August 2007

Philips Flexing Muscles in Diagnostic & Imaging Markets

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Philips is one of the leading players in healthcare, mainly in the markets of medical diagnostics and patient monitoring systems that include X-Ray, general ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scanning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

With strong credentials in lighting and electronics markets, Philips is positioning itself in the healthcare market as a player of 'substance'. With its clinical IT services and solutions, Philips has been able to target physicians and surgeons for their   departmental needs and workflow management and implementation of new technology, new solutions in clinical data capture and retrieval.

Of late, Philips has gone in for a paradigm change in its offerings. The new products blend ergonomics and technology together and there is very much a concern to accommodate the patient's point of view. The recent example is Ambient Experience Cath Lab. It reflects a thinking of  going 'beyond the system', while combining the design elements with smart technologies.

The Ambient Experience Cath Lab's unique design eliminates many unwanted physical barriers in the imaging suite to facilitate better patient and staff interaction, reduced clutter and enhanced  workflow. Many patients experience significant stress during interventional procedures as in a Cath Lab. A pleasant environment with personalized lights, themes and music as well as technology will make the surroundings more natural and facilitate patient relaxation and cooperation with the clinical staff. The iU22 ultrasound system is another product doing well in the market. Meant to help clinicians in shortening exam times, expanding the clinical utility of volumetric imaging and for providing new tools for interventional procedures, the product is working under the principle that customizable protocol-driven exams would clinically reduce ultrasound exam times by as much as 30 percent and improve exam consistency and accuracy across the departments.

In iSLICE, intelligent slicing technology is used for volumetric datasets, for  providing progressive views of anatomy with one sweep; quickly generating the best views for diagnoses. These new image enhancements are optimizing needle visualization for faster, less invasive biopsy procedures, making the iU22 a comprehensive solution to assist in planning, guiding and assessing liver tumour ablations.

Among the ICT-oriented products, mention must be made of Philips Xcelera cardiovascular information solution. Xcelera R2.1 integrates examination results from across the cardiology sub-specialties and allow cardiologists to access images and patient information all across the cardiac care cycle at one location. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) hybrid scanners with the new GEMINI TF 64-channel configuration are already a hit. Here the benefits of time-of-flight can be seen by the enhanced small lesion detectability, shortening scan times, reduced patient dose and exceptional image quality in oncology, cardiology, neurology and molecular imaging.

GEMINI TF raises the effective image sensitivity by 10 times over conventional PET, and shortens image acquisition to less than 10 minutes for a whole-body PET scan. Consistent with all GEMINI PET/CT systems, GEMINI TF also features Philips' patented OpenView gantry design, allowing for increased patient comfort. In India, Philips has a wider exposure. Nearly 50 percent of cardiac examinations in India are done on Philips equipment. In the specialized area of surgical X-ray, Philips' innovation in the mobile c-arm for intra operating imaging has been  positively acclaimed.

 With substantial market shares in High field MR, Cardiac CT, Cath Lab and Monitoring Systems, Philips (Medical Division) in India is present in measurement (patient monitoring systems and cardiology equipments) and electro physiological therapy systems like  Automatic External Defibrillators and Point of Care Diagnostics.

The acquisition of Stentor Inc. in 2005 signalled its new focus on imaging and molecular imaging. The company, rechristened now as Philips Healthcare Informatics, provides extensive radiology image-archiving systems.

Philips Healthcare Informatics makes picture archiving and communications systems or PACS, used in diagnostic imaging centers to review, store and share radiology and cardiology images, such as X-rays and related images.

Imaging market too is responding well to this new aggression of Philips. Sales have improved in Europe, Asia-Pacific region and South America. Buoyed by this  growth, Philips has now aggregated cardiology imaging and related services to the former Stentor business.  

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