“If future manufacturer cloud-based platforms or government legislation succeeds in excluding independent and in-house teams from servicing, what happens to the ability of a hospital to choose servicers for the equipment it owns?”
– IAMERS general counsel, Robert J. Kerwin, in a recent editorial calling for coexistence between imaging manufacturers and independent servicers.
The Imaging Wire
Diamonds could be the Secret to Smaller and Lower-Cost Imaging Devices
The irony is too easy. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley discovered a way to exploit defects in nanoscale and microscale diamonds to potentially enhance the sensitivity of MRI and NMR systems, while eliminating the device’s large and expensive magnets. The new technique enhances the spin polarization of diamond electrons, which could allow better imaging than conventional magnets. New methods like this take quite a while to develop and commercialize, but considering that there are similar polarized solutions on the horizon, it’s reasonable to expect that the future will indeed bring much smaller and lower-cost imaging systems.
Analogic’s BK Ultrasound Launches New Urology Platform
Analogic launched the BK Ultrasound bkSpecto urology ultrasound system, which is based on a completely new platform, and appears to be the company’s first urology-dedicated ultrasound. bkSpecto’s leads with a value proposition that combines high image quality, fast operations, a configurable user interface, and small footprint. The new ultrasound also ships with BK’s advanced urology transducers, a configurable urology-based rapid workflow, and an imaging screen that allows for both portrait and landscape views.
GE’s $100 Million Turkey Partnership
GE Healthcare and Turkish conglomerate, Kayi Holding, signed a four-year $100 million strategic cooperation agreement, that will encompass multiple health projects in Turkey and neighboring countries and include a range of healthcare technologies and services. Although GE’s and Kayi’s exact roles are somewhat unclear, Kayi is aiming to be one of the world’s largest healthcare contractors, investors, and service providers, and currently operates a large healthcare imaging services business in Turkey. It’s early to know for sure, but considering that the Turkish government announced plans to require all medical imaging devices used in the country are also manufactured locally, it makes sense that GE is actively growing its partnerships in the country.
Konica Minolta, Fujifilm, and MRI Interventions Release Jan-March Financials
The fifth and final wave of medical imaging players posted financial reports for the January-March period, revealing strong medical performances from Konica Minolta and Fujifilm, and a poor quarter from MRI Interventions.
- Konica Minolta announced financials for its fiscal Q4 and the year ending March, 2018, revealing decent growth for its overall business and a strong performance from its healthcare division. Overall revenue grew 7% during both Q4 and the fiscal year to ¥281 billion and ¥1.031 trillion ($2.5B and $9.3B), while operating profit grew 58% in Q4 and 7% for the year to ¥24.8 billion and ¥53.8 billion ($223M and $485M). Konica Minolta’s healthcare revenue increased an impressive 11% in Q4 and 7% for the entire year to ¥29.6 billion and ¥96.5 billion ($267M and $870M), recording even more notable operating profit growth of 25% in Q4 to ¥1.7 billion and 95% for the full year to ¥5.6 billion ($15M and $50M). However, this healthcare growth may be short-lived, as KM projects a 4% drop in healthcare revenue and a 10% decline in profitability for its new fiscal year.
- Fujifilm posted its results for its fiscal year ending March, 2018, revealing a positive performance for its overall business and strong growth in its healthcare division. During the fiscal year, overall revenue grew 4.8% ¥2.433 trillion ($21.9B), while net income grew 7% to ¥140.7 billion ($1.26B). Fujifilm’s healthcare revenue increased an impressive 15.3% to ¥443 billion ($4B), with operating profit shooting-up 67% to ¥20.7 billion ($186M). The company expects similar healthcare growth in the new fiscal year, forecasting 7.2% revenue growth and a 1.4% increase in operating income.
- Positioning it a “reset-button” quarter, MRI Interventions posted a 19% drop in revenue to $1.6 million during Q1, and a slightly improved $1.6 million net loss (vs. $1.7 million loss in Q1 2017).
Olympus Launches New ENT Scopes in Japan
Olympus released the ENF-VH2 and ENF-VH4 ear nose and throat video endoscopes in Japan, revealing plans to expand the models to the rest of the world in the coming months. The new models adopt a 30%-smaller operation section for improved insertability and one-handed operation and add Olympus’ Narrow Band Imaging (NBI) technology for early detection of lesions.
- Philips, the American Heart Association, and UPMC created the Cardeation Capital collaborative venture capital fund, which will invest $30 million in healthcare companies developing products for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke care.
- A new Microsoft and Case Western Reserve University collaboration looks to help make CWRU’s fast and accurate Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting a reality, by leveraging Microsoft’s quantum computing capabilities to help overcome the method’s high data and calculation requirements.
- GE Healthcare and FitTrace announced a collaboration that will integrate GE’s dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technology with FitTrace’s body data reporting, sharing, and analytics software, to offer a body composition analysis solution for the sports and fitness markets.
- Scientists developed a non-invasive “disease screening pill” that can make cancerous tumors light up when exposed to near-infrared light without using radiation by attaching-to and applying a dye to the surface of breast cancer cells.
- MRI Interventions and Voyager Therapeutics signed a partnership that will allow Voyager to support MRI Interventions’ ClearPoint and SmartFlow devices and separately lead to the companies’ joint development of new MRI-guided neurosurgical devices.
- French radiology equipment company, DMS, acquired French medical imaging solutions company, Intrasense, revealing plans to immediately begin cross-selling and eventually to develop unique combined medical imaging solutions.
- Canadian CVI solutions company (and GE and Siemens partner), Circle Cardiovascular Imaging, raised $16 million in series A financing, funding the global expansion of Circle’s advanced CVI software suite.
- Profound Medical announced the Chinese FDA’s approval of its Sonalleve uterine fibroids therapeutics platform (acquired from Philips in 2017), which combines MR imaging and focused ultrasound technology for ablation of diseased tissue, and already has CE marking.
- Brainomix and Olea Medical partnered to launch the e-STROKE SUITE of software, combining Brainomix’s e-ASPECTS and e-CTA solutions with Olea’s Sphere solutions to help physicians assess ischemic stroke patients’ CT and MR scans.
- GE Healthcare signed a deal with the government of Uganda to update and support the medical imaging equipment used in the country’s hospitals.
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