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GE Healthcare refines ultrasound systems to address to radiology specialty areas

GE Healthcare : 27 November, 2007  (New Product)
GE Healthcare has refined its ultrasound systems based on technologies designed to specifically address the needs of several radiology care areas.
The Logiq Care Area Series Ultrasound systems are customised to radiology specialty areas such as paediatric radiology, vascular laboratories and breast imaging: newborns needing ventricular volume measurements of hydrocephalus; elderly patients requiring real-time Ultrasound imaging of the haemodynamics of a pseudoaneurysm; and women undergoing Ultrasound imaging of breast lesions.

GE designed the new care area systems with two objectives in mind: excellent imaging performance optimised for each clinical area, and optimal clinical workflow designed to improve healthcare quality and efficiency.

Logiq continues to be based on GE’s raw data approach to Ultrasound imaging. Rather than storing Ultrasound images as video pixels, the data is stored as digitised Ultrasound waveforms. GE’s experience has been that this architecture gives high Ultrasound fidelity.

In the Logiq Care Area Series systems, this raw data can be captured in three dimensions in near real-time. This makes Ultrasound imaging much like CT or MR imaging in that clinicians, regardless of care area, can view, reprocess, re-slice, and review images even after the patient has left the building.

GE’s Tomographic Ultrasound Imaging (TUI) gives clinicians access to parallel slices through the captured data, similar to magnetic resonance (MR) and Computed tomography (CT). In addition to providing new access to Ultrasound views, this approach better matches the MR and CT department workflow, which may drive improved departmental efficiencies.

Many clinicians are using the 3D Ultrasound in a new way called Volume Imaging Protocol (VIP). Patients and clinicians can be saved the time of re-scans with advances in image acquisition and processing. In a multi-center study, VIP showed significant improvement on traditional 2D scanning, in some cases up to 55 percent in time savings.

In addition to enabling clinical departments to be more efficient, this new workflow also benefits patients. For example, it is possible to perform an Ultrasound scan on babies in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in less than a minute to capture the same data that would be required in a 10-minute, or longer, traditional study.

The reduction in scan time is also expected to help minimise repetitive motion injuries with sonographers and other technicians; the reduced scanning time should reduce the exposure to injury-producing scanning. Knowing that workflow doesn’t end when the picture is captured, GE continues to invest in workstation solutions and Computer Aided Detection (CAD). For example, one of the Care Area solutions from GE includes a combination of breast Ultrasound imaging and CAD from GE partner Medipattern.

GE has laptop-style compact systems designed for radiology care areas, based on a flexible software platform derived from other high-end GE console Ultrasound systems. Initially GE expected the compact systems to facilitate portable Ultrasound studies, but is increasingly finding its compact Ultrasound systems anywhere that space is at a premium: the operating room (OR), the emergency room (ER) and at the patients’ bedside.

“GE accelerates the adoption of Ultrasound and the acceptance of new users by focusing our advances to specific clinicians,” said Terri Bresenham, vice president of GE Healthcare’s Diagnostic Ultrasound and IT business. “In every setting, we’re looking at the unique needs of healthcare providers - needs unique to their specific care areas. That principle of application-specific Ultrasound is the engine behind the new Care Area Series. We intend to optimise Ultrasound for each clinician, and then make it available in both a full-size and compact platform.”
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