Met at KIMES
During KIMES, Karoline Laarmann (European Hospital) met with Joong-Ho Lee, Senior Executive Vice President of the ultrasound systems manufacturer MEDISON, the Korean firm that entered the ultrasound market in the 1980s and quickly established a global reputation for innovative developments (e.g. the firm produced the first commercial real-time 3-D ultrasound scanner).
The engineers not only achieved exceptional Doppler sensitivity, they also implemented an extensive list of image processing software, such as a speckle reduction filter that reduces and/or eliminates speckle echoes from an ultrasound image. Full Spectrum Imaging incorporates the penetration capabilities associated with lower frequencies, yet maintains the superior image quality known from higher frequencies, Tissue Harmonic Imaging and Pulse Inversion Harmonic Imaging. A further feature the firm has already introduced is ElastoScan, to check to what extent reflectors can be separated from one another under compression. This provides important additional information on tissue conditions in a region of interest that cannot be further differentiated by the B-mode image. For any Medison development, it is important that the diagnostic capabilities of the ultrasound technologies are user-friendly. ‘Automation is a main industry trend we address,’ he explained. ‘Today, accuracy and safety of ultrasound examinations depend a lot on the experience of the user. With automated systems, calculation and analysis of images will partly be performed by the devices and training time of the medical staff can be reduced.’
Since the available ultrasound systems are quite similar, a small difference can tip the scales when it comes to sales. For example, all Medison systems were optimized to reduce the disturbing noise of the cooling fan inside the devices. Last year, the ACCUVIX V20 won a Good Design Awards 2008 presented by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy in Korea. ‘Design is an important factor in creating a product with high value added,’ Joong-Ho Lee stressed. ‘The technologies behind the systems are getting more and more complex, but it is important to make diagnosis with the systems simpler and faster by intuitive interfaces and a flexible architecture.’
As far as the current global economic turmoil is concerned, Lee looks confidently to the future: ‘Ultrasound is one of the most frequently used imaging modalities in clinical daily routine. It has become as indispensable as the stethoscope. So for us, the recession is more like a business opportunity, since many countries have increased their healthcare budgets, while ultrasound
is quite affordable compared to other imaging modalities such as MRI
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