RSNA in 2007 was quite interesting for ultrasound. We've seen so many changes in the last two years, and for the first time we're seeing a few newcomers take a real stand in this market... particularly for the emerging markets.
Acuson P50 and Terason t3000
If James Bond were going to have an ultrasound, this would be it. This portable ultrasound runs on a MacBook Pro and simply looks cool. It has a slide-out interface (trackball, buttons, etc), brushed-steel look, and incredible graphics. Oh, and the image appears to be quite nice, too. I haven't actually demo'd one of these, but I've been talking to the Terason folks since RSNA and hope to see one in action soon.
Siemens marketing machine did a nice job pushing this product, but under the hood it's a Terason t3000 unit (as reported earleir) and I'm sure we'll see much more about it. But if you're really interested in the product, give me a call and I'll put you in touch with the right people at Terason. It's the same unit, different packaging (oh, and the Terason is available NOW, while the P50 is not yet released). I've found the Terason people to be nice, down-to-Earth and clearly not holier-than-thou as you would find with many of the major manufacturers. Plus, they back this product by a 2-year warranty and it's priced competitively to the GE Logiq e and SonoSite M-Turbo. Keep an eye out for these guys. They've been quiet for a long time, and I don't expect that to last long. Get in now while the pricing is good. Send me an email with your location if you're interested or if you have any questions. Email me here.
Affordable DICOM and Reporting for Ultrasound
In the past, I've also talked about a company called Ashva Technologies that has a good DICOM and reporting package. I saw the full demo again at RSNA, but Mohan Mysore, the CEO, spent more time on really taking me through the product. It was more than I expected and an excellent solution for the smaller offices looking for a DICOM solution or something to capture images and provide a REAL reporting package.
I must say I've been really frustrated with the terrible reporting packages from all the portable ultrasound units out there. GE's LogiqBook XP "Report Writer" has long been a joke, SonoSite doesn't even pretend to have decent reporting, and the Acuson Cypress reporting leaves a lot to be desired (unless you enjoy RSIs and frustrating notations). I'm going to go through some installations of the product here and I'll report on my thoughts as I spend time with the product.
Mindray taking the industry by storm
The Chinese manufacturer Mindray generated a good bit of buzz at RSNA as well. The company has done a nice job placing itself squarely in the Low Price, Good Product market. It's a niche that nobody really has filled well. Medison tried it, then decided to keep their prices high.
I've done some applications training on the Mindray products and some clinical work. Every time I've walked away from these products, I have said one thing: that it's a really good product for the price. You will not get the super-premium bells and whistles from these products like you'd see from the major manufacturers... ie: You ain't gonna get a Lexus for the price of a Ford. What you do get, however, is a solid imaging machine with good functionality that is reliable. These work really well in the market I serve for those who are looking for a good functional ultrasound at a low price. Your choice now is older refurbished or new Mindray. The big manufacturers should take notice. These guys are going to be all over the place in the next year also.