由 Carol Ko
, Staff Writer | December 06, 2013
On Monday at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, Konica Minolta Medical Imaging threw its hat into the U.S. ultrasound market by announcing the launch of a new product, the Sonimage P3 hand-held ultrasound, and the acquisition of the ultrasonic diagnostic equipment business of Panasonic Healthcare.
The company is looking to expand its presence in primary imaging through a series of deals as well, including a global distribution agreement with GE for its AeroDR cassette-size digital X-ray imaging retrofit.
"Our focus as a company will be very tightly aligned to a focus on primary imaging, where we can add the greatest value to the customers we serve, and it is a logical continuation of our company success," said David Widmann, president and COO of Konica Minolta Medical Imaging.
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According to Widmann, primary imaging encompasses 70 percent of the diagnostic imaging market and comprises the "first line of defense" for doctors trying to investigate abnormalities in the body.
"With the launch today of an ultrasound product, the announcement of our partnership with General Electric, the acquisition of the Panasonic ultrasound business, and the expansion of our detector panels line, we have created a product portfolio in primary imaging that will meet the needs of our customers who are being challenged to do more with less, to extend the life of equipment and to deliver a higher quality of care to patients who are demanding much more from the health care system," he said.
The firm's new product, Sonimage P3, is a hand-held ultrasound scanner that can be carried in a lab coat or worn like a stethoscope for real-time patient diagnosis at the point of care. Sonimage can be used as a stand-alone ultrasound system or plugged into a laptop or tablet computer.
Point-of-care ultrasound devices like Konica's Sonimage have been receiving more attention in recent years because their durability, versatility and cheapness make them an ideal tool for emergency bedside care.
In the long term, the acquisition of Panasonic's ultrasound business will allow the medical imaging company to be better positioned to create new advances in probe technology — a key area of innovation within ultrasound.
Widmann ultimately sees the company's expanded focus as a strategic move in response to changes in health care reform and new quality mandates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He anticipates that this large-scale paradigm shift will reward nimble, durable screening technologies that excel at patient throughput, cost savings and portability.
"This is what we are good at, it is our heritage for over 75 years, and this is an area where we know we can deliver the right solutions for our customers," said Widmann.