December 05, 2013

1. Foreign flavor. The international presence seemed to be way up this year — in both attendance and exhibitors. Although RSNA could not provide figures from 2012 to compare with 2013, they said there were 9,551 international attendees at the show this year, out of a total of 48,991 participants. There were pavilions dedicated to Korean, German, and Japanese companies, a “France Presents” area split between two booths focusing on oncologic imaging, and of course a slew of foreign-based stand-alones. RSNA also did its part to support the worldwide presence: this year they expanded the Global Connection booth and offered sessions in Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. One OEM representative also told DOTmed News that translation services at the booth was becoming an increasing necessity.


2. Frozen organs. GE Healthcare’s big unveil at the show was a new 256 row/512 slice CT scanner — the 510(k) pending Revolution CT — which was built from the ground up. In addition to spatial resolution and low dose, the new scanner uses SnapShot Freeze motion correction technology to effectively image the heart in one beat.

Siemens Healthcare’s big news this year is a body MRI solution called FREEZEit, which is able to image the entire abdomen in about two seconds — enough time to freeze motion even if there is free breathing. Motion has been a big obstacle with body MRI. Siemens’ FREEZEit technology received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in early November.

3. The cloud has come back. In 2011, talk of the cloud was everywhere. At last year’s show, whether it was because companies were concerned about “cloud fatigue” or because the big updates were still in the works, talk of the cloud was limited. At RSNA 2013, the cloud was back with a vengeance. Nearly every IT Health company we spoke with had updates or brand new products tied into cloud-based solutions.

Interestingly, vendors also see cloud-based solutions and VNAs as another way to reduce dose — still a big concern in imaging. If an imaging procedure is ordered, having the ability to check if a similar procedure was done cuts down on needless exams, thereby reducing additional radiation exposure to the patient. However, a big part of that challenge is being able to grab all similar images for a given patient even though there may be different patient numbers assigned to an individual depending on where they’ve had procedures done. So software providers have started to depend on increasingly unique levels of identification to scrub lists and ultimately provide the needed information. Unique identifiers might start with first and last name, date of birth and then move on to social security number.

4. Gadgets and gizmos aplenty. Many of the products at RSNA showed how technological advances on the consumer electronics side are slowly but surely making their way into health care — by no means a new trend, but one that’s rapidly accelerating and making machines sleeker, smaller and more efficient. For example, Samsung’s flat panel detectors carried over TFT technology already used in its retail products to increase image quality while lowering dose, while Sony, which dominates 80 percent of the market share for ultrasound recorders, leveraged its consumer electronics technology to release a new model of its self-proclaimed world’s smallest digital ultrasound printer — the UP-D897.
5. Ultrasound front and center. Not only did Konica Minolta announce that it’s throwing its hat in the ultrasound market for the first time ever with the release of its Sonimage P3 hand-held ultrasound device, and not only did Samsung debut an expanded ultrasound family of products to further signal its commitment to the diagnostic imaging market — it’s also on the minds of breast cancer experts looking to use it for the first time as a dense-breast screening tool with GE’s Invenia Automated Breast Ultrasound System. In short, ultrasound is the modality of the moment because it hits all the sweet spots for health care administrators: it’s low-dose, cost efficient, and reimbursable.

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