by Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | October 22, 2014
From the September 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
The upcoming Medicare rate cuts have been driving movement in the CT market. While there are dose-lowering solutions, Silverman thinks it will still become important for hospitals to make sure they have SmartDose-compliant scanners. Private insurance companies could follow Medicare’s lead, and people are becoming more educated consumers of health care.
“There’s plenty of motivation to replace old CT scanners,” Silverman says. “Everyone wants lower dose and it’s going to drive the market for a very long time.”
Neusoft, a China-based company that introduced its products to the U.S. market in 2006, also focuses on low-slice scanners, and introduced its 16-slice model in 2008. Chris McHan, president of Neusoft Medical Systems USA, says both its 16- and 64-slice scanners are compliant with the MITA Smart Dose standards.
“If it’s an older model then our competition is requiring an upgrade,” McHan says. “You don’t have to spend extra money to upgrade a Neusoft machine.”
Neusoft, which competes against some up-and-coming CT scanner manufacturers in China, is the only one from that country to market its products in the U.S.
CT in the OR
A Minnesota company called IMRIS manufactures a unique ceiling-mounted intraoperative CT solution that uses the Siemens SOMATOM Definition AS technology to produce high quality images at the lowest dose. The Smart Dose-compliant product brings the CT into the operating room on demand using ceiling mounted rails, so the CT easily moves in and out of the OR, and over the patient on the table, as needed. The product has been on the market since the summer of 2013.
IMRIS CEO Jay Miller says that if dose management is important in diagnostic CT, it’s even more important in the OR, where there are also nursing staff and anesthesiologists present.
“Everyone in the room, including the patient, will benefit from that,” Miller says. Once the machinery is installed, staff goes through days, and sometimes even weeks, of training. Miller says the company’s competitors mainly use older devices lacking sophisticated dose management technology.
Dr. David Enterline, chief of neuroradiology and associate professor of radiology at Duke University, says the device has been used in his facility for spinal surgery. Enterline says that while you don’t need the same image quality in the OR as you would for a diagnostic CT, there’s an advantage to using a well-established and mature scanner with state of the art dose reduction techniques.
“You can dial down dosing, but it allows you to see the actual component of the bone that you’re putting a pedicle screw into,” Enterline says. “The technology of imaging has really changed and the need for imaging in the operating room is very clear.”