X-Ray Film Scanners and Digitizers, X-Ray Film Scanning Services and Software
How to Digitize and Dispose of X-Ray Filmposted Oct-5-2015
X-ray digitization is the process used to create a digital image from an x-ray film. Usually digital images are required when organizations decide to move from analog X-ray systems to digital X-ray systems. Many are surprised to find that they can’t just lay the film on their office scanner and digitize it the way they digitize a piece of paper.
But, the fact is that X-ray digitization requires specialized equipment as well as trained scanning technicians to operate it. The process involves individually loading the x-ray film into specialized film scanners. The scanners and the software that operate them work together to create an accurate digital image from the x-ray film.
The Importance of Accuracy
We talk a lot about accuracy when it comes to X-ray scanning. If you want the project to be a success, then you must pay attention to image quality. This means that if you decide to digitize the films in-house, you must plan to purchase a high-quality X-Ray film scanner and you must allow substantial time having your staff trained to properly operate the equipment.
This is no time to skimp on quality. Look for a digitizer that has been proven reliable in clinical settings, with superior image quality, consistency, and overall productivity. Vidar, Kodak and Microtek are some of the X-Ray scanner brands that are generally considered to meet the clinical criteria. You will also want to give consideration to cost, and to the space it will take up in your office.
The Time Factor
You should also consider the amount of time the project will take, both in training time for your staff and in time away from other duties for the actual scanning project. No matter how well trained and well prepared your staff is, the project will likely take more time than you think it will. Can you and your staff handle the time away from regular duties?
Moreover, someone on your staff will also have to take charge of the disposal process. X-ray film cannot just be thrown in the dumpster. Both environmental laws and HIPAA privacy laws require you to use approved methods for disposing of your X-ray film.
First, the X-Rays must be separated from identifying documents, such as paper envelopes and patient reports in order to protect the patient’s privacy. These documents should be shredded, then recycled.
The, because the x-ray film itself contains environmentally toxic chemicals, they must be put through a special recycling process. This process involves feeding them into a grinder where they are shredded into smaller pieces. The diced X-Ray film is then washed to recover the silver from the X-Ray in order to protect the environment. The X-ray film is separated into silver and plastic, and the plastic components are sent to recycling. The silver is further extracted, purified, and finally sent to a silver vendor.
Is Outsourcing a Better Option?
Often, once organizations realize the complications of scanning and recycling their x-ray film, they decide that outsourcing is a more practical and economical choice. While there will still be some time involved in vetting and contracting with an outsource service, that is a small price to pay for the security you will have in knowing that the project is in good hands. A reliable outsource firm has the experience required to undertake the job and to dispose of the used film. Your office will continue to run smoothly, with little time away from regular duties.
Depending upon location, the scanning service may pick-up your film, or you may have to ship it to them, but they will handle the document sorting, scanning and recycling for you. Most organizations find that it is well worth the effort of packing the film and files into boxes and being done with it.
Most x-ray scanning services can deliver your digital files in the file format you specify; on CD or delivered via a Cloud application. Make sure before you sign a contract that they can deliver what you need, when you need it and the way you need it.