The history of digital x-rays in the United States

May 12, 2022 11:10:00 AM / by Jennifer Hutchison

Over the years, digital x-ray technology has evolved to be one of the most popular ways for doctors and chiropractors to take x-rays. Technological advancements in the x-ray industry mean patients are exposed to less radiation as a part of their exam process, and allows for instant storage and access of their digital health records.

Digital x-rays have become an excellent option for many practicing chiropractors in the United States, as they are able to:

  • Provide improved quality of care
  • Save time and money by eliminating costly film procedures
  • Reduce liability risks associated with radiation exposure
  • Improve back office efficiency through digital submission capabilities.

Now with digital imaging and cloud-based PACS solutions, chiropractors are able to view their patient’s information from anywhere at any time.

What is digital radiography?

Digital radiography (DR) is a cutting edge form of x-ray technology that is quickly becoming the new standard in the medical field. Utilizing digital x-ray plates instead of traditional film, DR allows for a much higher quality image to be captured during a patient examination. This can result in a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient.

In addition, DR is much more convenient than traditional radiography, as it eliminates the need for film processing and storage. This makes it an attractive option for both radiologists and imaging facilities. With its many benefits, it is clear that digital radiography is the future of x-ray technology

What is the history of digital x-ray?

Digital radiography is the most common form of digital x-rays and has been used by chiropractors across the United States since 2003, although the technology has been around since the 1970s

Discovery of the x-ray

It all began with Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery of the x-ray on November 8, 1895. One of the first photographic plates he used during his many tests and research was a film of his wife’s hand, Anna Bertha. During Roentgen’s day, x-rays were unheard of, and his discovery even earned him the first-ever Nobel Prize in physics (1901).

x-rays quickly caught on as a new form of medical technology. They were initially used to help doctors locate bullets and other foreign objects in patients. However, it wasn’t long before x-rays were being used for a variety of diagnostic purposes such as examining bones and joints.

The traditional x-ray was undoubtedly a major discovery that laid the foundation for digital radiography. Over the years, diagnostic imaging has evolved to meet different needs.

Computed radiography (CR)

In the 1980s, computed radiography (CR) joined the diagnostic imaging scene. CR uses a phosphor plate instead of film and the image is read by a laser. This created images with more contrast and fidelity than ever before

Direct digital radiography (DDR)

Computed radiography opened people's eyes to the endless possibilities in this new world of radiology, which led directly to DDR or direct digital radiography. The introduction of this new, more advanced system has revolutionized the way we think about imaging.

After DDR's introduction, imaging facilities and hospitals were determined to attain the best digital radiology equipment. Shortly after Digital Radiographers' introduction many institutions acquired sophisticated systems in an effort to enhance their radiography techniques that allow better diagnosis on patients

Digital radiography (DR)

Digital radiography (DR) allows for even more precise images and easier manipulation after the fact. DR has quickly become the preferred method of diagnostic imaging due to its many advantages.

This type of system can take either single or multiple images at once so it’s perfect for when your patient needs an exam from head to toe. Digital radiography offers high resolution images that are easy to read and interpret. It also allows chiropractors to see digital images in real time, which is great for determining the severity and location of a patient’s injuries. DR combined with cloud computing has revolutionized chiropractic practices around the globe.

Benefits of digital x-rays to chiropractors

Digital x-rays have made many advancements over the years. The digital radiography systems available now are much faster, with shorter exposure times and quicker download speeds. This is key for chiropractors who need to treat multiple patients at once as they no longer have to worry about waiting on images. Radiologists can view the digital images produced in a few seconds. In addition, they can share the images easily and securely to other computers and with medical professionals.

Less invasive

With digital x-ray machines in chiropractic offices across America, it has become easier for chiropractors to see spine alignment, making spinal adjustments or manipulations much less invasive than in years past. Practitioners are now able to take more images in a shorter amount of time which enables them to serve more patients daily and minimize the cost they spend on the generation of a single x-ray.

Increased clarity of x-ray images

Digital x-rays also offer more clarity in the details which makes finding small injuries easier than ever before. Additional features of digital radiography include automatic image cropping, automatic setting detection and compensation, and digital zoom.

When combined with digital image stitching, that allows multiple exposures to be combined into one high resolution image, these options make interpreting films easy no matter what type of injury your patient might be experiencing.


The future holds even more advancements for digital x-rays that will continue to improve patient experience. These technologies could significantly enhance diagnostic accuracy and reduce duplicate x-ray images. Which is why it’s so important for chiropractors to stay on top of this new technology by taking advanced courses in digital imaging offered through professional organizations. In doing so they can help ensure that their patients are getting accurate diagnoses quickly and effectively.

If you want to know more about how digital x-rays can help your practice, or if you want to look at digital x-ray product options, get in touch with us today.

Jennifer Hutchison
Written by Jennifer Hutchison

My goal is to provide my customers with the best equipment possible, at the best price possible, in order to see their business grow and thrive. I currently work hand in hand with doctors of Chiropractic all over the nation to put together custom equipment packages that meet their special needs. Each doctor has their own speciality technique, and by working directly with many of the groups such as NUCCA, Gonstead, CBP, Everest, Blair, KCUCS, and many other groups, I have built the knowledge and expertise to create custom x-ray equipment packages for their specific needs. Seeing my customers using the equipment I sold them in order to heal and help people all over the nation is the true happiness I get from my career. - 9 Years experience in medical device and equipment sales -12 Years experience in Medical Imaging Field - Sales expert for x-ray and digital x-ray equipment nationwide - Work with over 25 different manufacturers and vendors - Strong accounting, finance, and account management background - Upper Cervical X-Ray Sales Specialist