Additionally, Philips showcased new cardiovascular care products and technologies, such as enhanced cardiac CT software and advanced MR coronary imaging techniques, at the 52nd Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Chicago, Illinois.
Professionals in cardiovascular medicine - physicians, hospital administrators and IT departments - rely heavily on technologies that enable collaboration and delivery of timely quality care to patients. Philips recognises the crucial role that seamlessly integrated, customised solutions play within the industry and has formalised resources and expertise needed to enhance connectivity and work flow, as well as overall clinical care.
To help customers realise these benefits, Philips will make available the resources and experts needed for true collaboration within cardiovascular care. The company will provide a focused approach to product customisation that enhances customers' existing systems, regardless of vendor, and supports compatibility and streamlined work flow. It will also update professionals and hospital decision-makers about new advances in technology that have the potential to drastically change the way cardiovascular medicine is practised.
The Business Team's first initiative, the creation of a global Cardiovascular Advisory Board, will help to define, refine and shape Philips offerings. The Advisory Board, which includes representatives from cardiovascular institutions from around the world, will meet regularly to reinforce the focus on customer and patient needs, provide feedback on company ideas and help identify issues and trends in cardiovascular care.
In addition, Philips is planning a satellite CME conference in the fall of 2003 to help educate clinical care providers around the globe on how to optimally integrate emerging CV imaging technologies into patient care. "Philips' new Cardiovascular Care Business Team has a clearly defined strategy: to provide the cardiovascular community with the innovative products and services they need to advance disease detection and prevention, further research and enhance work flow", stated David M. Freeman, newly appointed vice president of Philips Cardiology Marketing.
"Through the successful integration of best-in-class cardiology-focused companies, HP/Agilent, Marconi, ATL and ADAC, we have acquired the technology necessary to deliver on what our customers are asking for today and for the future. Now our charge within Philips is to build collaborative relationships with customers, leverage our technology to streamline and fully integrate care delivery, and further clinical utility for clinicians."
One example of the company's new approach to cardiovascular care is the recent collaboration between Philips and MidSouth Heart Institute of Memphis, Tennessee. The MidSouth Heart Institute opened in 2003 and is one of the most comprehensive heart and vascular diagnostic facilities in the United States. It houses nearly all Philips' technologies for cardiovascular care, including Tennessee's only 3D rotational angiography system that allows doctors to see multi-dimensional views of the heart in real time for more precise diagnosis of lesions and placement of devices. MidSouth Heart and Philips as well as several other centres are sharing data collected at the Institute to create a predictive model that will link the best single test to specific symptoms, outcomes and interventional plans.
"Cardiac patients require a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic technologies for their care", stated Frank Martin, M.D., interventional cardiologist, MidSouth Heart Institute. "Working closely with Philips, we have developed a heart clinic comprising the latest imaging technology that offers patients in this region unparallelled cardiovascular care and allows us do to further research around the world to help prevent plaque formation in the adolescent and identify unstable blockage in the adult."
Philips also has a partnership with Edward Heart Hospital in Naperville, Illinois, one of a growing number of hospitals across the United States focused on heart disease, to provide technologies for state-of-the-art cardiovascular care and research. "What impressed us was that Philips sent a team of people to Edward to ask questions and solve problems instead of coming in and selling us products", stated Mark Goodwin, M.D., cardiologist, Midwest Heart Specialists, and director of the Edward Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. "Philips challenged our preconceived notions and showed us where we could improve by sharing information and leveraging the company's deep knowledge of the cardiovascular industry."
Philips has formed an alliance with Aspen Healthcare Metrics Inc., a national health care solutions organisation, to co-develop and provide business solutions that enhance clinical service lines. These solutions focus on reducing acquisition costs of key physician preference items, increasing revenues and improving productivity.
The Philips-Aspen alliance will provide a competitive advantage for customers because, unlike other companies, Aspen utilises a clinical solutions model that combines powerful databases with proven processes led by clinical experts. These solutions offer expertise and knowledge designed to maximise efficiencies and cost-management of health care facilities.
In addition, a validation of Philips' commitment to collaboration is the company's long-established Cardiovascular MR Network, a group of more than 195 researchers and scientists from around the world who collaborate with one another and with Philips to continually move the field of cardiac MR (CMR) forward. Groundbreaking improvements in CMR have resulted from multi-centre trials conducted by the Network. These efforts helped identify improved MR imaging techniques, now embodied in the new Intera CV CMR system currently being showcased at ACC.
This year, Philips showcased several new cardiovascular care technologies and services at ACC:
Computed Tomography (CT): Philips celebrates the delivery of the world's most capable set of cardiovascular CT scanning and analysis tools. With these new capabilities, Philips CT users can quickly and easily scan and evaluate heart anatomy and function with excellent image quality even for patients with heart rates of 115 beats per minute. As a result, the need for the administration of routine beta-blockers is virtually eliminated allowing a broad range of patients to be evaluated.
