Quoted from http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/4904:
This new technology was featured this week at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual meeting in San Francisco.
Quoted from http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/4904:
This new technology was featured this week at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual meeting in San Francisco.
This morning I was speaking to an old customer who is looking to do some ultrasound screening. She wants a great image but a low price (who doesn't?). All she needs is a stationary machine. Normally, you think about some of the newer stuff that's come out.... and I've been so focused on what's new in the industry, that you forget how good a price some of that old stuff is right now.
Just a few years ago, the ATL HDI 5000 with SONOCT and XRES was, arguably, the best imaging machine for vascular, OB, GYN, and small parts. Then its successor came out: the Philips iU22, as did a whole slew of Windows-based ultrasounds. So, these new consoles with USB ports, more ergonomic consoles, 4D, and DVD writers made the whole industry go "OOOOH" and "AAAHHH" over these cool new toys. However, the image quality wasn't a night-and-day improvement over the old stock.... only the operating system and ergonomics were the major changes. So what happens to the old powerhouses? The hospitals that are addicted to getting the "latest and greatest" are trading in their perfectly good ATL HDI 5000 systems with outstanding image quality to get these ergonomic, flat-screened "wow factor" windows machines.
And now, our industry has a ton of these HDI 5000 systems. This is the time to buy one. Their image quality rivals most systems out there, you can get DICOM and incredible imaging quality for, quite literally, 10-20%% of what you would have paid just 5-6 years ago! It's so bad, that some manufacturers are actually sending these to the recycler if they're not the top-of-the-line system (ie: SonoCT and XRES), they give no trade-in value and simply send them to a recycling company. Yes, there are that many out there, and you should be taking advantage of it!
If you are looking for an ultrasound and you want to turn a profit quickly, you should really take a look at the HDI 5000. It's drawbacks? Well, it's an older user interface and it's a bit slow when you want to change the probes or modes. We're talking a couple seconds here, not 5 minutes. It transfers to the network quickly and can save images in DICOM format... this was the industry leader just a few short years ago!
And what about service? These things are easy to service and parts are getting cheaper all the time. Outfits like my company have tons of parts for these machines and they're not going away any time soon. To toot our own horn a bit, the GPS Medical service team is loaded with experts on these systems, and we can even repair the monitors and circuit boards for these! Call us today at 866-347-7633 to get a quote. Tell us what you'll need to do, and chances are you'll spend under $30k for a loaded ATL HDI 5000 ultrasound with image quality that rivals systems that cost more than $100,000!
An ultrasound that can be mounted to an IV pole, wall, or ceiling? Pretty cool stuff. Following the idea of a tablet PC, of sorts, SonoSite introduced its "S" series of ultrasounds that are essentially a thick LCD screen with a couple knobs and buttons. Lacking a keyboard, these are very specific ultrasounds (S-FAST for emergency physicians and S-NERVE for anesthesiology). These are cool units that took some marbles to create. They don't have a keyboard and run just a few probes. This could be a dream for the emergency physician or a frustration. My guess: fewer buttons, imaging only = quick exams, short learning curve, and efficiency.
The coolest thing is that these units can be mounted to a wall mount, ceiling, IV pole or whatever you can come up with, eliminating the need for a cart and place for the keyboard.
I know I sound like a broken record here, but whomever at SonoSite performs market research must spend a heck of a lot of time in the ER and with anesthesiologists. And someone within that company is listening. In a market that is often force-fed and imitated, these two units are really quite cool and innovative. Sure, they could be a flop, but I'll guess a simple demo in (particularly anesthesiology) the office makes for a relatively easy sale over other SonoSite, Zonare, or GE products. Is anyone else out there watching what these SonoSite guys are doing? Are they learning? The full article on this system can be found here.
Quoted from http://www.sonosite.com/Press-Releases/news-2007-10-15.html:
BOTHELL, WA, October 15, 2007 - SonoSite, Inc. (Nasdaq:SONO), the world leader in hand-carried ultrasound, today introduced the S-Nerve procedural tool, the first ultrasound device custom-designed to support the specific needs of anesthesiologists who perform regional anesthesia. SonoSite is showcasing the new S-Nerve product at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ (ASA) annual meeting in San Francisco and expects to begin customer shipments in the fourth quarter of this year.
A study that took six years in the making shows a 10% improvement in in-vetro fertilization, which is very good news for makers of 4D ultrasound. Largely used in research and "entertainment" purposes, the OB/GYN market has been looking for more applicable uses for 4D ultrasound. While very helpful in many studies, its not-so-real-time "real time 4D" has proved to be challenging in its cost-effectiveness as a diagnostic tool. This is the likely the first in many justifications for 4D ultrasound imaging in the OB/GYN market. The full article is found here.
