by John R. Fischer
, Staff Reporter | November 22, 2019
United Imaging Healthcare (UIH) has teamed up with Shared Medical Services (SMS) to introduce the first mobile digital PET/CT scanner in the U.S.
The China-based enterprise will deploy one of its uMI 550 digital PET/CT systems on to one of SMS’ mobile diagnostic imaging vehicles to provide necessary testing to patients across the country.
"This is a fully equipped digital mobile PET/CT with all available advanced options for scanning oncology patients with NEMA resolution of 2.9mm," Michael Coulter, SVP Modality Business Management, United Imaging, told HCB News. "The mobile routes for the first few systems are currently being developed by Shared Medical Services and will be announced and begin service as soon as mid-Q1 of 2020."
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Digital PET/CT imaging technology has traditionally been restricted mainly to research centers, due to its enormous costs, making a mobile option unfeasible. More than two million clinical PET and PET/CT scans were performed in the U.S. in 2018, according to IMV market research.
The introduction of the UIH/SMS mobile scanner is expected to increase the standard of care in all markets, but especially rural areas, which cover 97 percent of the nation’s land area and contain close to 20 percent of the population (~60 million), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of these people, on average, live 10.5 miles from their nearest hospital, compared to 4.4 miles and 5.6 miles for urban and suburban Americans, respectively.
The digital technology will also enable greater access to diagnostic cancer detection and staging tools, and improve visibility of small lesions.
"There will most definitely be more United Imaging Digital PET/CT mobiles coming to the U.S. market," said Coulter. "Though SMS is once again an early adopter in the mobile market, the uMI 550 Digital PET/CT is available to any U.S. mobile provider or individual organization seeking to offer their community superior Digital PET/CT services in a mobile configuration."
UIH recently installed the first clinical uMI 550 digital PET/CT system
at Southwest X-Ray LP in El Paso, Texas.
The UIH/SMS mobile digital PET/CT unit will be displayed in December at the Radiological Society of North American annual meeting in Chicago.