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Ultrasound vendors lend supportto training facilities in China


Centers are low-cost alternatives to exhibitionsThe rising cost of medical imaging conferences in the Far Easthas prompted ultrasound vendors to look for new ways to heightenawareness of their technology. Several companies, such as

Centers are low-cost alternatives to exhibitions

The rising cost of medical imaging conferences in the Far Easthas prompted ultrasound vendors to look for new ways to heightenawareness of their technology. Several companies, such as Hewlett-Packardand ATL, have established training programs in the region thatmay be a more effective way of educating customers.

One such program involves a new ultrasound training centerthat opened in Beijing in August. The center is supported by HPand provides an example of how imaging equipment manufacturersare investing heavily in training and educational initiativesthroughout Asia.

The center is located at Beijing Union Hospital and is affiliatedwith the Jefferson Ultrasound Research and Education Institutein Philadelphia. The formation of the center was prompted by thegrowth in the number of ultrasound examinations in Asia, whichhas created an increasing demand for sonography training and education,according to Stan Bolle, HP's sales development manager for northeastAsia.

"It's a technology that the People's Republic of Chinais extremely interested in," Bolle said. "The technologyis well-accepted by China and does not carry the same quota limitationsas more advanced and expensive systems, such as MRI."

Free training at the center will be provided to anyone whohas purchased or ordered an HP ultrasound scanner. The center'sequipment, computers and printers have not been donated by HP,but they have been provided on a long-term loan basis.

Local physicians are being assisted by Dr. Barry Goldberg andhis staff at the Jefferson Ultrasound Research and Education Institute.The institute was formed in 1992 and is a World Health Organizationcollaborating center for continuing and general education in diagnosticultrasound. Visiting fellows come to the institute for intensivetraining in ultrasound and then return to their home countriesto train colleagues.

At the Beijing Union Hospital center, the first seven-day courseis scheduled for either May or June 1996 and will focus on color-flowDoppler, with speakers coming from China and abroad. About 100participants are expected for the first course.

One reason that ultrasound manufacturers are showing an increasingwillingness to fund training programs is the escalating costsof exhibitions.

"To be a primary sponsor of an exhibition may requirea contribution of $50,000. We favor a lower level of sponsorship,making it feasible to proceed with educational programs like theone in Beijing, which will have a longer lasting effect,"Bolle said. "The opportunity to make this investment providesa wonderful showcase for our products. By upgrading clinical trainingusing the products, you upgrade the level of ultrasound in China."

According to Joe Hamilton, ATL's Singapore-based clinical managerfor Asia Pacific, funding large conference-style gatherings hasbecome increasingly difficult. ATL has experienced a tremendousgrowth in the number of requests for educational materials andlocal training opportunities, and it has established cooperativesites across the region.

"Our goal is to provide quality educational opportunitiesfor the ultrasound community through the advance of the most currenttechniques and criteria available," Hamilton said. "Byfocusing on smaller sized groups, we are able to offer more individualizedtraining and increased hands-on opportunities."

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