Specific new capabilities include stenosis analysis, Left Ventricle/Right Ventricle analysis and function, stent planning and virtual angioscopy, all with a single, fast, non-invasive CT scan. Customers can acquire these new capabilities through a series of comprehensive yet affordable packages that are designed to exceed current and future requirements. Cardiologists and radiologists alike will find an appropriate solution based on clinical need as well as the level of comfort with cardiovascular CT imaging.
Magnetic Resonance (MR): The latest version of Philips' patient-friendly Intera CV 1.5T MR system, specifically designed for advanced cardiovascular imaging, now features the company's ViewForum multi-modality workstation software enabling powerful off-line viewing, quantification and reporting tools.
Other recent enhancements include the latest release of the SENSE technique that allows a six-fold increase in acquisition time; new Nova gradients with 66 mT/m, the strongest currently available on the market; and the Advanced Cardiac MR Package and Cardiac Performance Package for expanded applications power and free-breathing cardiac imaging. The New Intera CV also features robust coronary artery imaging capabilities; enabling faster scanning, higher contrast-to-noise ratio and enhanced vessel image sharpness.
- Medical IT: Being shown for the first time at a major cardiology meeting, Vequion is Philips' next-generation family of customisable clinical IT products, solutions and professional services aimed at streamlining procedures and improving patient care. The Vequion family allows users of Philips' medical diagnostic equipment to seamlessly integrate and enhance current image data management technologies, while creating compatibility across multiple, disparate systems. Vequion is a commitment to eliminate obstacles that hamper work flow, increase costs and impede quality of patient care.
- Multi-Modality Image Application Software: A Vequion-competent product, ViewForum is Philips' new viewing and processing environment for large and complex multi-modality datasets. ViewForum can be connected to Xcelera, Philips' integrated image and information management solution for cardiology. ViewForum gives access to the proven EasyVision Cardiac MR analysis packages, including Functional Analysis and Q-Flow. With ViewForum, users can customise their virtual working environment using worklists, personalised display protocols and role-based access that maintains security and presents only the information the user requires.
- Cardiography: PageWriterTouch, a new state-of-the-art cardiograph, combines several unique features that enable rapid generation of accurate ECG reports resulting in both faster exam times for ECG patients and more streamlined analysis for their clinicians. PageWriterTouch features a 15-inch colour touch-screen display, laptop-style keypad, ergonomically redesigned cart and the new Philips' 12-lead algorithm for reliable, accurate ECG data analysis. The system is especially beneficial for hospitals that perform a high number of ECGs.
General X-Ray: The BV Pulsera high-end mobile C-arm system is suitable for cardiovascular examinations as well as surgical applications. The system can be used inside the operating theatre for cardiac surgery and pacemaker implementation, for example; or outside the theatre for diagnostic cardiac imaging, interventional cardiac imaging in stent implanting, PTCA and electro-physiology procedures.
A new "movement stopping" pulsed fluoroscopy feature enables optimal fluoroscopic guidance for catheter and guide wire positioning, providing clinicians with clear motion, blur-free images. Images can be reviewed and analysed at the dedicated BV family workstation, using validated CQA software and vascular processing packages. These images can also be transferred for review and analysis to an existing BV Pulsera workstation which is also Vequion compatible, thus offering an ideal back-up and/or overflow solution.
- X-Ray for Cardiology: The Integris Allura with dynamic Flat Detector enables clinicians to see and work in the smallest vessels of the heart, while reducing X-ray exposure and procedure times for themselves and their patients. The system offers a next-generation Flat Detector with such innovative features as Philips' exclusive refresh light and SPIRIT image processing for superb image quality. The Integris Allura with Flat Detector system, combined with Philips' exclusive MRC X-ray tube - the most advanced on the market today - and SpectraBeam copper filtration, enable the user to capture excellent image quality at the lowest possible patient dose.
Ultrasound Image Application Software: Philips is introducing the first significant upgrade, QLAB 2.0, to its QLAB Advanced Quantification Software, a PC-based software for diagnostic research in ultrasound. QLAB 2.0 software now provides Strain and Parametric Quantification capabilities in addition to enabling clinicians to assess image content and Intima Media Thickness (IMT), and create AVI and BMP files for digital presentations.
The Parametric Quantification (PQ) module provides an easy to use interface for the research analysis of contrast images and uses a colour-coded representation to easily see contrast intensity changes. Similar to QLAB's Region of Interest (ROI) quantification plug-in, PQ allows the user to sort contrast images, quickly draw an ROI, and analyse the dynamics of contrast intensity changes. The Strain Quantification (SQ) module provides the means to analyse and quantify Tissue Doppler loops from Philips ultrasound systems. The SQ module is used in the research evaluation of regional cardiac wall motion and function.