This year's American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine meeting in San Francisco found the diagnosticultrasound industry in a transition phase. By most accounts, theindustry has bottomed out from the drop in new scanner purchasingexperienced in 1993 and
This year's American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine meeting in San Francisco found the diagnosticultrasound industry in a transition phase. By most accounts, theindustry has bottomed out from the drop in new scanner purchasingexperienced in 1993 and 1994. The specter of federal health-carereform is no longer a brake on sales, but that fear has been replacedby uneasiness about the onset of managed care.
Managed care has its greatest impact on purchasing when itis entering a geographic region that is unfamiliar with the concept,according to Samuel Maslak, Acuson president and CEO. As hospitalsgrow accustomed to the new regime, equipment acquisition graduallyreturns.
"People entering the first phase of managed care are veryfearful. They see loss of revenue and they look for expenses tocut," Maslak said. "In the middle and later stages ofmanaged care, people realize they can't cut their way to success."
Ultrasound will eventually have a significant role in managedcare and will grow as it replaces other modalities, accordingto David Perozek, president and COO of ATL.
"As people on the other side of that (managed-care) transitionzone start getting serious about how they control their costs,they are going to look at replacing more expensive diagnosticsor therapies with less expensive protocols," Perozek said."Ultrasound is going to play a major role."
This year's meeting was unique in that scanning of live modelswas allowed on the exhibit floor for the first time since thelate 1980s. The AIUM decided to allow live scanning after severalmajor vendors petitioned the organization.
Camtronics Medical Systems
NT 100 includes a magneto-optical disk drive for storing portablestudies. Portable users can also save images to the system's internalmemory and then transfer those images to a network later. Camtronicsis developing a DICOM 3.0 compatibility for the system.
NT 100 received FDA clearance in February, and Camtronics plansto market the system through OEMs.
Kodak, of Rochester, NY, is working on its implementation ofDICOM 3.0 print and storage service classes that will allow Accessto be networked directly to Imagelink, according to Linda Roach,general manager of ultrasound and nuclear medicine systems. Kodakplans to be able to integrate Access with its Printer InterfaceUnit next month and its Image Acquisition Unit in September.
Fuji Medical Systems
Fukuda Denshi America
GE Medical Systems
Hitachi Medical Systems
International Imaging Electronics
Like Perception's other products, GPS 5000 is a PC-based scannerdesigned around a modular approach to system configuration, accordingto Martin E. Doyle, chief executive (SCAN 2/1/95). The companyplans to be shipping scanners capable of mechanical, linear andcolor Doppler imaging before year's end.
Polaroid Medical Imaging Systems
Simplicity, speed and value are marketing points the San Jose,CA, company intends to exploit after QR 2000 gains FDA clearance.It gains access to digital images from frame grabbers made byvarious manufacturers or through DEFF-format or DICOM-compatiblemagneto-optical disks.
QR 2000 operates on Microsoft's Windows NT operating system.The Pentium-based, 32-bit software provides a seamless interfacefrom the operating software to the system query language (SQL)server and the relational database package.
QR 2000 has been adopted by Fuji for use in its Remote AcquisitionSystem. It was also displayed at the AIUM booths of Scitex andCamtronics.
Radiology Telenetwork International (RTI)
The company unveiled a commercially available image and datamanagement component that complements the system's teleconferencingcapabilities. The Digital Film Jacket uses off-the-shelf technologiesto mimic the functions of the kind of analog film jacket radiologistsencounter every day, according to Dr. Roger Stronell, chief executive.
RTI showed a real-time videoconferencing broadcast at 30 framesper second with lossless compression. Real-time demonstrationswere demonstrated between Stronell at RTI's booth in San Franciscoand a technologist performing ultrasound procedures at an imagingcenter near Toronto.
Scitex Medical Systems
Shimadzu Medical Systems
3M Medical Imaging Systems
Toshiba America Medical Systems