There are many advantages to transitioning to digital radiography (DR), with cost being the single disadvantage. There may be some infrastructure requirements to take into account when determining the cost of making the switch. This paper reviews the different forms of DR, image file formats, supporting equipment and services required for DR, storage of digital images, and teleradiology. DR is a filmless procedure in which the images are displayed on a computer monitor. Workstations to view the images include a computer with digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM) viewing software. The cost of these workstations should be factored into the cost of transition. There are various DICOM viewing software programs and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommends a minimum of the following functions: window and level adjustment, pan, zoom, flip, rotate, and measurement tools. The number of monitors at a workstation is based on personal preference. The monitor used for interpretation of DR should be medical grade. The ACR gives recommendations based on resolution, luminance, and contrast ratio. For example, spatial resolution is described in megapixels (MP) and, while personal computer monitors range from 0.75 to 2 MP, medical grade monitors range from 2 to 5 MP.

Commentary: Transitioning to DR requires a large financial investment but also a lot of homework and research! Be prepared to contact and visit other veterinary clinics to determine which system will work for your setting; do not depend on sales representatives alone. Be cautious about investing in a system based on affordability. The truth is that time will be saved with DR and the number of studies produced will ultimately increase but this is a long-term return. The author advises—and I strongly agree—that you invest in service support from the vendor AND a separate information technology (IT) professional. Expect to encounter new artifacts and a need for help in establishing a new, comprehensive technique chart for DR to maximize image quality. I also highly recommend two medical grade monitors at a minimum of one workstation so that images can be reviewed side by side.—Jean K. Reichle, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVR

Transitioning to digital radiography. Drost WT. J Vet Emerg Crit CarE 21:137-143, 2011.