In addition, Meander benefits enormously from the large detector of the two new scanners, allowing scanning of large volumes in short periods of time, which yields the best possible image quality. Dr. Florie also has high expectations from the spectral feature, with which a physician gets more information than with conventional CT; this technology not only visualises the morphology of tissues and substances, but also their chemical composition, such as uric acid and calcium. The Aquilion does that through material-specific differences in weakening of X-rays in the patient, enabling more accurate diagnoses. “But in this area, Canon Medical Systems is clearly a step ahead of us,” Dr. Florie acknowledges. “I suspect that spectral CT will work excellently with perfusion, but we have yet to test this extensively.”
Frank de Reij, who has examined the entire Aquilion trajectory at Meander from angles other than a predominantly medical one, which points to the major role of Canon as a collaborative partner for the hospital. “Indeed, Canon is a leader with some technologies. But conversely, I also know that our doctors encounter issues in their practice or identify desired applications for which those behind the drawing board have not yet devised a feature. So I would dare claim that Canon is keeping our medics sharp, and that in turn we offer Canon an incubator for off-label ideas – to keep things in healthcare lingo.”
When asked which developments they would like to see coming for scanners, both Frank de Reij and Dr. Florie resolutely name “data exchange”. Dr. Florie immediately inserts that this is not the core business of Canon Medical Systems, but is something about which Meander would like to receive input, opinions or concrete action from Canon. “Honestly, at the moment, trying to share data is a cumbersome endeavour despite the advanced technologies. Exchanging tests between different scanning modalities is not yet evident: for instance, it is not yet possible to read a PET-CT in our ultrasound equipment to merge it with live ultrasound images when you want to do a biopsy of a suspected abnormality.
And if you take it a step further: data exchange between radiologists of different Dutch hospitals would also be quite a welcome development. Many hospitals are already working with platforms, offline or in the cloud, but we haven’t yet found the optimal environment,” says Dr. Florie.
“Ideally, software suppliers step away from the innovation-constraining, ‘not-invented-here’ syndrome,” adds de Reij. “The longer the current predicament lasts, the clearer it is becoming that a lot can fail or succeed depending on collaboration, certainly in healthcare. Although with my commercial background I am very understanding of proprietary solutions, my gut feeling now that I am part of the healthcare system says that shared innovations give businesses a much longer life than protected new technologies. Plus it gives their clients a much more solid basis for modernisation and optimal care.”
For now, the interventional radiologist and the general director consider these to remain “important secondary issues”. All users are extremely satisfied with the new systems that Canon Medical Systems has installed at Meander Medical Center. Frank de Reij, Dr. Florie and their team all consider that Canon was on top of things and that those responsible were involved, accessible and very service-oriented, which resulted in a top-of-the-line system with a small footprint.
One of the lab technicians gave a broad smile when asked to describe his favourite feature. For him, the extremely advanced software features AiCE, SEMAR and spectral CT were a deal breaker against good-old lateral table-shifting. This enables lab technicians to easily place their patients in the middle of the gantry and scan them. //