When purchasing digital sensors, there is always imaging software included. Most imaging packages come with what I call a “closed" software system. This means that the software included with the sensor will only work with that specific sensor.
Unfortunately, most doctors spend all of their time researching the sensor itself. But then don’t think about the implications of purchasing sensors that are a part of a “closed" software system.
After the “Honeymoon" Period
In most cases, there is an initial “honeymoon" period for a practice that purchases new sensor technology. During this initial period, there are normally no real issues with a “closed" software system. Most of us don’t even recognize the “marriage" until the honeymoon is over. The sensor breaks and we need a new one.
Then, when we make a call for a quote on a new sensor. And find that the new sensor will cost substantially more than the original sensor! When we shop for reasonably priced sensors from different manufacturers, we find that no other sensors will work with our “closed" software system.
Digital Sensors’ Closed System Trap
Now we realize what has happened – we have already gone ahead and gotten married! When a practice purchases that original sensor, it is, in effect, actually marrying the company that sold it. If the practice wants or needs a new sensor, it has to purchase that company’s product and pay the price, whatever it might be.
There is no courting of other sensors. If you want to keep your practice happy and running smoothly without interruptions when capturing x-rays, then you do as you’re told. That means paying a premium for the new sensor.
Divorcing Closed Systems
In order to get out of this situation, you must go through a painful divorce and start “dating" all over again! You have to let various sales reps start courting. Then research newly available products. Followed by trying to decide what sensor has the best image quality. From there, then decide which has the best overall value and which fits best with the products you already use.
The terrible thing is that many doctors make the same mistake over again! They find a sensor that fits their budget, fits the practice and the staff even likes it. But the new software only works with one sensor – the one it comes with!
Switching Imaging Systems
If you find yourself in this situation, you may ask, “What can I do to avoid ‘marrying’ another sensor manufacturer?" The answer is simple: Look at the imaging software first, and then look for the sensors that you like. This is the only way to make sure that your next “relationship" with an imaging software will last the long haul. This will give you peace of mind that you will not have to switch imaging systems again.
All imaging applications have certain basic features, but they also have unique characteristics – the most important being what sensors the imaging application works with besides the sensor that company sells. Make sure to get a list of other sensors that work with the software application, and review it. Ask yourself, “Would any of these other sensors on the list be ones I would consider using in my practice?"
The best thing you can do is to find an “open" imaging system, such as DentiMax, that not only works with the sensor that company sells, but also with just about every other sensor on the market. An “open" imaging system will prevent you from having to start all over again when you need to get a new sensor. You will have the freedom to find the most cost-effective sensor, the one with the newest technology, and the one with the best image quality – regardless of what company makes that sensor.
So when you’re in the market for digital sensors, whether you’re thinking about switching from film to digital or you find yourself in that unfortunate situation of needing to divorce your existing imaging system, investigate the imaging software system first and make sure that it is “open" software. This will prevent heartache down the road! And, maybe more importantly, you won’t have to worry about hiring a divorce lawyer…