By Yoon Ja-young

      Since the adoption of x-rays, diagnostic imaging technology has made one of the biggest contributions in the history of medicine. The key concern of diagnostic imaging companies today is lowering radiation doses and substituting for biopsies.

      “Our commitment is to make doses almost negligible,” said Nilesh Shah, chief marketing officer in charge of the Asia Pacific region at GE Healthcare, at a meeting with the media last week on the sidelines of the Korean Congress of Radiology. The company presented diverse products and solutions at the congress.

      While computed tomography (CT) has become an indispensable tool at hospitals, concern has been growing over exposure to radiation. GE Healthcare thus presented the Optima CT 660, which lowers doses by 40 percent compared to previous models while upgrading the quality of the image. It is capable of cardiac, neuro and chest imaging at 1 millisievert (mSv).

      The firm also introduced Dose Track, integrated software that tracks and monitors the radiation dose of a patient from CT, mammography and X-ray scanning.

      Another key objective of the imaging tech firm is to substitute for a biopsy. Discovery MR750w by GE Healthcare went closer to the full substitution. Combining a low frequency sound wave with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it can diagnose liver problems in a non-invasive manner instead of having to use a needle biopsy to collect tissue. The doctor can read the extent of liver cirrhosis in color and detailed figures while sparing patients from pain and fear. According to GE Healthcare, it has over a 99 percent accuracy rate when compared to a biopsy.

      It presented a mobile X-ray, Optima XR220amx that can be brought to patients instead of having patients go to the X-ray room. As it is between 25 percent and 35 percent smaller than previous mobile X-ray devices, it can move in small spaces such as between beds. Patients can be scanned in comfortable positions.

      Regarding the company’s strategy, Akihiko Kumagai, President and CEO of GE Healthcare Asia Pacific, said that it has different strategies toward different markets. In Indonesia, for instance, it is supplying a hand-held mobile small ultrasound. “The government of Indonesia told us the biggest issue was maternal and infant mortality. The biggest reason is there is no hospital or doctors in rural areas,” he said.

      “There are a lot of midwives, but they have no medical knowledge. When a mother is healthy there is no problem, but when the mother is not healthy, they cannot do anything.” Its solution was to train midwives how to use the mobile ultrasound.

      With regard to the Korean market, Laurent Rotival, President and CEO of GE Healthcare Korea, said “The challenge we face is extreme.” Local conglomerates are entering the healthcare market because they expect it to be a new growth engine while the country is experiencing a rapidly aging society.

      Rotival said while the rapidly aging is a great challenge, opportunities to solve these tasks is uniquely positive in Korea.

      “I think a concentration of priorities, partnership, and the quality of the members of the community is really world class,” he said.