Standardizing Scanning Capabilities

Standardizing Scanning Capabilities

In the wake of the rising number of publicprivate partnerships, different states have come up with proposals for the installation of CT scan facilities in their respective medical colleges and district hospitals.

The CT market is more than a billion-dollar market, and it is expected to continue to grow with better access to healthcare and more patients visiting emergency departments across the nation. CT is usually the most prominently used imaging modality in emergency departments because it is fast, high resolution, and now offers less radiation dose than ever before. New CT scanners offer the ability to improve consistency of outcomes. Primarily, automation technologies are standardizing the way CT is performed in terms of the scan range and reconstruction, and that automation is driving the increased standardization, reducing the variability within those outcomes as well.

In previous years, there was a trend toward multislice scanners, especially in cardiac applications. But today customers are basing their scanner purchase decisions on not just how the CT scanner performs, but also on how it may help to reduce costs while improving patient care. Clinicians want a definitive answer the first time without having to rescan a patient. With the advancements of detectors and collimators, image quality and details are a top priority.

Indian Market Dynamics

 In the year 2016, the Indian CT scanners market is estimated at Rs. 900 crore with the sales of 828 units. The market is dominated by the smaller machines, which have a 40 percent share in value terms. The less than 16-slice category accounts for 40 percent of the market and the 16-slice machines contribute 38.9 percent. The market is dominated by three brands GE, Philips, and Siemens.

CT scanners market is driven in part by increasing popularity of independent diagnostic centers, which are increasing in number with patient demand and the relatively low set-up cost compared to a full, multidisciplinary hospital. Other growth drivers include the increasing demands from the government for high-quality healthcare delivery that is supported with CT imaging.

 The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under the National Health Mission (NHM), approved Rs. 649.29 crore for 24 states/union territories for the year 2016–2017 for implementing the NHM free diagnostic service initiative. Provision of these services is expected to significantly strengthen the public health facilities in states and enhance the availability of modern medical care at affordable cost.

Government of Assam, under the NHM free diagnostic service initiative, has launched free CT scan services for the people of Assam. In May 2017, GE Healthcare closed a Public Private Partnership project with Spandan Diagnostic Center, to install ACTs 16-slice CT machines across each of the districts of Assam. The 16 centers are ready and the remaining will be operational in the next couple of months. Revolution ACTs, a Made in India. CT is an advanced yet affordable CT scanner that is transforming the way trauma, stroke, and other conditions are managed in India.

In the wake of the rising number of these public–private partnerships, different states have come up with the proposals for the installation of CT scan facilities in their respective medical colleges and district hospitals. With these initiatives, the country will soon become one of the leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investments for advanced diagnostic facilities.

Strides in Technology

The CT scanners industry has witnessed a dramatic growth in technical aspects of CT with newer generation scanners focusing on the key technical capabilities. Wider detector systems tend to have a higher sensitivity, offer better iterative reconstruction software to improve both contrast and spatial resolutions, and tend to have more powerful workstations. Major vendors have made significant improvements in the technology and put forth the best of their innovations in order to sustain their hold in the market.

Rotation speed. Significant improvements have been made in the rotation speed of the gantry, which translates into faster temporal resolution to reduce motion blur, important for the heart and areas near the lungs. Rotational speed in some of the newer scanners is under 300 milliseconds, compared to 400–500 milliseconds with older-generation systems.

Image resolution. Detailed images of smaller anatomical structures are dependent on the spatial resolution of the CT system being used. Leading vendors in the market are coming up with the detector/software combinations to reduce the spatial resolution. Detector resolution is another area of research to increase the image sharpness, especially to better define smaller structures like plaque composition and stents inside coronary vessels. With the ongoing advancements in the technology, CT detectors have undergone a series of improvements, expanding the potential of the modality for new applications. The next generation of photon counting detectors is gaining traction for offering improved spatial resolution by employing mechanisms different from current CT detectors.

Integration of portable CT scanners and PACS. The advances in technologies in the healthcare sector will augment the demand for the integration of medical imaging equipment with PACS. The integration of these systems will help hospitals with storage, management, and retrieval of a huge volume of medical images. These machines are designed for enhanced productivity in the digital imaging sector and will revolutionize the workflow in radiology, cardiology, and other medical facilities.

Way Forward

CT vendors are now focused on developing next-generation scanners with technologies that will assist customers in reducing unnecessary variability within their health system and providing more standardized, reproducible results. They will focus on technology that improves the uptime and reliability of platforms, and will further expand remote monitoring and remote diagnostic capabilities to be able to perform more of service fixes and repairs remotely, versus having to have an engineer sent onsite.

Trends continue to show that customers want a definitive diagnosis with the first scan. If they choose CT as the imaging modality, they want that modality to be able to tell them what the next steps in the patient’s treatment should be. Looking forward, improved resolution, and new clinical applications that can help physicians to diagnose and stage disease even earlier will continue to be very big trends. With higher resolution and new clinical applications, clinicians can continue to improve their quality of care and provide better outcomes for patients.

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