“If you’re not innovating right now and you’re counting on a traditional method that would be a strategic mistake.”
Ambra Health CEO, Morris Panner, with some guidance to the rest of the industry on how to prepare for Google’s growing healthcare presence.
The Imaging Wire
Modern Healthcare took a deep look into Google’s push into the healthcare market, exploring a growing industry belief that the search giant is poised make a big impact and issuing a warning that traditional players must innovate quickly to avoid disruption. Google parent company Alphabet is primarily expected to develop healthcare data and analytics products, combining its data processing capabilities with the know-how of its growing staff of healthcare industry executives (former Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove, U of Chicago’ Dr. Michael Howell, U of Utah’s Dr. Vivian Lee) and field of health and wellness partners (NIH, Ambra, Fitbit). The article suggested that Google will make partnerships a core part of its healthcare strategy, suggesting that companies should adopt open and easy-to-integrate architecture in advance of Google’s potential healthcare expansion. One could argue that Google does not have a record of directly competing with traditional players when it enters markets like healthcare (at least in a traditional way), but there is no doubt that an increased focus from Google would bring both challenges and opportunities for today’s healthcare players. The same could be said for the growing role of Amazon, Walmart, Apple, and Microsoft in healthcare, and you better believe they’re coming too.
Konica Minolta Rolls-Out UGPro Solution Initiative
Konica Minolta announced its new UGPro Solution initiative intended to expand its support for ultrasound guided procedures (UGP) and grow its overall role in the Musculoskeletal (MSK) segment. The most tangible part of the initiative is a focus on combining Konica Minolta’s ultrasounds with complimentary 3rd party UGP/MSK products, highlighted by its April agreement to offer HydroCision’s TenJet Percutaneous Tenotomy System in combination with its own SONIMAGE HS1 ultrasound. Konica Minolta will couple this portfolio expansion with a training/education campaign to help healthcare providers evolve their own UGP/MSK operations. Given that the HydroCision deal is four months old and training tours are pretty common, the actual impact of this week’s announcement will likely be defined by how Konica Minolta’s UGPro Solution portfolio and program evolves going forward.
EchoNous Brings Style to the Hospital Stand
EchoNous brought us a rare style-centric healthcare announcement (and product) this week, introducing the new AI Station hospital stand, intended for use with its ultrasound-based Uscan bladder scanner and EchoNous Vein vascular access tools (plus future EchoNous products). Designed by former Nike creative director, Dave Schenone, the AI Station is positioned as “a complete reinvention of a hospital stand,” combining aesthetics, convenience, and functionality. The appeal of some of these qualities may be in the eye of the beholder, but the AI Station is officially the first interesting hospital stand to be announced since we started covering imaging, which says something about the care that EchoNous puts into its product design and product marketing.
- Samsung NeuroLogica beat out 50 companies to win a fixed-price contract to supply the US Department of Defense with radiology systems, accessories, and training. The contract is active for five years with an optional 5-year extension and could be worth $250 million.
- Signify Research detailed the significant changes underway in the $1.3 billion advanced visualization (AV) market, brought about by the advent of enterprise imaging and the increased popularity of universal viewers (among other factors). Signify found that demand for AV platforms in developed markets is “no longer increasing,” while new platform-enhancing AV tools will grow by over 4% through 2022, leading to greater platform agnosticism and a trend towards integration and segment convergence. Signify gives plenty more details, and it’s well worth a read if you’re in the visualization and viewing arena.
- Signify Research forecast that the medical imaging AI market will surpass $2 billion by 2023 (vs. ~ $450m in 2018), driven by an increasingly strong value proposition (productivity, accuracy, personalization, outcomes), lower computing costs, greater radiologist adoption, improving AI tools, increased funding, and the growing involvement of large companies. However, the firm did highlight a number of AI adoption barriers that must be overcome, including a lack of regulation, the need for more validation studies, insufficient workflow integration, and an immature distribution channel.
- Speaking of increased AI funding, Israeli ultrasound AI startup, Dia Imaging Analysis, announced the completion of a new $5 million funding round. Dia will use the funding to develop new solutions, expand its core team, and create a support network in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Dia’s on-premises/offline software is intended for small and handheld ultrasounds, analyzing scans to detect patterns and help doctors understand the scanned image.
- Clear Image Devices launched its new Multiview Positioning Platform, a patient positioning platform highlighted for its support for multiple weight-bearing views of lower extremities, reportedly cutting imaging time in half.
- South Korean researchers developed an AI algorithm that identifies tumors in colorectal cancer patient histology images with 93% accuracy and 92% specificity. This is the latest in a series of successful AI demonstrations using histology images, but the first for colorectal cancer.
- Australian medical imaging startup, 4Dx, announced the development of its new 4DxV software, which leverages existing fluoroscopy tech to convert x-ray images into detailed airflow studies, reportedly allowing better lung disease diagnosis than current techniques (Spirometry tests and CT scans). The company is finalizing a Series B funding round and is preparing for an FDA 510(k) submission.
- Major semiconductor manufacturer, STMicroelectronics, expanded its ultrasound market presence with the launch of its new STHV1600 16-channel pulser, joining the company’s 4- and 8-channel pulser transmitters.
- US-based teleradiology services company, REAL Radiology, acquired Missouri-based 24/7 teleradiology provider, Argus Radiology Consultants. The acquisition combines two radiologist owned-and-operated companies and is intended to allow REAL Radiology to expand its business.
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- Agfa Enterprise Imaging integrates clinical videos and images into a single application
- Analogic’s BK Ultrasound bkSpecto urology ultrasound system combines image quality, speed, usability, and small footprint
- Canon Aquilion Precision, the world’s first Ultra-High Resolution CT system
- Caresteam touts benefits of weight bearing CT imaging
- Fujifilm’s FDR AQRO mobile x-ray combines high sensitivity with small size and low-dos
- GE’s Every woman. Every body. Every town. roadshow brings the company’s breast health technologies and message to centers across the country.
- Hitachi white paper on the business benefits of high-field MRI.
- Hologic’s 3Dimension Mammography System leads with 3D imaging and patient comfort.
- IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review cognitive data review tool for more accurate patient records.
- Konica Minolta publishes latest Kontours issue.
- Philips’ new HealthSuite Insights AI platform curates and analyzes healthcare data and offers tools to build and operate AI-based solutions.
- Purview survey assesses medical image management effectiveness.
- Samsung’s RS85A premium ultrasound combines image quality with advanced ergonomics
- Shimaduz MobileDaRt Evolution MX8 premium mobile x-ray
- Siemens’ new Somatom Go CTs add cardiac and image-guided capabilities