Ludovic d’Apréa, Carestream Manager, France-Belgium-Luxembourg Region
With the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in Vienna, Austria, approaching fast in March 2013, it’s appropriate to take a look at the issues and challenges the industry faces, as well as what attendees can expect from Carestream at the show.
Pressing challenges facing radiologists and radiology solution providers in Europe today.
The situation is very difficult at the moment for many of our customers. The UK has recently decided to decrease healthcare expenditure by £20 billion within 5 years. The Italian government has implemented a law that forces hospitals to save EUR 8.5 billion over the next few years. With very few exceptions, unemployment in the Euro 15 zone is high. Many countries are running huge deficits. We’ll see all these healthcare-related austerity programmes gain momentum in 2013.
Parallel to that, a longer-lasting trend, the demographic change, is becoming more serious, which means, for radiology, that the demand for high quality imaging is in fact increasing. But healthcare providers cannot simply invest in imaging in order to meet demand. In countries like the UK, France, Italy and Spain, there are strong regulations in place now that make investments difficult. We have national purchase organisations in many European countries that negotiate prices. All this makes it far from easy for healthcare IT providers in general, be it in imaging or in other fields.
Ways in which Carestream can respond to these challenges.
One of our biggest strengths is our ability to understand the radiology market. The needs of customers and their financial situations are very diverse in Europe. For a company like Carestream, this means that we have to understand diversity and be able to provide solutions that are adaptable to individual needs. On a macro level, we will certainly see a bigger demand for financing through the vendor and for cloud-based services. But on a micro level, we will have to be able to tailor our solutions to all radiologists in all countries, whether they have mature markets or not.
Carestream solutions being presented at the ECR 2013.
A showstopper in the segment of digital capture will be our new DRX 2530C detector*, which will be demonstrated as a work-in-progress. The new caesium iodide detector is being designed to offer high efficiency for dose-sensitive paediatric, orthopaedic and general radiology exams. All part of the DRX-1 system that allows for the easy conversion of existing analogue rooms to digital radiology.
The DRX 2530C will be a wireless, cassette-sized detector that allows fast and easy positioning in paediatric incubator trays and offers higher DQE (detective quantum efficiency), which can lead to lower dose requirements than CR cassettes or gadolinium scintillator detectors. It is also ideal for orthopaedic tabletop imaging, because handling is easy and positioning is highly flexible, aiding exams such as knee, elbow, skull and other exams that require a patient to hold the detector or that require a smaller field of view. Through the whole DRX-1 system we utilise existing equipment and give the customer a chance to go digital without forcing any investment in really big solutions.
Overall, the market will evolve towards cloud-based solutions, especially in the field of picture archiving. With the Vue portfolio, we are well positioned to meet these needs. In Europe, we are certainly one of the leaders in this technology. But again, we don’t force any customer into cloud-based services. It is an option.
At ECR 2013, we will focus on our new MyVue portal that allows Vue customers to securely share images with patients. Through the portal, patients are given the opportunity to download to PCs, laptops, or iPads and share their images with whomever they like. There is no longer any need to burn to a CD. This makes it easier for the patient, and at the same time it means less work for the radiologist.
MyVue is currently available as an option for Vue PACS and Vue Archive users and is now available for order as a Vue Cloud Service. The Vue Cloud Service offers the flexibility of a monthly fee and can accommodate rapid expansion without the need for healthcare facilities to fund and manage network expansions to accommodate additional patient users.
What are you most looking forward to seeing at the ECR 2013? Are there specific products or services that are on your radar this year?
Based on an article originally produced for HealthTechWire.
*Not commercially available
Visit us at booth #211 at ECR 2013 to see the medical imaging and healthcare information technology systems that are at work in 90 percent of hospitals worldwide. We’ll be holding demonstrations of our DRX-Revolution, Mobile X-ray System, Vue Cloud Services and MyVue patient engagement portal.