Quoted from http://www.healthimaging.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8165&Itemid=89:
3D/4D ultrasound improves IVF
The pregnancy rate for patients undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is improved when doctors use advanced 3D/4D imaging to guide the placement of embryos to the point where the endometrium is most receptive to implantation, according to a study presented today at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
The study, “Maximal Implantation Potential (MIP) Point -- Suggested Target for Optimal Embryo Placement Within the Uterine Cavity During Embryo Transfer,” was led by Robert Gergely, MD.
Gergely has identified a new embryo placement target as the point where the fallopian tubes would intersect if they were extended beyond their natural length. The new target, or MIP point, is where embryos typically implant and develop in natural pregnancies.
The six-year retrospective, observational study, conducted at the 3D Sonography Center of Beverly Hills, evaluated 5,073 patients with a mean age of 38.3 years who received IVF using 3D/4D-guided embryo transfer. In each case, embryo placement was targeted at the MIP point.
The patients participating in the study achieved an overall pregnancy rate of 40.34 percent, which is 10.04 percent higher than the rate achieved prior to the introduction of the 3D/4D-guided MIP point technique in 2001. Earlier study results based on 1,222 patients were published in the August 2005 issue of the journal, Fertility and Sterility.
As a surprise to probably no-one, GE and SonoSite are each claiming to be number 1 in the hand carried ultrasound market. With similar worldwide revenue numbers, the two compete head-to-head in this fast-growing market. While the market is similar, the machines are decidedly different. With GE squeezing its large machines into versatile laptop versions, SonoSite continues to pride itself on its market knowledge and easy-to-use, fast-booting, durable systems that are critical to its target market. As mentioned here before, it will be interesting to see how SonoSite handles GE's relentless pounding into this market with plenty of solid machines into this market. In the full article that you can read here there's also a mention of the not-often-seen Zonare, a company that builds systems that operate as console and handheld systems. Zonare seems to rely more on its sales force than traditional methods such as a good website or frequent newsworthy press-releases. Zonare has a very good concept and is led by knowledgeable industry insiders, however it seems Zonare has forgotten to tell its marketing department.
The article also mentions that GE includes its service revenues in its overall revenue numbers. This is an important consideration. As a company involved heavily in service, we've found the following to be true:
- SonoSite systems are really rock-solid. Believe the hype. We don't have problems with these and it allows us to sell them for less because of its 5-year warranty and incredible toughness.
- GE's systems do have problems, albeit far fewer than we expected. GE's transducers are converted from their console units, and although they don't withstand the drop-test as SonoSite's probes, we don't have many warranty claims on these either.
- When someone is working in a problem-prone field where multiple risk factors are at hand, such as: Multiple users, mobile situations, and hurried situations such as the emergency room, we recommend the SonoSite because it can handle a fall and dust and dirt don't have the same impact on the system.
It won't be much of a surprise if GE creates a more durable long-warranted system, nor will it be a surprise when SonoSite starts creating more high-end customizable systems with its move to Windows CE Embedded as its operating system. We'll also be watching Zonare to see what kind of impact it has on the market as Siemens and Philips continue to sleep at the wheel.
Quoted from http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20071015/BIZ/710150038:
SonoSite, GE have competing claims as market leader
The battle to lead the growing compact ultrasound industry has raged for five years between SonoSite Inc. and GE Healthcare.
SonoSite had the head start, getting to market first with its system in 1999. GE's first hand-carried model debuted in 2002. They've become popular because of their performance, compact size and lower price -- typically $40,000 to $90,000, compared to several times that for a big ultrasound system.
As with any good battle, there's even disagreement about who is ahead and where.
GE and SonoSite are neck-and-neck in worldwide sales, at least according to available figures from the companies. SonoSite took in revenue of $171 million during 2006, while GE reported its compact ultrasound sales totaled $174 million.
"Worldwide, it's pretty close, with GE probably ahead," said Harvey Klein, president of New York-based Klein Biomedical Consultants Inc. "In the U.S., SonoSite is definitely No. 1."
Makers of contrast agents GE and Bristol-Myers Squibb took another hit this week as the FDA is requesting a black box warning on contrast agents.
Quoted from http://www.auntminnie.com/index.asp?Sec=sup&Sub=ult&pag=dis&ItemId=77838&wf=2119:
WASHINGTON (Reuters), Oct 9 - U.S. regulators will soon alert doctors about reports of deaths and serious reactions following the use of certain imaging agents to help diagnose heart problems, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials said on Monday.
