with about 60,000 analogue X-ray machines already in use, is slowly witnessing a metamorphosis. The digital imaging market in India is all set to explode with many institutions and corporate hospitals exploring the viability of these systems. The day is not far when analogue X-ray systems will become obsolete. Digital imaging technologies will lead to positive and disruptive change in the imaging industry, not only in India, but globally. CURA is a pioneer in Indian DR market. A winner of Frost & Sullivan Digital Radiography Company of the Year 2010 Award and Product Innovation Award, CURA is a market leader with more than 50 percent share and maximum number of installations.
Brief us about the latest trends in DR/CR.
Computed radiography, which was in vogue till recently, has now become a transit technology. CR is almost a three decade old technology with no significant technological advancements ever since DR made its debut. CR adoption and sales have been progressively dipping across the globe.
Digital radiography is the future of imaging technology. Newer entrants in the DR space are coming with product innovations. The DR market and adoption is on the upswing.
Unlike the industrys outlook portraying CR and DR as competing technologies, CURA considers CR and DR to be complementary technologies. DR will take the lead in digitising with the advantage of better throughput and image quality. The CR will basically be used for the bedside applications.
DR system is definitely cheaper and more viable as compared to a CR system. DR systems are being designed with higher pixel rates. Digital Imaging technology seems to run in parallel with digital camera technology. 16 MP detectors are available now, and features such as Image stitching and dual energy subtraction is being bundled with DR software.
What do you think an ideal digital radiography imaging system consists of?
For the Indian market, the ideal DR system will be a single detector system capable of supporting both erect and supine studies. The DR system should be inbuilt with safety features including a fixed detector to avoid accidental drop or mishandling or even theft of the detector. In the case of a mobile detector there can be intentional damages to the detector being passed off as unintentional drops.
An ideal DR system has to produce the best quality images, consistently. It must be designed to handle high patient throughputs, while being easy to use by semi skilled technicians. It is also necessary for it to be elegantly designed with good aesthetics and backed up by reliable service support system.
Do you think the industry needs well trained technicians to adapt new systems and technologies?
The technicians must know about the basic computer operations. They have to have a basic understanding of the DR technology from an operational perspective. They should endeavour to acquire additional knowledge on DR through experience.
Please list the pros and cons of digital and computed imaging?
While awareness on the features and benefits of DR systems is on the raise, high initial investment currently required for a DR system slows down the market.
In case of CR system the X-ray dosage for the patient and operator is higher than what we have in analogue X-rays systems. CR involves continued dependency on cassettes and imaging plates (IP), which are consumables with a limited shelf life and are prone to wear and tear.
The distinctive benefit of a DR system is the superior image quality with wider latitude. The system also offers very high throughput to handle peak hour patient flow. There is lower radiation dosage to the patients as well as operator.