Scandal sheet looks back on wild, wonderful ride

July 1, 1992

This issue of DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SCAN is number 120, marking fivefull years of publication. It has been a wild and fun five yearsfor us. Few industries other than medical imaging could offerso much corporate drama and technological razzmatazz.SCAN's

This issue of DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SCAN is number 120, marking fivefull years of publication. It has been a wild and fun five yearsfor us. Few industries other than medical imaging could offerso much corporate drama and technological razzmatazz.

SCAN's prime objective has been and always will be to provideuseful information and industry insights before they become commonknowledge. We hope this newsletter has accomplished that goalmore often than not.

Plans for the future include increased coverage of the hospitalcustomer and group purchasing trends for both medical imagingequipment and services. Our phone and fax lines are always openfor comments, tips and general discussion. Keep in touch.

SCAN started publishing on July 8, 1987. We were lucky to havehad a scoop for our first front page. Frank Hopkins of North AmericanPhilips had been tagged to head up the company that was to beformed through the proposed merger of Picker International andPhilips Medical Systems. We affectionately called the nascentventure "Picklips," although that never made it intoprint. Events have not let up since.

Medicare's diagnosis-related group (DRG) reimbursement systemwas already in place when SCAN started, and we have been busytracking the impact of cost containment ever since. The outpatientimaging center industry was in its formative stages. We were ableto catch that wave and ride it into safe harbors.

GE Medical Systems was still an avid advocate of high-field overmid-field MRI in mid-1987. That position was soon modified. TomHess of our staff was kept busy sniffing out GE's not-yet-officialmid-field MR Max systems as they flowed from Japan into the U.S.

Monoclonal antibody imaging agents were waiting in the wings in1987, ready to revitalize a sluggish nuclear medicine market.Some things never change. Nuclear medicine did pick up on itsown, however, with the onset of sophisticated multidetector cameras.

Acuson made a big splash with its premium ultrasound system afew years before SCAN started and was tussling with competitorATL over the use of the term computed sonography in 1987. Bothfirms benefited in the intervening years from strong ultrasoundmarket growth. The major multimodality imaging vendors maneuvered--andare still maneuvering--to get a piece of this action.

Johnson & Johnson's Technicare medical imaging subsidiarywas not quite dead five years ago. Technicare executives and technologyhave since spread throughout an industry partial to recirculatingmanagers. The departed vendor seems almost like a grandparentthat we don't quite remember but feel we know well just the same.

Waldo Hinshaw, now vice president of engineering at Toshiba AmericaMRI, and John P. Heinrich, president and COO of Summit World Trade(see story, page 7), led the last group of Technicare engineers,who closed out the Teslacon MRI project and handed it off to GEin 1987. Companies that sprang from Technicare include Summit,Reality Imaging, Ohio Imaging (now part of Picker) and Trionix.

The most important ideas SCAN has presented over the past fiveyears have come from voices within the industry. A look back atsome of those voices during the first six months of the newsletterprovides a unique view of how much this business has changed andhow much it has stayed the same:

  • "We want to be in this (MRI) field and to be recognizedas a supplier in North America. No one can survive in medicalimaging unless they play in the world market." Jean-FrancoisPernotte, vice president, corporate planning, Thomson-CGR (SCAN7/22/87).

  • "This is a global market and if you want to be successfulyou have to be present in the three major areas of the U.S., Europe,and Japan." Vincenzo Morelli, president, GE Medical SystemsEurope, following the announcement of GE's intention to buy Thomson-CGR(SCAN 8/5/87).

  • "We have a somewhat unique point of view. We arejust beginning to develop our technology and we are trying tokeep totally focused on this for the time being." RobertJ. Gallagher, CFO, Acuson (SCAN 8/5/87).

  • "Within the framework of our current business, wethink we will have a $400 million to $500 million company overthe next few years. We can build shareholder value and build agreat company here. That's more exciting than being acquired."Albert S. Waxman, chairman and CEO, Diasonics, dispelling rumorsof an acquisitive interest by Toshiba (SCAN 9/2/87).

  • "Because they get nothing extra for using MRI, hospitalsmay be telling the (Medicare) patient to have it done on an outpatientbasis." Paul Campbell, research director, Health IndustryManufacturers Association (SCAN 9/2/87).

  • "None of the Japanese companies have to my knowledgelaunched a real ultra-low-field (MRI) system. The ultra-low applicationsare evidently in the pipeline but not on the market yet."Folke Lindberg, general manager, Instrumentarium's Palomex division(SCAN 9/30/87).

  • "Over 50% of our stock is held by physicians, ourchairman is a practicing physician and we have close to 600 physicianpartners. We wouldn't touch an imaging center without a significantnumber of physicians involved." Frank Kyle, president andCEO, MedInc (SCAN 11/25/87).

  • "Technology is making it happen. Most manufacturersnow say they are going to have ACR-NEMA (digital interface) capability,although there is a lot of concern about old modalities."Harry L. Boscoe, president, AT&T Medical Diagnostic Systems(SCAN 11/25/87).

  • "With the use of improved acquisition techniquesand more appropriate reconstruction algorithms, MR angiographycould soon play a clinical role for specific parts of the body,"Heinrich von Wulfen, MRI technical manager, Siemens Medical Systems(SCAN 12/2/87).