The contrast agents, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's Definity and General Electric Co's Optison, are used in echocardiography. The FDA has been investigating reports of deaths and serious cardiopulmonary reactions after people were injected with either of the products, FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley said.
"The agency will soon be issuing information to healthcare professionals to alert them to these serious risks and to provide guidance regarding the safe use of this contrast agent," Riley said.
The FDA also has asked the manufacturers to update the product labels and the companies have agreed, Riley said.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the FDA plans, quoted unnamed sources saying the products were expected to carry a "black box" warning, the strongest type for medical products. Riley said she could not say whether the FDA had requested a black box for the information.
Last week I received another phone call from an investment firm looking for information about an ultrasound company. This one surprised me a bit... he was looking for information on Aloka, a company I've not mentioned here. I had to tell him that I didn't know much, and they're typically listed in the "Other" category in any marketshare data I've seen ("other" being about 6 percent of the market that includes companies such as Biosound, Zonare, and 5 or 6 other names including Aloka). They're a fine company with a (much) lesser-known name, but I imagine they're more popular in international markets. Sorry Aloka, I just haven't heard much from your company other than what I've seen in the veterinary markets.
So I decided to look into Aloka a bit and visited their website. I saw that they were releasing three new ultrasounds and tried to get more information... but I got bored and frustrated trying to get any information. Its website is anemic and hard to follow, and their compact systems suffer from an outdated user interface. They've been known well in my market (the used ultrasound market) for veterinary applications, and at one time, it was THE system for vets... but that was before veterinarians started into Big Budget ultrasound systems. I didn't mention this much to the gentleman on the phone, because it sparked me to look... what I found is that they have quite a few systems that look impressive, but Aloka's marketing is severly lacking... this is not a good time when GE, Philips, SonoSite, and Siemens are pushing their products hard with motivated sales teams and large marketing budgets (are you listening Zonare?).
Quoted from http://www.healthimaging.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8018&Itemid=89:
Aloka to introduce three new ultrasound systems
Health Imaging News | October 3, 2007 | New Products
Diagnostic ultrasound manufacturer Aloka will unveil three new models of its ProSound Systems at the 17th World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, held in Florence, Italy, Oct. 7-11.
The three new products include: the ProSound alpha 7, a compact ultrasound system; the ProSound 3500SX, an upgraded color system; and the ProSound 6, a new gray-scale ultrasound system, according to the Wallingford, Conn.-based company.
Quoted from http://health.howstuffworks.com/ultrasound.htm:
The Associated Press has picked up a story on the importance of portable ultrasound and its ability to see inside the body quickly and easily. it comes on the heels of the Acuson P10 release, which has been the focus of a very intense marketing campaing by Acuson.
The P10 is an interesting ultrasound, which was overlooked by many because of its size and inability to garner any reimbursements from physicians. As its being marketed, however, is for those who aren't looking for reimbursements as seen in the many articles recently released by Acuson. There's also a video released on the P10, which can be found here, the video is decent, and a fairly smart piece of "social networking" marketing we're seeing so much of these days.
Quoted from http://www.ohio.com/lifestyle/health/10308007.html:
MADISON, WIS.: What if your doctor could swipe a wand over your neck and reveal whether you have hidden heart disease?
That is now possible in places other than the sick bay of the starship Enterprise.
Miniature ultrasound machines are starting to make their way into ordinary doctors' offices, where they may someday be as common as stethoscopes and EKGs. A pocket-sized one weighing less than 2 pounds hit the market last week.
Some of these devices can make images of neck arteries, which offer a ''window'' to heart arteries that cannot easily be seen. If the neck vessels are clogged, doctors know that those around the heart probably are, too, and that treatment or more testing is needed.
Day 1, Q4, SonoSite announces its next-generation ultrasound the M-Turbo, the MicroMaxx successor. I think most of us expected to see it only at RSNA, but apparently SonoSite was ready for this and is looking to make a big impact in Q4.
I haven't yet seen it live, but I'm interested to see how this stacks up against the MicroMaxx... particularly because the underlying architecture is quite different than past SonoSite machines. One of SonoSite's problems and benefits in the past was its use of the VXWorks operating system, which allowed it to boot quickly and provided a very stable operating system. On the M-Turbo, SonoSite has moved to Windows CE 6.0 Embedded, which is a huge change that allows SonoSite to compete more directly with GE's ultrasound machines. It also allows for easy transfer of files to USB memory stick, easy setup of 3rd party printers and devices, etc. The concern has always been: what kind of boot time would it be with Windows heavy overhead? Well, SonoSite still claims a very fast bootup time, showing 15 seconds for the M-Turbo, which is an impressive feat with Windows Embedded. Apparently this has something to do with a Texas Instruments chip, but that's far out of my knowledge range.
