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Ultrasound vendors reach for spotlight at RSNA technical exhibits


Will PACS maintain profile established at last year's show?The technical exhibit floor of the Radiological Society of NorthAmerica's annual meeting often resembles a high-tech bazaar, withhealthcare merchants hawking a bewildering array of

Will PACS maintain profile established at last year's show?

The technical exhibit floor of the Radiological Society of NorthAmerica's annual meeting often resembles a high-tech bazaar, withhealthcare merchants hawking a bewildering array of products tobargain-hunting shoppers. Amid the cacophony, however, one canusually discern the trends that indicate where the future of radiologyis heading. Last year, for example, PACS and digital image managementissues dominated the technical exhibit floor, while MRI held swayin 1994, with vendors introducing a plethora of new scanners.

This year, it appears that it is ultrasound's turn to stepinto the spotlight. The modality received new attention this year,in part due to Acuson's headline-grabbing debuts of two new ultrasoundscanners, Sequoia and Aspen, but also due to the efforts of numerousother vendors whose new platforms and technologies are pushingthe modality to explore its limits.

GE Medical Systems released new upgrades for its entire Logiqscanner line that may unlock the potential of these systems. Siemenswas able to complete a smooth product launch for its SonolineElegra scanner, and will emphasize the system's unique SieScapeextended field-of-view capability.

New systems to appear for the first time at the RSNA meetinginclude PowerVision, a version of a cardiology scanner that Toshibahas adapted for the radiology market, and a new radiology scannerfrom echocardiography market leader Hewlett-Packard. ATL willshow its latest work in 3-D ultrasound with the debut of a dedicated3-D workstation, while Aloka's new SSD-1700 features a digitalimage management subsystem incorporated into the scanner. Othernew scanners will be introduced by Diasonics, Shimadzu, and Medison.

What's going on besides ultrasound? Industry observers willbe watching closely to see if PACS and networking issues are ableto maintain the high profile they enjoyed at last year's meeting.A related topic, direct conversion of x-rays into digital data,will also be hot, with companies like Sterling Diagnostic Imagingand Swissray displaying the latest advances in their technologies.

Also look for vendors to emphasize closer partnerships withclinicians than the buyer/seller relationships that have prevailedin the past. Many companies are unveiling new initiatives, suchas asset management or consulting programs, that break down barriersbetween vendor and purchaser that were once considered inviolable.

An intriguing wrinkle in this new trend comes from ADAC Laboratories,which is expected to announce its acquisition of Medical TransitionStrategies, the parent of Georgia Radiology Network. ADAC plansto integrate all of radiology's components into cooperative partnershipswith customers.

The following pages contain a brief overview of some of thenew products and technologies to be found on the technical exhibitfloor at this year's RSNA meeting. Look for a complete roundupof the 1996 exhibition in Scan Special Report, to be publishedlater this month.

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