By Dara O’Brien
The ZS3 system is Zonare’s entry into the premium ultrasound market. Introduced in October 2012, the system uses Zone Sonography Technology (ZST) for state-of-the art image capture. “This addition to our growing suite of ultrasound systems provides a significant option for fulfilling imaging needs,” said Glen McLaughlin, Zonare president and CTO.
ZST is an innovative approach to echo data acquisition and image formation. Using a small number of large “zones,” ZST acquires ultrasound data significantly faster than conventional ultrasound and extracts more information on each transmit receive cycle. Since the speed of sound traveling through tissue is a physical constant, ZST has a significantly faster acoustic acquisition time, enabling superior imaging quality. “We set expectations high with ZST,” said McLaughlin. “However, we believe the performance of the ZS3 to be even higher.”
Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) installed three ZS3 systems in March 2014. David Natoli, NWH’s administrative director, noted that the facility’s technologists are delighted with the results. “The ZS3’s image quality is spectacular,” Natoli said. “The whole zone is in focus, the image appearance and quality is much more consistent from all the technologists.”
The facility had been using a Zonare Z1 unit in its emergency department and liked both the technology and the image quality. When the time came to upgrade their ultrasound systems, NWH considered Zonare along with GE, Philips, Toshiba, and their then-current vendor, Siemens. As part of their review, the team ran scans of the same patients on all five systems. “We were able to see a true apples-to-apples comparison, and the image quality on Zonare was just amazing,” said Natoli. “The radiologists were ecstatic.”
Natoli reported a seamless transition to the ZS3. “There wasn’t as long of a learning curve as we expected,” he said. NWH technologists and radiologists worked with Zonare’s application team for about a week to accomplish the change. The NWH staff appreciated the system’s flexibility. “We can configure all buttons to what we want,” Natoli said. “That’s pretty unique.” The facility employs the ZS3 for a variety of clinical applications, including abdominal, breast, fetal, musculoskeletal, neonatal, OB/GYN, and vascular.
The superior range of images did offer some new challenges. “It took the radiologists a little getting used to because they were seeing anatomy they weren’t used to seeing with conventional sonography,” Natoli said. This was particularly crucial when comparing patient scans with previous images obtained by conventional imaging systems.
The ZS3 system is offered with a 5-year warranty (Z5), including transducers, at no additional cost to the clinician. Software updates are covered by the warranty while enrichments, such as new applications or transducers, will be offered as purchasable options. “By providing this Z5 guarantee, we are uniquely enabling our customers to offer high-end, state-of-the-art ultrasound standards for their patients in the most economically advantageous manner possible,” said McLaughlin.
The Z5 warranty was a key selling point for Natoli, who found the system’s cost of ownership benefits highly persuasive. “In addition to being at a very competitive price point, there are no additional costs for 5 years. That’s significant dollars,” he said. “We have the ability to fix costs and still have the latest upgrades.”