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GE’s ultrasound unit continues growth after strong year in 1996


Company promises one breakthrough per yearThe ultrasound division of GE Medical Systems continues to be spurred on by momentum generated from a strong showing in 1996, when the Milwaukee company's growth in the modality was spearheaded by an

Company promises one breakthrough per year

The ultrasound division of GE Medical Systems continues to be spurred on by momentum generated from a strong showing in 1996, when the Milwaukee company's growth in the modality was spearheaded by an important upgrade for its premium Logiq 700 scanner.

At the annual meeting last month of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine in San Diego, GE featured the upgrades that helped the vendor achieve 25% overall ultrasound revenue growth, as well as a 40% sales increase in the U.S. last year.

The Maximum Resolution (MR) upgrade for Logiq 700 played a particularly crucial role in the success of GE's ultrasound division last year. Company officials have credited sales of Logiq 700 MR, which costs over $250,000, with contributing 40% of GE's ultrasound revenue in 1996.

The company followed up the introduction by migrating technology down to Logiq 500 and 400 as the MD upgrade, which featured Micron Imaging and Adaptive Color Enhancement (SCAN 10/9/96).

Targeted at providers using ultrasound for several applications, Logiq 500 MD is suitable for shared service applications and has an average price of around $130,000 to $150,000. Typical customers include community hospitals, vascular labs, and outpatient centers.

Logiq 400 MD is aimed at imaging centers, small to medium-sized hospitals, and private offices. Averaging between $75,000 and $80,000, it can also be configured for specialty applications such as breast or ob/gyn imaging.

GE remains committed to releasing one product performance breakthrough per year, said Howard Mars, Americas strategic marketing manager. The upgrade will first be introduced on Logiq 700, and then migrated down to Logiq 500 and 400, Mars said.

"Each year you'll see a breakthrough, and each year you'll see a migration," said Mars, who joined GE from ATL prior to the AIUM meeting.

On the networking side, the big news at the San Diego conference was GE's strategic technology and marketing alliance with ultrasound miniPACS developer ALI Technologies (SCAN 4/2/97). GE has agreed to take an equity position of up to $13.6 million (Canadian) in Richmond, British Columbia-based ALI.

GE continues to add ultrasound veterans to its ultrasound sales and marketing team. Robert Thompson, formerly of ATL, will head GE's clinical applications team as Americas clinical applications manager, while Charles Lewis has been named manager for contract sales with GE's multihospital systems team. Lyle Mussman, formerly of Toshiba America Medical Systems, joins GE as sales manager for the central region.

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