“AI won’t replace doctors, but doctors who know about AI will replace those who don’t.”
~ United Imaging co-CEO, Dinggang Shen, during the launch of UI’s new AI-centric hardware and software platform.
The Imaging Wire
Philips Planning Continued Healthcare Acquisitions in 2018
In a recent interview, Philips CEO Frans van Houten revealed plans to continue to seek-out and execute “bolt-on” health care acquisitions, similar to its acquisition activity in 2017. The executive explained that bolt-on acquisitions are “not transformational from a size point of view, but very important nuggets,” as Philips continues its transition from a diversified company to a company focused on growing its healthcare technology share. A repeat of 2017, when Philips made 10 healthcare acquisitions for a €2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) total price tag would be very disruptive. Considering that it’s been nearly five months since Philips’ last acquisition, the next “bolt-on nugget” is likely coming up soon.
Samsung’s Low-Dose Strategy
Samsung unveiled its new imaging “growth vision,” positioning the development of lower-radiation technology as the core of this vision. In the announcement, Samsung specifically highlighted its GC85A X-ray system and S-Vue 3.02 processing engine, which respectively capture and display images with half the radiation of alternatives, while revealing plans to reduce future devices’ radiation output to levels similar to “everyday items.” That’s quite a goal. Although it could be argued that this announcement was more of an effort to promote the GC85A and S-Vue 3.02 than to unveil the company’s official medical imaging “growth vision,” Samsung is clearly prioritizing radiation reduction and is expected to continue to do so in its R&D and marketing going forward.
United Imaging Healthcare Shows uAI Platform
Chinese medical imaging company, United Imaging Healthcare, released its new uAI platform, an open Artificial Intelligence platform involving the company’s uCloud and multiple hardware product lines. The uAI platform launches with 10 “intelligent diagnostic applications” (e.g. uAI Smart Chest X-ray Assistant, uAI Mammo Risk Assessment) and adopts three already-available medical imaging devices (two MRIs, one PET-CT) to create what UI intends to be a comprehensive AI-ready hardware and software suite. United Imaging’s AI efforts extend beyond the new platform, revealing that it is working with doctors to adopt AI, and encouraging partners to develop new AI products to create an actual ecosystem. United Imaging is a relatively young company and mainly focused on the Chinese market, but it has a growing US workforce and it’s no accident that the uAI launch was prominently announced stateside (and in English).
Agfa USA Officially Announces Multifunctional DR 800
Several weeks after revealing the DR 800’s FDA clearance via an Agfa USA blog post and 18 months after debuting at RSNA, Agfa officially announced the FDA clearance of its DR 800 multipurpose solution. Agfa continued to highlight the DR 800’s multifunctional capabilities in the latest announcement, leading with the device’s support for radiography, fluoroscopy, and advanced clinical applications. The DR 800 also adopts an updated version of Agfa’s well-established MUSICA multi-scale image processor, which can now support moving images, and offers improved noise suppression and brightness control.
Q1 2018 Medical Imaging Financials Continue to Hit Presses
The second wave of financial reports for the January-March period rolled-in, revealing solid overall financial performances from Samsung and Hitachi (but unspecified medical results) and strong results from EOS Imaging, Varian, and IRadimed.
- Samsung’s Q1 financials were headlined by a 20% increase in revenue to a whopping 60.56 trillion won ($56.3 billion) and a 55% increase in net income to 11.61 trillion won ($10.7 billion), attributed to strong chip and smartphone sales. Samsung’s financial announcements are generally high-level (aka: vague) and do not specify the company’s healthcare performance. However, its Consumer Electronics division (which includes healthcare) saw revenue fall 5% to 9.74 trillion won ($9 billion) due to poor TV sales.
- Hitachi announced its financial results for its fiscal 2017, revealing that overall revenue increased 2% to ¥9.368 trillion ($85 billion) and net income increased 44% to ¥490.9 billion ($4.4 billion). Yes, Hitachi is that big. The company did not disclose the performance of its healthcare division, but its Social Infrastructure and Industrial Systems business that includes healthcare saw revenue increase 2% to ¥2.375 trillion ($21.6 billion) and operating income increase 38% to ¥115 billion ($1 billion).
- EOS Imaging’s Q1 sales increased by 34% to €9.5 million ($11.4 million), attributed to a 54% increase in N. America sales and higher average selling prices across regions.
- Varian Medical Systems’ fiscal Q2 brought a 10.1% revenue increase to $729.9 million and an impressive 30% improvement in net profit to $73.2 million.
- MRI accessory maker IRadimed’s Q1 results revealed a 37% increase in revenue to $7.1 million, while net income rebounded to $800k after losing $200,000 during the first quarter of 2017.
- FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb praised AI at a recent event, claiming that it “holds enormous promise for the future of medicine,” that he expects increasing AI submissions in the coming years, and revealing that the FDA is preparing a new regulatory framework that will allow regulators to support the use of AI.
- GE Healthcare and British medical imaging software company, Feedback plc, announced a distribution and license agreement that will give GE rights to offer Feedback’s TexRAD texture analysis software for medical imaging research applications globally, with the partnership initially launching in India.
- The FDA issued a warning regarding MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy devices, revealing that inaccurate MR thermometry information could be displayed during treatment, potentially contributing to errors, tissue overheating issues, and patient injuries.
- Mobius Imaging received FDA 510(k) clearance for its Airo Mobile CT Imaging System for pediatric applications, supporting image guided neuro-spine procedures as well as other applications (brachytherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical imaging), while joining Mobius’ non-pediatric version that cleared in 2013.
- EOS imaging announced the installation of new EOS 2D and 3D imaging systems at University Orthopedics in Providence, RI and the Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery in Raleigh, NC, using the deals to highlight the EOS system’s fit for private practices.
- Medical imaging startup, Imaging3, named former Varian CTO George Zdasiuk to its Board of Directors and as the chair of its Scientific Advisory Board, supporting Imaging3’s product development, regulatory and commercial strategies.
- Imaging component manufacturer, Varex Imaging, named STERIS plc president/CEO and longtime healthcare executive, Walter Rosebrough, to its Board of Directors.
- Synaptive Medical announced the installation of its Modus V robotic neurosurgery imaging technology at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region.
- The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) partnered with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation to promote the benefits of focused ultrasound technology among policymakers, payers, and medical specialty societies.
- German startup Medineering announced that its Robotic Endoscopy system is being used in clinical procedures for the first time since gaining CE Mark approval last year, supporting surgeons during minimally invasive ear, nose, and throat surgery by moving and holding the endoscope.
The Resource Wire
- Agfa whitepaper on augmented intelligence and intelligent workflows
- Caresteam video interview details Clinical Collaboration Platform success story
- Canon and Toshiba publish “New Horizons in Ultrasound” report
- Fujifilm video outlines its women’s health solutions
- GE video overview on Centricity Universal Viewer
- IBM Watson post highlights client success at The Iowa Clinic
- Konica Minolta publishes latest Kontours issue
- Olympus webinar on bringing endoscopic ultrasound to community hospitals
- Olympus video on the benefits of using CO2 in endoscopy
- Philips article highlights pediatric radiology innovations
- Philips video highlights its radiology solutions at ECR 2018
- Philips article on managing cybersecurity risks in healthcare
- Siemens video on digitalizing healthcare in radiology
- Siemens and the HBR’s perspective on transforming care delivery
- Siemens and the HBR paper on “The Power of Digitalizing Healthcare”
- Siemens video on expanding precision medicine with BioMatrix technology