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RSNA 2011: A Snapshot of the Year’s Premier Medical Imaging Event


GE Healthcare launched the Discovery IGS 730 floor and ceiling mounted scanner.

Whether you’ve been able to attend the event itself or could only join remotely via the internet and social media, you’ll have noticed the sheer quantity of headline-grabbing products and research showcased at that the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference. GE Healthcare was there physically and in cyberspace (as you’ll find out later on). Here is some of the company’s most memorable news and highlights from the show.

Even More Excellent Interventional X-ray

Traditionally, RSNA is all about groundbreaking new technologies that improve the patient experience, quality of care and the productivity of radiologists, and this year was no exception. GE Healthcare announced a new category of interventional imaging system: the Discovery IGS 730.

The Discovery IGS 730 is the first interventional X-ray system designed to capture the advantages of both floor- and ceiling-mounted systems. With laser-guided motion technology on a motorized mobile gantry for predictable and precise trajectories, Wide Bore 3D for easy 3D images, and more than 20 advanced applications available, the Discovery IGS 730 is positioned for a new era of interventional procedures. The significance of this innovation to interventional imaging is being compared to the introduction of flat panel technology [1].

A Bold New Discovery

GE Healthcare also highlighted another major healthcare innovation: SenoBright Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM) technology, recently cleared by the FDA for use in the United States. SenoBright CESM produces images that illuminate and highlight contrast-enhanced areas, helping physicians accurately diagnose breast cancer. With SenoBright already in use in several countries, GE estimates that by 2020 more than 1 million women worldwide will be examined using SenoBright.

Low Dose Comes Up Again

Dose is still high on the agenda, and GE Healthcare announced a new $300 million investment into research and development for low-dose technologies, encompassing CT, X-ray, software and other low-dose technologies and education. In the last 15 years, GE Healthcare has invested $800 million in low dose research.

A Vision in Ultrasound

GE Healthcare also found time to launch three new products and updates to its ultrasound range, each designed to help radiologists produce more detailed and informative images in less time.

The first, LOGIQ S8, is a lightweight, portable ultrasound system that can fit into small exam rooms and be easily transported within a medical facility. It is designed for imaging across a variety of clinical areas including abdominal, breast, vascular, musculoskeletal and cardiology, and incorporates new proprietary GE technologies, such as S-Agile Ultrasound — a technique that uses flexible clinically-based models of the body to help deliver consistently clear images for virtually all body types.

The other pieces of ultrasound news from GE Healthcare included LOGIQ E9 updates to further improve image quality, expanded elastography applications and enhance needle-tracking features, and a new release of GE’s ViewPoint 6.1 imaging software.

All a-Twitter at RSNA

Finally, GE Healthcare had something special in store for RSNA’s Twitter users, a ‘tweet chat’ called Beyond Image Quality: The Future of Digital Imaging. The tweet chat involved asking participants to submit questions and chat live to GE Healthcare Chief Technology Officer Mike Harsh and Executive Medical Director for GE Healthcare Americas Douglas Hansell. The questions came in thick and fast, and there’s clearly a great interest in GE Healthcare’s products and the future direction of GE technology. Topics ranged from predictions on the future of imaging and diagnosis to the impact of developing markets.

The tweet chat also provided a great opportunity to gather opinions: GE Healthcare asked the participants ‘where can medical imaging make the most difference in healthcare?’ Improving patient care and improving patient comfort scored zero, while increasing provider productivity received 17 percent of the vote. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, an overwhelming 83 percent told us that that ‘all of the above’ were important. Not a shocking result, but a further confirmation that radiologists have multiple priorities that can only be satisfied by increasingly sophisticated technology and intelligent applications.

However, when asked ‘what’s the most pressing need in medical imaging technology?’ 60 percent of respondents said mobility was the most important. A sure sign that the current explosion in mobile and ultraportable devices for healthcare will continue into the future.

Patient Experience

Let’s not forget that medical imaging is often the first point of contact with a medical procedure, and the experience can set the tone for successive treatments. GE Healthcare is always working hard to develop imaging equipment that is technically better, but it also looks to keep a close eye on how it can improve the overall patient experience and help physicians deliver the best possible care in the most productive manner.

Here’s to another year of radiological achievement and technological advancements. We look forward to seeing you at RSNA 2012!

[1] Discovery IGS 730 is 510k pending with FDA, and is not available for sale in the United States.