I have yet to see pictures to see if the user interface has changed or how the image quality stacks up, but they're keeping up with the technologies at this point, including MultiBeam (like GE's CrossXBeam or Philips SonoCT) and Speckle Reduction.
So it appears SonoSite has stepped up its game a bit and should continue to compete against the GE juggernaut. This also means we should see some pricing changes coming down the pike to the Titan and MicroMaxx lines.
And for all intents and purposes, Philips and Siemens remain quiet in this market. This is simply unreal to me. All we've seen from Siemens is an update to its outdated Cypress system (still a nice unit, but seriously!) and the Acuson P10 pocket machine. Philips has nothing, although SonoSite was started in the cafeteria of the ATL/Philips headquarters in Washington.
Quoted from http://www.sonosite.com/Press-Releases/news-2007-10-01-2.html:
SonoSite Unleashes Next Major Advance In Ultrasound
Powerful M-Turbo Hand-Carried System Delivers Breakthrough Image Quality,
State-of-the-Art Connectivity and Extreme Durability for Point of Care Visualization
BOTHELL, WA - October 1, 2007 – SonoSite, Inc. (Nasdaq:SONO), the world leader in hand-carried ultrasound, today announced the introduction of the M-Turbo™ ultrasound system for use in the full range of clinical applications at the point of care.
The fourth major product platform since SonoSite released the industry’s first hand-carried ultrasound system in 1999, the M-Turbo system delivers an exponential increase in raw processing power for superior image clarity across all exam types, plus seamless connectivity for digital image export in a rugged, hand-carried product weighing less than 8 pounds. SonoSite plans to begin customer deliveries later this quarter.
“I think the system is fantastic,” said Diku Mandavia, MD, FACEP, Attending Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, LA County + USC Medical Center, Los Angeles. “SonoSite has truly evolved its product to a very powerful system that integrates the latest technology. The image provides clarity at every level and by definition will make a major improvement to patient care. They have provided an exceptionally high level of performance but streamlined the process to obtain an image in an already easy-to-use interface. SonoSite really understands the market.”
“It’s a great system,” concurs Stuart A. Grant, MD, Director of Medical Student Education and Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Duke University Medical School in Durham, North Carolina. “The image quality of the nerve sub-structure and nerve bundles delivered by the M-Turbo system is truly outstanding. Its image quality and ease of use will make it easier for clinicians to learn and successfully perform regional nerve blocks. Additionally, the ability to download images onto a USB thumb drive makes it simple to acquire and archive images for use in teaching and for patient records. It is remarkable that SonoSite was able to listen to physicians’ needs and respond with a product that addressed them in a matter of months.”
Three New Advanced Imaging Algorithms = One Amazing Image
SonoSite’s new M-Turbo system offers a 16-fold increase in processing power yet weighs slightly less than the MicroMaxx® system. The system’s increased processing power generates dramatic improvements in image quality by simultaneously running multiple advanced algorithms:
- SonoADAPT™ Tissue Optimization – automatically adjusts imaging parameters depending on exam type and patient size based on imaging depth thereby eliminating time-consuming and complicated clinician manipulation of multiple controls.
- SonoHD™ Imaging Technology – leverages the exponentially increased processing power to reduce speckle noise and other image artifacts while preserving and sharpening tissue information and enhancing the aesthetic and clinical value of the image.
- SonoMB™ Multi-beam Imaging - further enhanced and now available on all M-Turbo transducers, including the phased array transducer to facilitate cardiac and abdominal examinations, SonoMB technology was first introduced in April 2007 as a software upgrade for the MicroMaxx system. Clinicians have praised its ability to increase resolution of small structures and enhance border delineation while maintaining temporal resolution.
“The M-Turbo system brings razor sharp image quality, user simplicity and speed to the time-driven, point-of-care clinical setting,” said Kevin M. Goodwin, SonoSite President and CEO. “Alongside the successful MicroMaxx system, M-Turbo underscores and extends our leadership in the hand-carried ultrasound market. With M-Turbo, we have created a powerful and versatile imaging tool for applications across the clinical spectrum while further simplifying the user interface yet maintaining system ruggedness and the rapid boot time our products are known for.”
Transducers for Every Point-of-Care Exam
With the M-Turbo system, SonoSite is introducing a new phased array transducer and intracavitary probe. These new transducers offer the same exceptional durability and reliability for which SonoSite’s transducers are widely recognized:
- The new P21x/5-1 phased array transducer offers exceptional image quality and an ergonomic form factor for increased patient and clinician comfort during cardiac, abdominal and Ob/Gyn exams.
