By Brian Casey and Erik L. Ridley, AuntMinnie.com staff writers

November 29, 2017 -- CHICAGO - Philips Healthcare is demonstrating a new value-oriented MRI scanner for international markets, an upgrade to its spectral CT platform, and new gamma cameras in its booth at RSNA 2017. The vendor is also giving attendees a look at the future of augmented radiology, as well as new relationships in 3D printing.

MRI

MR Prodiva is a new MRI scanner that Philips is launching for markets outside of North America. The 1.5-tesla scanner is targeted at the value price segment, and it has a 60-cm bore and small footprint to make it easier to site in small spaces.

MR Prodiva
MR Prodiva is a value-priced scanner for the international market.

The system supports Philips' Breeze Workflow technology, which consists of a flexible lightweight digital coil system to support fast patient setup. Combined with Philips' dStream digital broadband technology, MR Prodiva provides high-quality imaging while also helping to manage costs through low transportation, installation, and energy consumption expenses, according to the company.

MR Prodiva customers can also make use of Philips' Ambient Experience In-Bore Connect technology, which lets patients personalize their environment with visual themes and also guides them through the examination with instructions.

The company is also demonstrating Compressed SENSE, Philips' parallel imaging mode, which increases the speed at which data can be pulled from scanners, improving workflow. Philips is also discussing its work in amide proton transfer (APT), a technology for 3-tesla imaging that creates a color map for scans that can be used to assess tumor grade, directing therapy for patients.

CT

In the CT section of its booth, Philips is updating its IQon spectral CT platform with the launch of IQon Elite, a new configuration designed to make spectral CT scanning easier to perform for clinicians, such as in emergency and trauma departments. IQon Elite now makes it possible for clinicians to perform spectral CT 100% of the time, according to the company.

IQon spectral CT scanner
Philips has made upgrades to its IQon spectral CT scanner.

The scanner sports faster reconstruction speeds and better visualization of bone marrow pathology, which Philips believes will improve diagnostic confidence and potentially reduce the need for follow-up scans. Spectral CT can also perform calcium suppression and estimate electron density; it also provides tissue characterization, which can be a boon for oncology applications.

With IQon Elite's 25% faster reconstruction speeds, Philips believes that customers will be able to perform up to 200 scans in a 16-hour workday. The system also includes a new radiation therapy planning couch and bariatric tabletop to enable larger patients to be scanned with improved positioning controls.

IQon Elite is launching at RSNA 2017, and the company expects to begin shipments in December.

Augmented radiology

A major point of interest in medical imaging has been augmented reality: the use of virtual reality tools to overlay images and procedure information within the visual field of radiologists. Think Pokémon Go for radiology.

Philips augmented reality
Philips is showing augmented reality in the interventional suite.

In its booth, Philips is demonstrating a concept of how augmented reality might be applied in radiology. Visitors can don a Microsoft HoloLens virtual reality headset that feeds them 3D images and data inside an interventional radiology suite outfitted with the company's Azurion angiography system.

The headset provides a heads-up display of 3D images and tools, which could be an easier way for interventionalists to interact with their environment without using their hands. Images can be pulled up on the display and made larger and smaller using voice commands. There is even a virtual console that radiologists can use to adjust angiography equipment.

The project is hardware-agnostic, so Philips could employ other types of headsets besides HoloLens. Don't expect to see augmented reality in your interventional suite in the near future, however -- Philips said the project is currently experimental, as the vendor gauges reactions from radiologists at the RSNA meeting.

Molecular imaging

In a milestone for Philips' molecular imaging division, the company began shipping the Vereos PET/CT system in September 2017 after first showing the system at RSNA 2015. Vereos replaces photomultiplier-based detector technology with solid-state instrumentation. It also features the vendor's proprietary digital photon-counting technology, which is designed to reduce the trade-off between sensitivity and resolution.

Vereos PET/CT scanner
The Vereos PET/CT scanner began shipping this year.

On the SPECT side, Philips is launching new gamma cameras: BodyMD for general-purpose use and CardioMD IV for dedicated cardiac applications. The systems feature an open design and small footprint, and they employ the company's auto body contouring technology and Astonish reconstruction algorithms. CardioMD IV is expected to ship in the second quarter of 2018, and BodyMD after that.

