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August 10, 2012

GE Healthcare Announces Orders for Its New Laser-Guided Imaging System

In what some doctors are calling a major breakthrough in imaging, GE Healthcare today announced it has already received six orders for its Discovery IGS 730, a new laser-guided system that has been designed to capture the advantages of both floor- and ceiling-mounted systems, without the limitations of either, for getting clear, highly precise images of patients.

The Discovery IGS 730 is designed to provide high-precision imaging with complete patient access, and in-room mobility to accommodate from complex interventional to surgical procedures.

The device, which received FDA clearance in February 2012, allows room for physicians, nurses, technologists, anesthesiologists and other personnel to position themselves so they have unobstructed access to the patient for surgery.

The Discovery IGS 730 uses the same digital flat-panel detector technology as GE Innova interventional imaging systems, but, instead of being fixed in position, the imaging device is on a mobile gantry, similar to a traveling crane, that moves along user defined pathways, guided by laser. “At the touch of a button, clinicians can move the system to the table for imaging various anatomies, and then move it aside and park it.”

St. Luke's University Hospital in Bethlehem Pa., the first to place an order world-wide, according to GE, plans to install the system over the coming months.

“After initially viewing the power of this system it was clear that this is an advancement that is on-par with the invention of flat panel technology for interventional procedures,’” said Dr.Hal Folander, chairman of the radiology department and section chief of interventional radiology at St.Luke's University Health Network, who participated in early evaluations of the Discovery IGS 730. “At St.Luke's, we are constantly looking for solutions and systems that help us improve the efficiency of our procedures as well as the experience for our patients. The Discovery IGS System will not only help our providers access patients better during procedures, but will allow us to provide our patients a revolutionary development in imaging and quality care.”

The Discovery IGS 730 enables full patient access without the need to suspend the system above the patient and has the mobility of a C-arm with the power and image quality of a fixed system, the press release reported. And to accommodate our nation’s rapidly growing problem with obesity, the device comes “with a new wide bore design, which allows for steep angles, ease in 3D acquisition, especially for large patients.”

Imaging is often how doctors find cancers and are guided to perform biopsies in patients suspected of having it. The better the image, the better the outcome for the patient. Of course, it’s also used in many other types of surgery, including angioplasties.

But it doesn’t come cheap. The costs of diagnostic imaging have increased more than the overall costs of cancer care, making diagnostic imaging the fastest-growing part of Medicare-reimbursed services, researchers recently noted, in a story by Bob Preidt.

And doctors have come under the gun for ordering too many imaging tests. Advanced diagnostic imaging, with its much higher radiation doses than conventional radiography, is being used with increased frequency, even within integrated health care delivery systems that are "clinically and fiscally accountable for their members’ outcomes,” Mary Ann Moon wrote in a story at Internal Medicine News. 

Edited by Rich Steeves
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