· Mobile Mammo Sweeps the Globe
· Tech Zoom: IDC Launches New Line of DR Technology
· Cedara’s C4 Invasion Continues with Digital Mammo

Mobile Mammo Sweeps the Globe

GE Healthcare, Waukesha, Wis, announced in late August that it had received FDA approval for its new mobile Senographe Essential full-field digital mammography system. The Senographe Essential features the largest digital detector on the market, advanced ergonomic design, optimized patient comfort, and enhanced workflow connectivity.

Mobile mammography is helping women across the states, and around the globe. GE’s new mobile Essential is a leading mobile mammography product on the market, featuring all the advantages of the company’s Senographe platform.

“GE’s goal is to enhance breast care for women worldwide and bring this technology to those who would not otherwise have access to it,” said David Caumartin, general manager of global mammography for GE Healthcare. “GE offers customers the broadest portfolio when it comes to breast imaging, and the new mobile Essential will be the top-of-the-line mobile product in the market, featuring all the proven advantages of our Senographe platform.”

It’s certainly a timely introduction. A May 2007 study from the National Cancer Institute showed that mammography screening had actually dropped 4% between 2000 and 2005; only 70% of women surveyed in 2005 reported getting an annual mammogram.

That’s changing with the spread of mobile mammography, which is popping up all over the country. The mobile Senographe Essential will have its first run in Seattle, and will eventually travel throughout western Washington.

A Stockton, Calif, mobile mammo program based out of St Joseph’s Medical Center equipped an 18-wheeler with a fully outfitted physician’s office, an exam room and a mammography suite. The big rig has screened more than 1,000 women in the past year alone.

“You don’t feel at all like you’re in a mobile clinic,” Marivel Costa, program coordinator, told the Lathrop-Manteca Sun Post. “It’s a very comfortable, beautiful environment.”

Low-income patients at the mobile clinic will pay just a fraction of what they might pay in a physician’s office, Costa told the Sun Post. Most insurance carriers are accepted, and women without insurance or with high-deductible insurance can qualify for free or reduced-cost exams.

In Youngstown, Ohio, a MammoVan mobile mammography unit offers breast cancer screenings to occupants of the Mahoney Valley at local YWCAs. Financial assistance and even transportation are available for those who need it. In Knoxville, Tenn, meanwhile, a mobile mammography unit based out of the University of Tennessee Medical Center roams throughout the eastern part of the state.

“This unit being out in the community provides women with a chance to step away from work for 15 minutes, come in and get a mammogram, and head back to work,” Carole Davis, who drives the 40-foot mobile lab, told WBIR.com. “There are some that we detect cancer on the mobile and then they are followed up at UT, and it’s a wonderful feeling to think that we were here and the lady took the time to come in and we caught it, and now she can seek the help that she needs.”

Worldwide, where screening rates are frequently much lower, mobile mammography has an even more important role to play. In India, the country’s first mobile mammography service was recently launched in an effort to provide medical aid to breast cancer patients in remote areas.

“There is a spurt in cases of breast cancer among women in rural areas of the country,” BK Rao, chairman of Sir Ginga Ram’s Hospital board, told The Hindu. “Generally, women in villages are hesitant to come forward for regular check-ups, and thus they are more prone to breast cancer.”

The Indian mobile unit is comprised of a DICOM-compatible mammo system that will convert film into digital before transmitting it to a base unit at Sir Ganga Ram.

Tech Zoom: IDC Launches New Line of DR Technology

At the recent Orlando, Fla, meeting of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators (AHRA), Imaging Dynamics Company Ltd, Calgary, launched its new line of direct digital imaging CCD-based technology. The new IDC X-series detectors represent affordable digital alternatives for small clinics, outpatient centers, and customers in developing countries or markets where funding is limited.

The IDC 2200 dual imaging detector DR solution.

“This product series is significant to the company and to the industry,” said Darryl Stein, president and CEO of IDC, which was recently recognized by Frost & Sullivan for its 2007 Technology Innovation of the Year award. “The X-Series takes our value proposition of low dose high image quality and product affordability to a whole new level.”

James Mooney is the administrator at SRPC Medical Imaging, a division of Schenectady Radiologists PC, Schenectady, NY. “We have 12 highly qualified radiologists who require fast and accurate images,” he noted. “They are very impressed with the superior image quality and enhanced workflow our new IDC 1600 with X-Series imaging provides.”

More than 200 of the new X-Series imaging detectors have already been shipped and installed across the United States, Canada, China, and Korea; and most recently in several South American nations, including Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Monica Esguerra Espinosa, MD, scientific director at the Instituto de Diagnostico Medico in Bogota, Colombia, cites the line’s cost-effectiveness as one of its major advantages. “We have now replaced all of our existing technology and acquired 10 DR systems from IDC,” she said. “After extensive research we chose their X-Series X3C CCD technology. It provides the highest spatial resolution and image quality, and was much more cost-effective when compared to CR and other DR equipment. It has been very positively received by our radiology team.”

Robin Winsor, chief technical officer at IDC, said the technology represents the results of a collaboration with IDC’s research and technology partners around the globe. “The advancements we have made to our core imaging technology are a major step forward for IDC, and the science of digital imaging,” Winsor said. “This new sensor technology provides higher sensitivity, amplified dynamic range, anti-blooming, and lower noise, achieving a significant increase in imaging performance.”

—C. Vasko

Cedara’s C4 Invasion Continues with Digital Mammo

Cedara Software, Toronto, a Merge Healthcare company, launched on September 6 its C4-enabled version of the I-ReadMammo digital mammography solution. C4-enabled I-ReadMammo is designed for modular integration into any C4-enabled imaging solution, including PACS.

The C4 platform—C4 stands for Cedara Clinical Control Center—is an integration framework designed to facilitate plug-in integration of clinical applications with minimal changes to the host product. The C4 platform supports integration with imaging companies’ PACS, RIS, and EMR systems, providing a standard interface for all bidirectional information between the C4-enabled host and clinical application plug-in.

“C4-enabled I-ReadMammo represents another opportunity for clinicians to provide the benefits of digital mammography for their patients,” said Cedara Software President Loris Sartor. “Now obtaining these benefits can be as simple as plugging the software application into the C4-enabled host manufactured by the PACS, RIS, or EMR company.”

The I-ReadMammo application was designed to address the entire breast imaging workflow; it is a multimodality, vendor-neutral digital mammography workstation solution, enabling health care organizations on a single workstation to display and read images from different vendors and different acquisition devices, including digital mammography, ultrasound, computer radiography, and MR.

Cedara is currently working on C4-enabled applications for orthopedics, PET/CT, and breast ultrasound.

—Cat Vasko