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Ultrasound technology is getting across-the-board updates

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | July 22, 2014
Emergency Medicine Stroke Ultrasound
From the July 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“The trend line isn’t probably as steep as we would have predicted,” says Brian Murphy, vice president of ultrasound marketing and sales for Esaote.

Health care providers are still working under the volume-based approach and can be less willing to invest in ultrasound, Murphy says.

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“There are a lot of transitions going on,” Murphy says. “Physician practices are being purchased by hospitals, people are still adapting to the Affordable Care Act. When that happens, I do believe ultrasound is a perfect storm.”

Point-of-care diagnostics is expected to be a main driver in the marketplace. Manufacturers continue to come out with advances, looking to expand the use of ultrasound in emergency care. There have also been new, FDA-approved products for fusion imaging used in prostate cancer biopsy as well as liver and other abdominal interventions, and also a new product on the market from GE Healthcare for automated breast ultrasound.

Harvey Klein, the president of New York City-based Klein Biomedical, notes that even the fast-growing musculoskeletal market will likely reach its plateau.

“It can’t be growing 20 to 30 percent in a couple of years,” Klein says. “At some point in time there’s going to be saturation.”

Ultrasound for emergency care
Samsung, which entered the ultrasound market in 2010 with the acquisition of Medison, is hoping to expand in the fast-growing point of care segment. Doug Ryan, group vice president for health and medical equipment at Samsung’s enterprise business division, says the company has begun to work in the emergency medicine space, and has been doing a lot of work in emergency medical services, where X-ray and CT are the key imaging modalities.

The company is working with some major medical groups to test the Samsung PT60A, a highly portable and lightweight tablet-based technology for use in triage.

“It’s really going to be a high impact trial for EMS using portable ultrasound to triage patients,” Ryan says.

Importance of workflow automation
Workflow automation is important to health care organizations, notes KLAS Research in its May ultrasound report, which surveyed 178 providers to find out which ultrasound vendors and technologies are delivering the best value and time savings. This year, GE Healthcare led the pack with its Logiq E9, saving an average of seven minutes per scan, the most time across all scan types. Providers praised the Scan Assistant software and the ergonomic features such as ability to easily raise and lower the monitor.

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