“. . . the most significant advancement in X-ray since digital radiography was introduced.”
– A confident Konica Minolta in a recent press release announcing the results of a pair of studies on its Dynamic Digital Radiography (DDR) technology.
The Imaging Wire
China Tariffs No Longer “On Hold”
No funny intro for this one. A week after an announcement that the trade war with China was “on hold” and the Chinese tariffs would be suspended, the White House’s economic nationalists are once again in control. The proposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of China-imported products are back on the table with a final list of affected products set to be named on June 15th, along with a threat of additional tariffs on $100 billion worth of Chinese imports looming. Opinions vary on the reason for this reversal, with some saying it’s Trump’s reaction to accusations that he was too soft on China and others saying it’s a tactical move in ongoing trade talks. Regardless of reasoning, these tariffs would significantly challenge the global economy and numerous industries within it. Imaging Wire readers are well aware of the potential impact on the medical imaging industry, as most key modalities are included on the list of taxed products, and an approved tariff would cost the US medical imaging industry an estimated $2.25 billion. We’ll see what changes next week.
Hologic Touts Sustainability, Growth Opportunities
Hologic recently held an investor presentation, touting the company’s strong financial and strategic position and revealing insights into its future plans. The presentation led off with Hologic executives emphasizing the company’s “record of sustainable growth,” pointing to its 6.2% revenue CAGR since 2014 and strong cash flow. A necessary reminder following Hologic’s tough Q2 ($681.4 net loss due to $730 million write down). Hologic’s growth strategy will focus on: international expansion (currently only 25% of current revenue), leveraging its improved pipeline and diverse portfolio, and by taking advantage of its strong installed base. Hologic’s breast health business is reportedly poised to benefit of many of these factors, as the vendor is the US mammography leader and only generates 22% of its breast health revenue internationally. The company also sees a strong opportunity to convert the mammography installed base to 3D systems (nearly half of all installed Hologic systems are still 2D). Aside from write-downs from its Cynosure business, which is now largely in the past, Hologic does indeed appear to be in decent shape, assuming its able to speed-up its international expansion.
Guerbet Unveils L-F Hydra Vision Urology X-Ray
Guerbet USA launched its L-F Hydra Vision Digital Imaging System, a digital X-ray flat table device for urological imaging. L-F Hydra Vision utilizes a moving imaging system that allows the patient to remain stationary during sensitive procedures such as ureteroscopy (treating blockages of the urethra), ensuring patients’ procedural and radiological safety. The new system has a 750-pound weight rating and launches with a range of new and upgraded features including: a 43x43cm RF detector, lower x-ray dosing, high-resolution radiographic and fluoro images, a more-ergonomic foot switch, an improved interface, and an optional third monitor. Guerbert positioned the L-F Hydra Vision as a step in its strategy to expand its L-F series to new areas of diagnostic imaging, suggesting that more products like this are forthcoming.
Konica Minolta’s Most Significant X-Ray Advancement
As you can tell from this issue’s quote, Konica Minolta is big on DDR. The manufacturer released results from a pair of studies utilizing its still-in-development Dynamic Digital Radiography (DDR) technology, which combines conventional X-ray images and proprietary KM software to “create X-ray in Motion” imaging. Konica Minolta specifically highlighted DDR’s support for the visualization of the complete respiratory cycle during pulmonary disease evaluations (interactions of lung, muscles, bones, heart, and nerves). According to the studies, this support makes DDR a “clinically relevant option for COPD assessments in acute settings and for patients unable to perform PFTs.” Although the “biggest thing in X-ray since digital” is a bold claim, the fact that DDR allows hospitals to utilize technology they already own (X-ray systems) to support completely new healthcare applications is intriguing for patients, hospitals, and X-ray manufacturers alike.
- Fujifilm Japan launched the SonoSite iViz C60v abdominal convex probe (2-5 MHz) with high-sensitivity DirectClear technology and the vein/puncture-targeted SonoSite iViz L25v probe (6-13 MHz) for use with the company’s SonoSite iViz tablet ultrasound system, with the new probes potentially expanding to the Western markets where the SonoSite iViz is already available.
- Neural Analytics announced its new Lucid Robotic neurological ultrasound system, which is created by combining its now FDA-cleared NeuralBot System (automatically adjusts ultrasound positioning) with its already-available Lucid M1 Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound System, and is used for the non-invasive evaluation of brain blood characteristics to triage neurological diseases.
- Hyland Healthcare released a pair of new imaging solutions. The company introduced version 4.3 of the NilRead enterprise viewer, which adds usability improvements and extends support for key specialties (e.g. DICOM-ECG, radiation therapy) and also launched its new PACSgear Image Link Encounter Workflow (ILEW), which is used for encounter-based imaging procedures to integrate multi-modality/specialty imaging content across the enterprise.
- Konica Minolta updated its Exa PACS platform with a new Turn-Around-Time (TAT) worklist feature, which adds new visual cues, worklist filtering, and color coding.
- Ziehm Imaging partnered with NXC Imaging, making Ziehm’s lineup of C-arm X-ray systems available through the upper Midwest medical imaging dealer, and expanding-upon NXC Imaging’s current lineup of Canon, Caresteam, and Hologic systems.
- Intelerad announced an initiative to expand its AI focus, beginning with an increased internal emphasis on AI and an expanded relationship with long-time partner Blackford, offering the Blackford Platform (accesses and manages medical image apps) as the first component of Intelerad’s Clinical Artificial Intelligence platform.
- PaxeraHealth updated its PaxeraVNA solution, with improvements intended to streamline data access, sharing, and exchanging across departments and sites, including an upgraded data life management module and an electronic dashboard for real-time data analysis.
- Carestream signed a DR conversion deal with Ohio’s Grand Lake Health System, adding two DRX-Revolution Mobile X-Ray Systems and upgrading five X-ray rooms with DRX-1 Systems, DRX Plus (video) Detectors, and DRX Core Detectors.
- Researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology announced a new technique for diagnosing concussions and other brain injuries, called Amplified MRI, which captures and magnifies real-time images of the brain in motion every time the heart beats as a way to identify abnormal brain movement.
- Laurel Bridge introduced its Waypoint Consolidated Modality Worklist software for mammography, which enhances existing fetching/routing workflow tools and enables consolidation of existing modality worklists, offering it as an add-on to other Laurel Bridge solutions or as a stand-alone enterprise modality worklist solution.
- Perceptive Navigation received a $3 million Phase IIB research grant to complete the development and clinical work required to commercialize its Vu-Path Ultrasound System, a miniaturized and forward-viewing ultrasound probe combined with an interventional channel for needles, guide wires, and other tools.