The changing marketplace for video endoscopy systems

The changing marketplace for video endoscopy systems

April 28, 2016
Mairead Smith
From the April 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By: Mairead Smith

Video endoscopy systems are used to view live, color images of the interior of the body during diagnostic and therapeutic minimally invasive surgery. While the systems have been in wide use since the 1980s, recent technology enhancements are providing new options for purchasers. Improvements in visualization continue to occur, such as the transition from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD), the growing availability and popularity of ultra-high definition (4k) systems and the development of three-dimensional (3-D) surgical video systems. The vast majority (81 percent) of facilities are currently using two-dimensional (2-D) HD systems, according to data submitted by ECRI Institute’s SELECTplus member hospitals from February 2015 to February 2016.

Migration to high definition systems

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The main technological enhancement that HD systems offer is the ability to capture and display more imaging data, resulting in a higher image quality, than SD systems. Current HD systems typically output a 1080p image in a widescreen (letterbox) format. 4K systems, which output an image with 4 times as many pixels (2160p) as HD systems, are just starting to penetrate the medical market. 3-D HD systems offer surgeons greater depth perception than 2-D systems, which may help improve the surgeon’s accuracy, reduce error rates and decrease the time required for certain surgical tasks. Clinical areas where 3-D vision is in high demand include gynecology, urology and general surgery. 3-D systems have been on the market for more than 10 years, but gained little traction until recently, when historical challenges with 3-D technology and image quality have been addressed. Member interest in 3-D systems began to pick up in 2013 and increased by 50 percent from 2014 to 2015. Currently, we see an interest in four manufacturers of 3-D systems: CONMED, Karl Storz, Olympus and Visionsense. Some manufacturers offer modular platforms that can be upgraded from 2-D to 3-D. The standard components of surgical video endoscopy systems include the following:

• Camera control unit (CCU) or video processor
• Information management device
• Video display
• Light source
• Video camera or camera head
• Endoscope
• 3-D systems require a 3-D-ready display, 3-D glasses and special 3-D stereoscopic scopes with two optical channels

Purchase considerations
Clinical applications for video endoscopy systems include minimally invasive surgical (MIS) procedures that do not require more advanced technology (e.g., a surgical robot), as well as diagnostic procedures using a flexible endoscope. Facilities and clinical departments that would use this device include operating rooms/surgical facilities and endoscopy suites. The typical users would include surgeons, operating room nurses and operating room technicians. In general, the configuration of a surgical video system depends on which ORs it will be used in and the hospital’s volume of MIS procedures.

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