- The ICTx/8-5 curved array transducer provides a 135° field of view and broad bandwidth for improved detail resolution.
At introduction, the M-Turbo system offers a total of seven transducers to cover a full range of clinical and procedural guidance applications for abdominal, nerve, vascular, cardiac, venous access, small parts and superficial imaging. In addition to the P21x/5-1 and ICTx/8-5, this suite of transducers includes the C60x/5-2 curved array; C11x/8-5 curved array; HFL38x/13-6 linear array; L25x/13-6 linear array; and L38x/10-5 linear array.
The M-Turbo system increases transducer versatility and ease of use by optimizing the transducer to perform multiple exams types for a specific anatomical area, enabling a single transducer to be useful across a broader array of applications. SonoMB technology runs on all transducers, including the P21x phased array transducer. The M-Turbo system offers two transducers with exceptional depth penetration for difficult-to-image patients; the C60x transducer images to a depth of 30 cm. and the P21x transducer images to a depth of 35 cm.
Teaming Up with Texas Instruments and Microsoft
The M-Turbo system is the first medical device to integrate Texas Instruments’ (TI) DaVinci™ technology which is designed specifically for high performing, highly responsive digital video applications. Digital videos and images can be exported from the M-Turbo system to a USB storage device in standard PC formats MPEG4 (H.264), JPEG, HTML and BMP for review or storage on a PC or Mac® computer. With two high speed (480Mbps) USB 2.0 ports and a high speed Ethernet link, clinicians can seamlessly export digital video and images for diagnostic consultation, instruction and publishing.
SonoSite engineers also integrated Microsoft® Windows® Embedded CE 6.0 operating system running on TI’s TMS320DM644x digital media processor with DaVinci technology to facilitate easy patient data management and transfer with hospital information systems (DICOM®) and to USB thumb drives.
“Rapid boot from a cold start and reliability are hallmarks of our products and essential in critical medical situations,” stated Dave Willis, SonoSite Vice President, Competitive Strategy and Innovation. “The DaVinci processor, which offers state-of-the-art multimedia capabilities in a small footprint and requires minimal power, fits with our product philosophy. Most portable and compact ultrasound systems utilize large cumbersome operating systems with high-power processors that reduce battery life, increase system heat and require large memory devices that increase the risk of failure. Our proprietary, dedicated ASIC microchips perform the bulk of the ultrasound processing and eliminate the need for large power-hungry processors and operating systems. Working in collaboration with Microsoft and Texas Instruments, we were able to co-develop an ideal, flexible solution for connectivity, playback and easy image transfer.”
“We are always excited to work with growing and innovative customers like SonoSite,” said Greg Mar, DaVinci Technology Manager, Texas Instruments. “SonoSite exemplifies a company that continues to push the envelope of medical technology. We look forward to working with them as they continue to drive advances in digital signal processing technology to bring better, more effective patient care.”
Innovation in Education
SonoSite is also leveraging the new multi-media and connectivity capabilities of the
M-Turbo system to offer customers an “education key,” a library of clinically specific, point-of-care tutorials and refresher courses for playback on the system.
The Education Key™ program is a thumb drive that contains a combination of system operation video tutorials, application-specific video refresher programs that provide peer-to-peer instruction on how to perform specific exams and procedures, and an image reference library of application specific sonographic anatomy for comparison purposes. This combination of instructionally rich learning tools is an industry first and continues to solidify the commitment SonoSite is making to clinical users.
Built to Take It
The M-Turbo system is being offered with the same, unprecedented 5-year warranty that SonoSite introduced with the launch of the MicroMaxx system in 2005, which eliminates the need for expensive service contracts that typically add another 10-15% of the purchase price to system cost per year. Understanding the demanding requirements of point-of-care use, the M-Turbo system withstands SonoSite’s industry-leading 36-inch drop test. Durability is built in from the ground up with the extensive use of magnesium components throughout to maximize strength and minimize weight. As with other SonoSite products, the M-Turbo system is battery operable and goes from off to scanning in less than 15 seconds. Plus, the system is easy to clean and sanitize, of utmost importance in critical care environments.
“The introduction of the M-Turbo to our product portfolio marks the beginning of a new line-up of major product releases signaling the next level of performance and customization for the point-of-care market,” Mr. Goodwin said. “With a global installed base numbering more than 36,000 systems and consistently high customer satisfaction ratings of 97%, we remain the leader in point-of-care visualization.”