Breast Imaging Technology Evolves, Providers Search for Partner

June 2, 2014

As breast imaging technology advances, providers are looking to vendors to help meet their needs. Find out here which vendors are favored.

Last year I had the opportunity of going to Tanzania with a small group from Radiology without Borders. Our goal was to help Muhimbili University get their breast imaging program ramped up so that they could hopefully provide earlier detection. Also accompanying our energetic group were Brian Wetzel and Laurie Ziegler, both very experienced healthcare providers from Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital in New York. Before our journey, we had shipped an older analog unit to Tanzania that had been generously donated. Coming from an oncology background, I had not had the experience of seeing mammography equipment being transitioned. I was a bit taken aback as I watched Dr. Tariq Gill teach the radiology residents how to read an analog mammogram. I learned quickly what one does with a processor and how to clean it. Connectivity? . . . PACS? There was no PACS. It was a true moment of appreciation, and I realized just how far breast imaging has come.

The latest KLAS report, “Breast Imaging 2014: Finding a Partner for the Future,” discusses the evolution of breast imaging as detection technology has gone from analog to CR to DR and now to the addition of tomosynthesis. In the report, KLAS talked to 183 providers to find out which mammography vendor providers would choose if they were making a decision today, to understand how breast imaging vendors are performing according to providers and to gauge future plans for purchasing automated whole breast ultrasound. So what did we learn?

Hologic Top Choice for Many
When providers were asked which digital mammography vendor was their top choice, GE customers were not always loyal to GE, with 63 percent citing Hologic as their top choice. While many chose Hologic because of tomosynthesis, many also said Hologic was the best breast imaging partner.
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Siemens Customers Willing to Wait
Tomosynthesis is approved in the U.S. only for Hologic, but Siemens customers are optimistic that their vendor will eventually provide this technology, and the majority reported they are willing to wait for it because of their relationship with Siemens and because of the performance of Siemens’ current equipment.

Energy around Partnerships, Tomosynthesis and Ultrasound
Healthcare providers report that they are looking for a partner to help them navigate the chaos and confusion in the world of breast imaging caused by social and political issues, dense-breast laws, and increasing consumer involvement. Providers who have adopted tomosynthesis reported overwhelmingly positive feedback, and those who have not are looking forward to FDA approval for other vendors in the future. Additionally, more providers are looking at automated whole breast ultrasound, and breast applications for general ultrasound are getting stronger.

We have clearly come a long way in the technology for breast cancer detection, and while we still have a long way to go, providers seem optimistic for the future.

The report also looks at providers’ plans for tomosynthesis and mammography information systems. The vendors discussed in this study are FUJIFILM, GE Healthcare, Hologic, MagView, MRS, PenRad and Siemens. For more information, check out the report, Breast Imaging 2014: Finding a Partner for the Future.” If you don’t have access the report, please e-mail Monique.Rasband@KLASresearch.com.