High-end ultrasound system with not-so-high price tag targets midtier buyers

February 21, 2005

The HD11 ultrasound system launched worldwide in mid-February by Philips Medical Systems offers a state-of-the-art alternative for budget-strapped healthcare facilities. The company is targeting customers who have been holding off on the purchase of sonography systems for five to seven years or settling for remanufactured platforms from third-party dealers.

The HD11 ultrasound system launched worldwide in mid-February by Philips Medical Systems offers a state-of-the-art alternative for budget-strapped healthcare facilities. The company is targeting customers who have been holding off on the purchase of sonography systems for five to seven years or settling for remanufactured platforms from third-party dealers.

The HD11 targets buyers who must handle difficult diagnostic cases and high volumes across a wide variety of patients. The system covers the field from radiology to cardiology, meeting application needs in both multispecialty and single-specialty settings. Standard on the HD11 are adaptive Doppler and color Doppler, tissue Doppler, 2D pulse inversion harmonics, 3D multiplanar views, and color power angio imaging.

Providing premium features at a less-than-premium price, the unit belongs in a new class of high-definition ultrasound, according to Jim R. Brown, Philips senior director of clinical and technological marketing.

"The HD11 delivers a level of performance that is nearly equivalent to what can be expected on superpremium ultrasound products," he said.

The HD11 is the third new sonographic product to be released by Philips over the last 12 months, following the launch of top-of-the-line systems for radiology (iU22) and cardiology (iE33). In the Philips ultrasound product portfolio for general imaging, the HD11 is being positioned between the HDI 5000 and the HDI 4000. In the cardiology sector, HD11 fits between the Sono7500 and EnVisor in performance.

The new product can easily serve as a secondary ultrasound unit in a tertiary-care center or as a primary system for physicians' offices and clinics, said Jim Hitchens, market communications manager for Phillips. At an average cost of $100,000, the unit spans budgeting tiers.

"Not everybody can afford the absolute best, but some people need the best in certain types of situations," he said. "By developing products such as the HD11, we are rounding out our portfolio to meet clinical needs around the world."

Philips' new product includes advanced features to support a wide range of applications from fetal imaging to cardiovascular testing to sports injury assessments. It makes use of Philips' hallmark broadband digital beam-forming. This obtains as much as nine times more tissue information than standard sonographic technologies, sharpening edges and structural detail, according to the company. The HD11 also incorporates real-time SonoCT multiple line-of-sight technology and XRES for speckle noise reduction.

Automation is a key point of the system, which offers iSCAN Intelligent Optimization. This capability fine-tunes 2D and 3D Doppler scanning, autonomously adjusting gain, TGC, compression, scale, and baseline studies. Ergonomics also figure prominently with a rotating control panel and monitor that provide flexibility in restricted imaging settings. These can be set for users of different heights in standing or sitting scanning positions.

To this core of components, users may add options to meet specific imaging needs. For centers that specialize in obstetrics and perinatology, the HD11 can be customized with 3D fetal echo STIC (spatial temporal image correlation) to improve visualization of the fetal heart valves and wall motion and to detect congenital cardiac defects.

Purchasers can also add 4D imaging to navigate through tissue volumes. For cardiology practices, the unit may be configured to include stress echocardiography and cardiac and vascular quantification. Other options include contrast or panoramic imaging and DICOM networking.