Wired vs. Wireless Digital Radiography in the Veterinary World

By May 9, 2019 August 27th, 2019 Digital Radiography

The last decade has seen major advancements in wireless technology, the effects of which have certainly rippled through the veterinary industry. Modalities that were once confined to the clinic or even just a power outlet are now portable, lightweight, and just as powerful as their predecessors (or even more so).

In the case of Digital Radiography (DR), there has been a virtual paradigm switch, making wireless systems the new gold standard. The top three reasons wireless DR systems are so popular in the equine veterinary world are:

  • Logistical Convenience During Setup & Imaging
  • Less Downtime yields More Revenue
  • More Advanced Technology

Technology that Fits the Workflow
Whether the principal user is a male or female, vet or tech, having equipment that is easy to set up and use is critical, especially for a busy practice. Many new wireless DR systems weigh less than 25 pounds—a welcomed change from wired systems that often exceed 60 or even 80 pounds. The detector plates are lighter, faster, and the most advance use auto-sense technology so there is no need for a sync cable to the detector. This means there is virtually no set-up needed.

The cables of old presented tripping hazards for the staff as well as potential “catch” points. The majority of DR images are done of or around the limbs of horses, and most studies consist of multiple views from several angles, so the workflow of maneuvering around the horse with a wireless detector is vastly more convenient.

This convenience is amplified in the world of repository imaging where the number and pace of image acquisition is rapid-fire. In some of the higher-end markets, where images are needed of most of the body parts, this could mean upwards of 30-40 images around all sides of the horse, acquired in as little as 5-7 minutes (that takes some skill). Wireless DR makes a world of difference here.

More Images with Fewer Failures
Your imaging business depends on your ability to keep shooting images. So reducing the 4-6 potential failure points of wired systems is an important safeguard to your revenue stream. These failure points include:

  • Data cable connection to the plate
  • (Same) data connection to the acquisition station
  • Power cable to the plate
  • Sync cable to the plate (possible)
  • Sync cable to the generator (possible)
  • Any horse-shoe-prints along the length of any of the above

To see an example of the (more) complex set-up of a wired equine DR system, go back in time by clicking here: http://install.soundvet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Equine-Set-up-Manual-EX.pdf

A single day of down-time for your DR system can cost hundreds of dollars and perhaps more importantly, hours of wasted time. Whether you are in a brick-and-mortar clinic or ambulatory, whether you have to arrange with owners to have horses brought to you or you coordinate to drive to them, you cannot afford to have an important piece of your veterinary arsenal – most likely your single most-used piece of imaging equipment – being sent back for repair.

And with quicker acquisition times from the lack of wires/cables, you can shoot more images on more patients in any given week. Increasing imaging caseload is one of the best ways to grow your practices, and all the services you provide.

The Future is Wireless
The equine DR world is just a microcosm of the technology space at large. It is hard to find an area of your life where the push for wireless innovation hasn’t completely taken over. This means that manufacturers have all but moved away from buying/creating the components necessary to support these antiquated, tethered ways of doing things. That makes long-term support of wired solutions much more difficult and expensive.

Yesterday’s things you had to be physically touching to operate are now done wirelessly. Things like

  • Starting your car
  • Locking your house door
  • Turning on/off you house lights/heat/electronics
  • Getting new software or apps (via CD/DVD/USB)
  • Taking DR images of horses in a barn, and even
  • CT’ing a horse’s skull

To see a cordless, mobile CT in action, click here: [link to R&R Skull CT video]

And of course, with wireless technology, comes auto software updates. Being able to stay at the current software version of any system allows developers to more quickly release bug fixes and support packages. Wireless also enables remote technical support to help troubleshoot and fix your systems in real-time.

Better Technology = Better Medicine
Technology is always a means to an end. With a quicker setup and less time wasted in logistics, you’ll have more freedom to focus on what you do best: improving the health and well-being of your patients.

If you need help finding the right DR system for your practice, or if you would like to learn about Sound’s® digital radiography systems, call 800-268-5354 or follow the links below: