Michael Wendt

Michael Wendt

According to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, the diagnostic imaging market is slated to hit $36.43 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% from 2016 to 2021. Such a surge is clearly good news for radiology equipment manufacturers like Malvern, Pa.-based Siemens Healthineers—although some worry that policital uncertainty could affect this growth.

Below, Michael Wendt, senior vice president of diagnostic imaging for Siemens Healthineers North America, shares his thoughts on the current state of the medical imaging market and discusses how HTM professionals play an important role in the success of an imaging procedure. Don’t miss out.

24×7 Magazine: In your opinion, what are the biggest changes the medical imaging sector has undergone in the last two decades? And how do you anticipate the imaging sector evolving in the next 20 years?

Wendt: The capabilities of computer and imaging technology are tremendous. Just look at the capabilities of standard x-ray rooms, ultrasound machines, MRI scanners, and CT scanners from two decades ago compared with what they can do today. If we continue to innovate at that pace, what we can envision two decades from now is incredible.

The insights that we derive from imaging and diagnosis have fundamentally changed healthcare delivery. For instance, two decades ago, the standard procedure to determine whether someone had appendicitis was exploratory surgery. We don’t do that today.

Instead, we perform relatively routine, simple, and standard imaging procedures. So I would expect that the insights that imaging will yield in two decades due to machine learning and artificial intelligence will help us identify structures that we can’t see today. These innovations will help physicians more effectively diagnose patients and determine the correct treatment plan. 

24×7: What do you believe are the biggest challenges affecting the imaging sector, and how is Siemens Healthineers working to overcome them?

Wendt: There is uncertainty in the healthcare sector regarding how reimbursement drives the behavior of healthcare organizations. Regardless of one’s political beliefs, we all generally agree that we as patients should not simply pay for a service. Instead, we should pay a value in exchange for the benefit that we receive. Siemens Healthineers wants to provide the best value for the healthcare system so that patients receive the best care.

We also want to provide physicians with tools to more optimally diagnose any disease accurately, at the right time, so healthcare organizations can treat the patient with the best possible treatment plan.

So, providing systems and solutions for early, accurate diagnosis—I don’t see that as a challenge, but rather as an opportunity going forward. We believe imaging will play an ever-growing role in reducing healthcare costs by fostering an accurate, early diagnosis.

24×7: Can you please discuss some of the equipment innovations Siemens Healthineers will roll out later this year?

Wendt: We just introduced a new CT platform called the Somatom go. platform. The two systems in this platform—Somatom go.Now and Somatom go.Up—are designed for routine diagnostic imaging, with features that allow technologists to focus on what they should focus on as healthcare providers: the patient. These two new CT scanners make what once might have been considered a complex CT examination a more routine exam with a more routine workflow.

We’ve also introduced a new robotic C-arm—Artis pheno, which was cleared by the U.S. FDA in March—that will help with interventional procedures. And we’re planning to introduce a new MRI scanner—which is currently 501(K)-pending—that also will make what was complex in the past routine, simpler, and more robust going forward. And, finally, we recently introduced the Multitom Rax twin robotic x-ray room that allows broad versatility with respect to the types of exams that can be conducted in these rooms.

24×7: From a service standpoint, what do you want to tell healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals about servicing Siemens Healthineers imaging equipment?

Wendt: Healthcare providers rely more and more on imaging examinations. Their duty to perform an accurate analysis early on is vitally important. For that reason, imaging systems must be being up and running—and professionally maintained—so healthcare providers can make accurate diagnoses early on.

And as these imaging systems become more complex, we rely increasingly on the capabilities and professionalism of these highly trained, highly specialized HTM professionals to do an outstanding job. Because lives matter, and if these systems aren’t working properly or if they’re down, then the accurate and timely diagnosis—and, consequently, treatment—of patients is negatively impacted.