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Automated Means to a Connected End: Highlights from the American College of Cardiology Conference 2017March 28, 2017Enterprise platforms and the provision of real-time, business intelligence analytics are two main highlights observed at the American College of Cardiology Conference this year.
Consumerism in healthcare is about patients taking responsibility, not ownershipMarch 10, 2017The idea of digital health seems to represent a strong indication towards consumerism in healthcare – a notion that individuals take full ownership of their health, whether that is behavioral such as personal health monitoring, or quite literally e.g. ownership of medical records. Most of this represents little or no value in current time, because consumer ownership of healthcare does not change the engagement with the healthcare sector in any profound way. Surely there may be tons of health data stored somewhere in the care continuum, but it is neither applied in scale or meaningfully, nor is it considered to be so. There a many reasons for this including interoperability issues, workflow misalignment, lack of feasibility given current operational emphasis of healthcare providers, low quality data and many more.
Digital health presence at Mobile World Congress 2017March 10, 2017Connected health and the Internet of Medical Things (IOMT) have grown its presence in recent years at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This year’s focus was virtual reality (VR) applications in healthcare and the growing ecosystem of peripheral devices used for connected health monitoring.
Future technologies for old age go beyond the current scope of independent livingMarch 10, 2017Old age certainly brings its challenges in terms of wellbeing and overall health status. It affects the basic independence of people, limiting individuals in a variety of ways, and potentially disabling them in performing certain everyday tasks – that is at least the current perception of reaching old age. Despite creating millions of jobs in eldercare, the rapidly growing portion of the global population aged 65+, is causing a massive disequilibrium in supply and demand, for instance in Japan, where the ratio of an eldercare worker to an elder citizen is 1:4. Japan’s solution to this problem has been deploying robots, the so-called carebots, to serve a number of purposes including mobility, medication management, exercise, conversation and more. Honda, Panasonic and other major corporations are vested in this market.
A bumpy road ahead for the EMEA ultrasound market – Reflections from ECR 2017March 09, 2017The European Congress of Radiology (ECR) convened in Vienna on March 1–5 2017. ECR provided an opportunity for leaders in the ultrasound industry to meet and discuss the future of the region’s ultrasound market. The EMEA ultrasound market will face several barriers to growth in 2017. The upcoming presidential elections in Germany, France, and the Netherlands are already creating a lull in ultrasound system sales as these large governments prepare for transition. Shrinking budgets in both the public and private sectors are forcing healthcare providers to delay purchases of ultrasound systems, and increased competition from Asian-based manufacturers is causing additional disruption in the market.
ECR 2017: Radiology in bloomMarch 09, 2017The bejewelled skulls and vivid floral displays created a dramatic entrance to the 2017 European Congress of Radiology (ECR), located in the Austria Centre Vienna. Such a centre-piece certainly depicted the theme of the congress this year; ‘the flower gardens of radiology’, focusing on the importance of youth and dedication to young radiologists. The vast scientific programme, educational sessions and busy exhibition floors formed a perfect platform for a new generation of radiologists to flourish.
Are services the key to sustained profits?February 06, 2017The decline in average selling prices of X-ray equipment is nothing new. As a technology matures, and products using it are manufactured in larger quantities, they cost less to produce. In addition, more suppliers entering the market push prices down; also, intense cost pressure from healthcare purchasers have contributed to lower average selling prices.
Traditional ultrasound still dominates the global market, but non-traditional and point of care sales are trending upJanuary 05, 2017The way in which ultrasound systems are marketed and purchased across the world is changing. Increasingly, and especially in developed markets, ultrasound systems are being designed with a specific clinical application in mind. When ultrasound was first introduced as a medical imaging tool in the mid-20th century, healthcare providers used one system for all clinical applications.
Varex takes an early dose of acquisitionJanuary 05, 2017The spin-off into Varex Imaging Corporation is still to complete, yet Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) has agreed to acquire the medical imaging business of Perkin Elmer Inc. (NYSE: PKI), incorporating it into the publicly traded spin-off. The deal, with a value of $276 million, was announced on December 22nd 2016 and is expected to close after the planned separation of Varex from Varian at the end of January.
Alexa… Am I healthy?January 04, 2017Technology providers are pushing voice assistants to become a bigger part of consumers’ lives, and given the growing connectivity of things, voice assistants is set to play an operator role to give full control to the user. Up until now, voice assistants have been part of consumer electronics whether it is Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Now or Microsoft’s Cortana. These interactive and sometimes intelligent applications are now making their way to healthcare.
Bose makes hearing aids that aren’t hearing aidsJanuary 04, 2017Bose, the audio equipment company, has developed a new device for better hearing called Hearphones – its first product for the digital health market. Hearphones is a personal sound amplification product (PSAP) and is therefore not a regulated medical device, as opposed to devices marketed as hearing aids. From a technical standpoint, the difference is not significant, but where PSAPs mainly serve the purpose of amplification, hearing aids, a $5 billion market, offer treatment for various types of disabling hearing loss including hearing loss across certain frequency ranges, tinnitus, and more.
