Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.
How Playing the Long Game Works for Philips and its Customers
Technologies such as Illumeo from Philips streamline workflow by performing tedious tasks that can slow the diagnostic process. Illumeo can automatically retrieve data and suggest software tools that the radiologist can use to interpret images. Its use can lead to improved collaboration among departments within the hospital and with referring physicians.
Imaging products and services have to help provide the highest level of diagnostic confidence possible, if healthcare providers are to transition successfully from volume- to value-based medicine. Kees Wesdorp, business group leader of Diagnostic Imaging at Philips, says the company is trying to do exactly that.
“It’s a big culture shift,” he said. “We have become very customer-centered in our approach to the decisions we make and the innovations we pursue.”
Exemplifying that approach is Philips’ IQon Spectral CT scanner, which routinely delivers true conventional images as well as allows the retrospective reconstruction of spectral results, when needed. Others include Illumeo, an intelligent assistant fueled by smart algorithms; PerformanceBridge, software that helps providers get the most from their resources; and consulting services that can be focused on specific questions.
Tapping Spectral CT When Needed
What makes this scanner unique is its detector technology, which simultaneously captures high- and low-energy photons. This allows the clinician to benefit from spectral results for every patient scanned, without having to decide upfront whether they will want or need spectral results. Additionally, data can be stored on the PACS for future review, if needed.
The IQon Spectral CT was installed in the emergency department at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to help clinicians make definitive diagnoses even when doing so is difficult. During times when a clinician needs more information than can be shown in a conventional CT image, the IQon provides spectral data that may prove useful.
Gopal V. Punjabi, M.D., chief of body imaging at Hennepin County Medical Center, recalls the case of a man who came to the ED complaining of severe abdominal pain. Six months of diagnostic exams, including endoscopy, had found nothing wrong. Spectral reconstructions from IQon data showed a cluster of tiny metastatic liver lesions, each less than a centimeter.
“We did not have to do a rescan,” Punjabi said. “We got all the information we wanted from that one scan.”
Illumeo Speeds The Read
To help with interpretations, a different commercially available product from Philips, Illumeo, automatically displays current images in the context of priors. Using smart algorithms, it also sifts through the patient’s electronic medical record, retrieving and displaying relevant clinical data that might help the radiologist with a diagnosis.
Illumeo provides contextually relevant analytic tools — like ones that measure or analyze blood vessels — that the radiologist can use to interpret images. The software anticipates what radiologists are likely to need and helps them focus on making the diagnosis.
Illumeo, which became commercially available in late 2016, applies “adaptive intelligence” (a Philips’ term used to describe a multitude of technologies including artificial intelligence). Illumeo can be harnessed to optimize workflow for the physician. This can lead to more confident diagnoses.
Playing The Long Game
Wesdorp says Philips is trying to understand the needs of providers and their patients not just in the near future but over the long haul. Advisory boards comprised of radiologists, administrators and technologists help the company develop practical products and services. Partnerships allow these products and services to be tested, refined and implemented to create the greatest value for health systems.
Last fall, Philips — via its PerformanceBridge Practice Assessment — gathered and analyzed data from two imaging centers to help its longtime Pennsylvania partner, Einstein Healthcare Network, decide which should house an MR scanner. The vendor has yet to be chosen. Philips is among several being considered. One thing is certain, however, according to Terence A.S. Matalon, M.D., chairman of diagnostic radiology at Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “The complex analysis (provided by Philips) will be really very valuable for us in terms of guiding our decision about which site is most likely to be more economically fruitful.”
Meeting customer needs — whatever they are and wherever they occur — determines the success of Philips and its customers, according to Wesdorp. Solutions may involve products, services or both. “We are moving from selling equipment and boxes to offering integrated solutions,” he said.
The goal is to run Philips’ diagnostic imaging business not just profitably but well. That means partnering with customers to bring the full potential of imaging to health systems.
For more information about Philips Radiology Solutions, visit www.philips.com/radiology
Author’s note: Philips states that results from case studies are not predictive of results that might be obtained in other cases. Consequently, results obtained in other cases may vary.