Executive summary

  • Digital radiography systems are a rapidly developing technology for the management, storage and transmission of digital images.
  • The term digital radiography covers a wide range of systems from simple transmission units to major hospital data management systems, with capital costs of the order of $0.2M to $9.0M.
  • Digital radiography systems have the potential to provide benefits to radiologists, hospitals and patients through the ability to enhance images, improvements to security and cost of storage, better management of images and better access to patient records.
  • At the present state of development, there are problems with system costs, technical maturity and acceptability to radiologists and other users.
  • The use of digital radiography systems in Australia may already be justified in certain applications.                 However, each introduction of a system would need to be carefully assessed with regard to costs and benefits, and detailed discussions held with all interested parties.
  • The cost and performance of systems put in place should be evaluated to provide information for other potential users.
  • Developments in digital radiography are occurring rapidly and should be kept under review. There could be opportunities for local industry in developing system components and software.
  • There would be value in ongoing consultation involving health authorities, the Australian Hospitals Association, the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists, and other professional bodies on the development of a suitable strategy for introduction of digital radiography systems into the Australian health care system.