GE sells Vectra MRI outside U.S.

October 23, 1991

GE has introduced a third MRI platform in Japan and Europe. The0.5-tesla Vectra system sits in the middle of GE's MRI productline between the Signa--in both its 1.5-tesla and 0.5-tesla versions--andthe MR Max Plus. It was displayed by GE-CGR, GE Medical

GE has introduced a third MRI platform in Japan and Europe. The0.5-tesla Vectra system sits in the middle of GE's MRI productline between the Signa--in both its 1.5-tesla and 0.5-tesla versions--andthe MR Max Plus. It was displayed by GE-CGR, GE Medical Systems'European subsidiary, at the European Congress of Radiology meetingin Vienna last month.

While Vectra widens the number of MRI equipment options GEcan offer its users, the main impetus for its release was to takeadvantage of rapid developments in MRI and computer technology.Vectra offers more advanced fast scanning and image display andprocessing technology than the MR Max at close to an equivalentprice.

"The evolution of electronics and software has providedan opportunity to have a cost-effective product with far betterfeatures than the same cost would have implied four or five yearsago," said Steven C. Riedel, president and CEO of GE-CGR.

Vectra's electronics components are manufactured by GE's YokogawaMedical Systems' subsidiary in Japan, and the magnet is suppliedby GE's U.S. factory, he said.

GE plans its medical product introductions according to theindividual needs of the three major markets in the U.S., Europeand Japan, Riedel said. Vectra meets the strong European demandfor high-end applications at a moderate price.

"We are an early adopter of Vectra. We brought it outas quickly as possible following the Japanese introduction. Thisprovides us with three price/performance points in the line, whichwe can vary with added features," he said.

GE has not, however, ventured into the low-field, permanentmagnet end of the market.

"It is still not clear to us whether there is enough ofa distinction between a 0.5-tesla system and a lower field systemto make it worthwhile to have a 0.2- or 0.3-tesla system in theline. For the moment, we have no offering," Riedel said.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • Digital Equipment reported last week that it will transferits DECrad radiology information system product to IDX of Burlington,VT. IDX, a supplier of health-care information systems, has soldthe DECrad RIS to radiology departments and imaging centers since1989. The transaction is not a sale. IDX did not pay for the RIS.

The two firms will jointly develop version four of DECrad andIDX will develop all future versions. DEC will retain ownershipof related intellectual property. IDX and DEC will jointly displaythe RIS at the Radiological Society of North America conferencein December. The smaller firm will provide service as well asupgrades to DECrad users, although DEC will continue to sell 12-monthDECrad support contracts through June.

DEC's decision to move out of RIS applications developmentconfirms the vendor's focus on building integrated, open computerhealth-care systems compatible with a wide variety of hardwareplatforms and software applications (SCAN 9/11/91). DEC will channelits resources into networking, imaging technologies, multivendorintegration and computing platforms, said Willow Shire, directorof DEC's Healthcare Business Unit.

"IDX will use DECrad to address the radiology department.Digital will use applications like DECrad as building blocks toprovide integrated solutions," Shire said.

  • ADAC Laboratories will offer its MARS II radiology informationsystem on a Hewlett-Packard workstation as well as the currentVAX computer platform, ADAC and HP said last week. The 9000 series800 computer uses HP's Precision Architecture RISC microprocessingtechnology supporting a UNIX operating system.

"HP's open systems design will be a strategic advantageas interconnectivity and adherence to standards become more importantto customers selecting information systems," said Mark Lamp,ADAC RIS division manager.

  • Imlogix of St. Louis has signed an agreement with JapanesePACS integrator and distributor J. Osawa for sales, service andsupport of Imlogix products in Japan. J. Osawa predicts firstyear sales of the Imlogix 1000 display station in that marketwill exceed 100 units, according to the U.S. firm.

The Imlogix 1000 has a 1000 x 1000-pixel display matrix, 12bits deep. The display station is available with image memoryconfigurations of 1000 x 1000-pixel, 2000 x 2000-pixel and 2000x 3000-pixel resolution.