While new modalities hold the promise to more efficiently diagnose and treat patients, the technologies sometimes come with unintended consequences—namely, trouble getting the scans reimbursed.

For instance, according to KLAS, Hologic leads as the number one vendor in digital mammography. However its tomosynthesis system—which works well for patients—has problems that need to be ironed out. These include the high cost of the upgrade, particularly since reimbursements continue to be cut for screening mammography. Also, lack of PACS integration plagues some providers, causing workflow problems.

These are among the findings of a new KLAS study, “Women’s Imaging 2012: Tomosynthesis Makes a Splash.”

According to the study’s authors, GE leads the second tier of digital mammography vendors, with Fuji and Siemens following behind. According to the KLAS report, GE has trailed behind Hologic due to sub-par implementations and lagging tomosynthesis development. Siemens has improved its position, according to the report, but is still battling reliability issues with customers reporting the most downtime of the vendors in the study. Fuji has mainly found its strongest support among smaller hospital and outpatient centers due to its cost effectiveness. However, the company’s CR is seen as old technology and its new digital mammography system has seen little interest from its current customers.

Niche vendors Aurora, Dilon, SonoCine, and U-Systems have had reimbursement problems. SonoCine and U-Systems, in particular, have run into difficulties because they don’t have reimbursement codes associated with their systems. And, while providers liked their functionality, patients have been unwilling to pay out of pocket. U-Systems is currently working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get approval for screening in all 50 states.

Though not ranked in the study, several RIS and mammography information system (MIS) vendors were also examined. MIS vendors PenRad, MRS, and MagView had some niche functionality but were lacking in service coverage. Fuji and Merge’s RIS mammography modules were rated as excellent, while Cerner, GE, and Siemens struggled to provide the functionality needed for mammography, according to the report.

(Source: Press Release)