Handheld X-ray device frees dentists to expand work with underserved patients

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Handheld X-ray device frees dentists to expand work with underserved patients

Mike Heyn, left, Sheila Wake and Tom Batz demonstrate the ultra-portability of the NOMAD handheld X-ray device in the Aribex booth at CDA Presents meeting in Anaheim, Calif. (DTI/Photo Robert Selleck, DTA)
Robert Selleck, DTA

Robert Selleck, DTA

Tue. 3 July 2012


Anaheim, Calif., USA: An untended benefit seen by dental professionals across the world after they bring the Aribex NOMAD handheld X-ray device into their practices: They experience an increased willingness to go out into the local community and beyond to serve difficult-to-reach patients. The phenomenon so far has been documented only anecdotal, but Aribex President and CFO Ken Kaufman said a formal study is in the works to measure the trend.

“We have found that dentists are often hesitant to engage in ‘access-to-care’ efforts when they are not equipped with X-ray capabilities,” Kaufman said. “They don’t have the tools they need to properly diagnose the patients — yet that’s what is being expected of them.”

Kaufman, speaking from the exhibit hall at the recent CDA Presents meeting, said dentists are bringing the Aribex NOMAD into their practices for bottom-line reasons, such as being able to remove multiple wall-mount X-ray units and achieving substantial reductions in the amount of time needed to complete X-rays.

But once the NOMAD is fully incorporated into the practice, an unanticipated bonus has been that when opportunities are presented for the dentist to take his or her services out into the community or perhaps even on an overseas humanitarian effort, there is less hesitancy about pursuing such opportunity. That’s because the dentist now has the ability to bring along his or her primary diagnostic tool.

“A big focus in the industry today is ‘access to care,’” Kaufman said. “I can’t think of a device that epitomizes that concept more than the NOMAD.”

Kaufman continues to chip away at regulatory hurdles in a few remaining U.S. states and Canada. In various such locations, dental professionals are not able to fully benefit from the NOMAD’s safe and proven technology. Toward that effort, Kaufman is planning to use his formal research on “access-to-care” benefits to connect with regulators on a new level.

One vast market where lack of regulatory vision is not an issue for the NOMAD is China. Just last week, the company received approval to sell the NOMAD there.

Getting the device into the hands of Chinese dental professionals is still many months away, Kaufman said, but he’s excited about the prospects. Currently, all dental X-rays at Chinese practices must be taken in a room dedicated to that sole function. So the NOMAD won’t just be the first handheld X-ray device in China, it will be the first chairside device period.

With China’s massive population and rapidly growing middle and upper class, Kaufman anticipates a promising future for his company in that market.

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