Resonex trims MRI cost with new HP-based unit

December 4, 1991

Resonex will introduce a substantially upgraded MRI system atthe Radiological Society of North America meeting this week. TheSunnyvale, CA, dedicated MRI vendor plans to trim the price ofits latest offering by 20% while doubling processing speed

Resonex will introduce a substantially upgraded MRI system atthe Radiological Society of North America meeting this week. TheSunnyvale, CA, dedicated MRI vendor plans to trim the price ofits latest offering by 20% while doubling processing speed andadding new imaging capabilities, said president Gerald D. Knudson.

The Paradigm MRI scanner will sell for $985,000--low enoughto slide the system past the $1 million certificate-of-need limitationsset by a number of states. Shipments are expected to begin inthe second quarter of next year. The vendor has filed 510(k) applicationswith the Food and Drug Administration for relevant software upgrades,Knudson said.

Resonex took advantage of its year-old technical and marketingagreement with computer vendor Hewlett-Packard (SCAN 12/12/90)to add capabilities to its 0.4-tesla resistive MRI system whilecutting its own cost of operations. The firm reduced staff earlierthis year, he said.

Improved productivity and reduced costs are necessary to competeeffectively in a sluggish medical imaging market, Knudson said.

Resonex retained its core engineering and sales staff and actuallyimproved its order backlog through the downsizing. The firm workedwith HP over the past year in providing sales, marketing and serviceas well as product development functions.

"HP has taken away a lot of the (customer) concerns aboutour viability," Knudson said. "The health of our companyand the ability to sustain ourselves as an independent (vendor)improve every quarter."

Medical imaging vendors must follow the lead of computer manufacturersin providing greater system capabilities at reduced cost, he said.

"Our industry has increased technology and price in parallel,"he noted. "We have to pass our savings on to the customerbase."

Resonex is positioning Paradigm as a second or third MRI systemfor large hospitals. Given the weak economy, it is doubtful thatmany smaller hospitals will shift from shared service to purchasetheir own MRI systems, he said.

"Smaller institutions will start to gain their own MRIsover the next couple of years, but right now that marketplaceis flat," Knudson said.

Resonex introduced an HP-based workstation at the 1990 RSNAmeeting. This year, a more powerful version of the HP technologyhas been built into Paradigm. The scanner has a new 16-bit digitalimage acquisition computer. Enhanced computer power supports anumber of new imaging features, including:

  • cine joint studies;
  • MR angiography;

  • three-dimensional image processing on the system console;and
  • 24 computer-controlled shims to maintain field homogeneityand optimize image quality for different anatomy studies.
    All previous Resonex systems are upgradable to Paradigm ata maximum cost of about $175,000, Knudson said.

Resonex hopes to boost sales of the new system with the creationof a captive finance company called Resonex Capital Corporation.The unit will provide leasing, debt and other financing alternativesto customers, he said.