Fitbit in trouble – partnering with Medtronic to increase clinical footprintJanuary 04, 2017The last month of calendar year 2016 was busy for Fitbit. The company announced the acquisition of Pebble – an acquisition to enhance its smartwatch products of the future. More interestingly, from a digital health point of view, a partnership with Medtronic was announced. The partnership focuses on integrating data from Fitbit devices in managing diabetes. Diabetics using Medtronic’s iPro myLog mobile app will be able to take in activity and sleep data from Fitbit devices with the purpose of understanding how these metrics affect overall blood glucose levels. Doing this allows for additional precision of managing diabetes in many ways, including providing better care coordination, adjusting drug dosages, and is also an additional avenue of engagement with the patient. So far in 2017, Fitbit has announced the integration of its devices with Qualcomm Life’s 2net platform to enable UnitedHealthcare Motion members using Fitbit activity monitors.
As software becomes more intelligent, perhaps clinicians do not need to beDecember 07, 2016An increasing number of people are demanding healthcare services. This increase in demand requires additional clinical staff to process the growing number of patients; however, there remains a lack of qualified personnel in the healthcare industry around the globe. Despite more people entering the healthcare field for employment, the most recent figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show a shortage of approximately 7.2 million healthcare workers, and this figure is projected to reach as high as 12.9 million by 2035, which shows that the increase in healthcare personnel entering the workforce is insufficient in meeting the surge in demand.
Advanced Visualization, Virtual Reality and 3D Printing at RSNA 2016December 06, 2016Consumer interest in virtual reality (VR) technology and associated content continued to grow during 2016, with an estimated, forecast installed base of seven million headsets at the end of the year. Entertainment consumption habits, improved technology, inexpensive headwear, and an active start-up community provided a strong environment for VR adoption compared with just two years ago. While the largest category for funding and acquisitions in VR is game development, the medical vertical has also been working to integrate immersive technology. At RSNA 2016, both TeraRecon and EchoPixel were demonstrating integrated advanced visualization software with VR hardware, albeit with different strategies for applying the technologies to healthcare.
Breast screening and ABUS: an opportunity for radiologists to improve population health metricsDecember 06, 2016The 102nd Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America took place from 27 November to 2 December 2016 in Chicago. On Monday, 28 November, RSNA announced the results of a large study that found no evidence supporting age-based mammography cut-off.
MRI and CT at RSNA 2016December 06, 2016Innovation in healthcare is shifting towards healthcare IT and digital improvements, but at RSNA 2016, showcases for new MRI and CT equipment mainly focused on three different categories: streamlining and improving workflow, reducing scanning time; new technology pertaining to the main components of the equipment; and affordability.
New mobile and FPD market entrants – Highlights from RSNA 2016December 05, 2016The opening of the doors to RSNA once again marks the nearing of the end of another busy year in the healthcare technology industry. 2016 has been a year of mergers and acquisitions, changing business names, changes in reimbursement, and political mayhem.
Outpatient growth drives ultrasound equipment volumesNovember 03, 2016The global ultrasound imaging equipment market is estimated to have been worth $6.16 billion in 2015; an increase of 1.2% from 2014. This rate of growth is lower than previously forecast, which is primarily due to the impact of a strong US dollar and other foreign exchange fluctuations, which affected the sales of foreign US subsidiaries. The market also experienced a period of highly competitive pricing which lowered average sales prices (ASP), particularly in Latin America and Europe. For some vendors, this ASP erosion was further exacerbated by the effects of shifting foreign exchange rates. Stronger growth is predicted for 2016 because of new product launches from Carestream, Fukuda Denshi, Hitachi-Aloka, and VisualSonics (Fujifilm SonoSite), and because of increased volumes in point of care and obstetrics applications. On a unit volume basis, shipments were up by 4% over 2014. The results for 2016 are expected to be closer to a 5% increase. Growth in the market through 2020 is being driven by uptake of mid-range and high-end cart-based systems in both emerging and developed markets for use in traditional applications. Uptake will also be bolstered by further development of the use of compact ultrasound systems in point-of-care (POC) applications.
Interventional X-ray: Minimal procedures, maximum impactNovember 01, 2016Interventional X-ray systems are used for a variety of different procedures, including interventional cardiology, interventional radiology, electrophysiology, and neurology. Machines can be dedicated to certain procedures, or used for both cardiology and radiology interventions.
The Mammography Market is growing…but for how long?October 27, 2016The Mammography X-ray equipment market is growing at a rate of 5.6% globally in terms of unit shipments, but how long will that growth sustain, and what is driving it? There are many drivers of growth behind the mammography market, but the rate of change of technology is one of the main drivers.