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Q&A: GE Healthcare’s Areas of Focus for its Mammography Business in 2011

David Caumartin, General Manager for Mammography at GE Healthcare shares insights on the Company’s areas of focus for its mammography business in 2011.
What is GE Healthcare’s vision for mammography?
GE Healthcare’s vision is to develop advanced applications for our existing installed base systems, without having to replace the original equipment. We continue to demonstrate our commitment to helping our customers tackle the key challenges in breast imaging through both mammography and other diagnostic imaging technologies at an affordable cost.
Can you briefly explain what are the key challenges in mammography?
Today, the key challenges in mammography are imperfect sensitivity, leading to undetected breast cancers, and imperfect specificity, leading to false positive diagnoses.  We also believe that to maintain efficient and affordable healthcare, digital mammography needs to be made available without significantly increased workflow challenges for the clinician or healthcare provider.
Given the industry news on Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT), what is GE Healthcare’s focus for mammography in 2011 and beyond?
GE Healthcare is pleased to see that the FDA has approved a Digital Breast Tomosynthesis product that is now available in the United States.  Our focus has been and continues to be on connecting our customers with the right tools for confident decisions – especially given the fact that worldwide, more than 1.2 million people annually are diagnosed with breast cancer.

GE Healthcare believes that the primary role of DBT will be in breast cancer screening. A key challenge when performing screening mammography is keeping the radiation levels as low as possible.  As a result, our focus for DBT technology is for 3D imaging information at dose equivalent to a screening exam and without significantly increased workflow challenges for the clinician or healthcare provider.  Our vision is to deliver a DBT product that will have an equivalent screening dose as digital mammography does today.
How is GE’s “healthymagination” initiative and R&D investment driving your mammography innovation?
Innovation has always been a key word in our business. Since 1965, GE Healthcare has made significant progress in providing solutions for breast cancer detection and diagnosis that really brings a change to people’s lives.  In fact, GE Healthcare invests US$1 billion annually in global research and development to bring to market innovative tools. These tools can potentially help healthcare professionals diagnose disease at an early stage – which ultimately benefits the patient.

Today through GE’s “healthymagination” initiative, we continuously develop innovations across all of our GE Healthcare businesses to reduce costs, increase access and improve quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery around the globe.

For our mammography business, to help reduce cost and increase access, GE Healthcare believes in product upgradeability. Approximately 3,700 GE Healthcare Senographe® digital systems are currently being used in the world — more than 90% of them still work with their original detector, proving our commitment and our record of reliability for helping clinicians detect breast cancer.