Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital
A week before Christmas two years ago, our 30 plus year old x-ray machine just died. There was not warning and little likelihood of getting it repaired at a reasonable price. We had been hearing some wonderful things about digital x-ray but had not considered the purchase too seriously as our x-rays were of excellent quality and the cost of a digital x-ray was somewhat scary.
Of course, the death of our old faithful gave us no options. Certainly we were unable to practice quality, diagnostic medicine without an x-ray machine. In fact, the two weeks it took to get a new one in (actually a quick turnaround considering it was the holiday season), was miserable. We were lucky that other local veterinarians were so gracious to take in our patients when an x-ray was indicated.
Now looking back, it is amazing to reflect back to the old days of traditional imaging. Our new digital radiography unit is such a significant improvement over the old technology. The benefits include improved quality, enabling us to see things that traditional film may not have shown. It provides enlargement capabilities and computerized enhancements such as measurements and notations. With a click of a button, the images can be sent off to be evaluated by a radiologist who will give us his report usually within twelve hours. The images can also be easily e-mailed to a client or another referral hospital.
A secondary consideration is the added safety to our healthcare team. By eliminating the chemicals associated with processing traditional film, this technology is also safer for the environment. The doctors and team love the rapid turnaround and ease of viewing. We can see if a set of films does not come out perfectly the first round and quickly reshoot without causing undue stress on the pet being x-rayed.
Best yet, the reduction of staff time and non use of film or chemicals allowed us to absorb the cost of the equipment with very little increase in price to our client. X-rays are one of our most useful diagnostic tools and keeping it as an affordable option was a high priority to us. In fact, our new CaseCare Wellness Plans includes a set of baseline x-rays for our pets over 5 years of age. We are proud that this sophisticated technology now plays a part in our commitment to providing excellence in veterinary medicine.