Imaging informatics and AI

Philips is unveiling the latest edition of its IntelliSpace Portal (ISP) advanced visualization and quantification platform. Version 10 brings a number of new features and capabilities to ISP, including an embedded 3D modeling application for 3D printing and the addition of breast and prostate imaging informatics capabilities.

The embedded 3D modeling application is designed to support the creation and export of 3D models to 3D printers from 3D Systems and Stratasys. Thanks to new agreements with the 3D printing vendors, ISP 10 users will be able to quickly create, save, and transfer 3D models to the firms' 3D printing offerings without having to leave their clinical environment, according to Philips.

Stratasys 3D-printed model
Philips announced new alliances in 3D printing at RSNA 2017.

ISP 10 also brings support for breast and prostate imaging, thanks to the integration of DynaCAD Prostate and Breast software from Philips business unit InVivo. These image analysis software applications add custom hanging protocols, image postprocessing, lesion segmentation, standardized and structured reporting, and interventional biopsy planning, Philips said.

Limited deliveries of ISP 10 are expected to begin in January, with the official release slated for the second quarter of 2018.

Philips is also highlighting its IntelliSpace Enterprise Edition for Radiology, a managed services package for enterprise imaging. The radiology edition is a follow-up to the launch of Philips' IntelliSpace Enterprise Edition at the 2017 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting in February. It provides radiologists with a comprehensive view of patient data, as well as single sign-on access to Philips' IntelliSpace PACS, Ilumeo, IntelliSpace Portal, Universal Data Manager, DoseWise Portal, and PerformanceBridge offerings, the company said.

Other new features in the radiology edition aim to enhance radiologist productivity by utilizing the vendor's Ilumeo adaptive intelligence technology, along with expert guidance, Philips said. For example, software tools such as advanced visualization and automatic case assignment based on department rules can facilitate intelligent and integrated workflows, according to the vendor.

Philips is also emphasizing its recent collaboration with Nuance Communications to bring artificial intelligence (AI) directly into radiology reporting. The initiative, which will integrate Ilumeo with Nuance's PowerScribe 360 speech recognition software, aims to reduce discrepancies and improve the accuracy and standardization of radiology reporting, according to the vendors.

The company is also discussing new developments in its PerformanceBridge portfolio of performance management software and services, including the acquisition of Analytical Informatics -- a start-up from the University of Maryland. Philips will incorporate the company's workflow improvement applications into PerformanceBridge.

In addition, Philips is showcasing two new PerformanceBridge features as works-in-progress. PerformanceBridge Utilization Services is designed to provide cross-modality utilization indicators such as utilization rates, volumes, and average changes over time, while PerformanceBridge Protocol Manager aims to find opportunities for MRI protocol optimization, standardization, and efficiency improvements.

Ilumeo artificial intelligence platform
Philip is showing progress on its Ilumeo artificial intelligence platform.

Ultrasound

In ultrasound, Philips is launching Epiq Evolution 4.0, which features what the company calls its Ultimate Ultrasound Solution for Small Parts Assessment. Based on the new eL18-4 PureWave linear array transducer, the single-transducer package can support the assessment of small organs such as the breasts, testicles, and thyroid, as well as musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains and tears. Evolution 4.0 also includes the vendor's MicroFlow imaging mode and support for strain and shear-wave elastography. It also can be used to guide biopsy procedures, the company said.

Philips is also spotlighting the benefits of its Anatomical Intelligence for Breast software for facilitating whole-breast ultrasound exams. Employing the eL18-4 transducer, integrated electromagnetic tracking coils, a specially designed patient pad, and a tabletop field generator, the software can be used to perform screening and diagnostic studies, Philips said.

Finally, Philips is rolling out its Technology Maximizer upgrade program for customers. Available with selected MR, CT, ultrasound, and image-guided therapy systems, Technology Maximizer is a five-year subscription program that enables radiology and cardiology departments to receive regular software and hardware updates -- at a fraction of the cost of individual upgrades, Philips said. The program is purchased with an annual fee and can be used in tandem with current RightFit customer service agreements.

A Technology Maximizer Pro option also allows Philips MR customers to receive the latest specialty applications for body, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and neurology clinical domains. The company plans to launch Technology Maximizer in early 2018 in North America, as well as in select markets in Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.


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