Suffice it to say that the diagnostic imaging sector is hot—with recent projections anticipating more than 6% market growth in the next four years. But with growth can come challenges. Below, Kees Wesdorp, business group leader of diagnostic imaging at Philips, discusses some of the biggest issues currently affecting the radiologic sector, as well as how Philips is addressing them. Don’t miss out.

24×7 Magazine: How has the diagnostic imaging market evolved in the past decade and how do you expect it to evolve even more in the coming years?

Kees Wesdorp: Rising costs (as a percentage of GDP) and access pressures on healthcare systems are changing everything, and diagnostic imaging is no exception. In the past, technology providers and clinicians have generally pursued a “better, faster, sharper” innovation strategy to drive progress in imaging.

This mindset has yielded exceptional gains in diagnosis and treatment for patients. Much like the mobile phone industry—which has essentially innovated to the point of parity—imaging today is facing an innovation crossroads.

In many of the most relied upon modalities, we’ve achieved astonishing image quality standards. Now it’s time to take innovation down a different road—one that focuses on delivering a simpler, faster, smarter path to confident clinical decisions, enabling better outcomes at a lower cost. Of course, this doesn’t mean losing our dependency on and enthusiasm for innovation. Rather, it means prioritizing precious innovation resources for the things that matter most in an era of value-based, patient-centered care.

Molecular imaging, for example, achieves this by going beyond the scan and delving into the cellular patterns of diseases. We also believe that MR has huge, untapped potential, so we’re committed to making that technology more accessible to patients through consistent imaging, intuitive interfaces, and patient-friendly systems. We believe that these advancements, along with integrated information systems and imaging tools, will drive the next big wave of innovation in imaging and create new value across the health continuum.

24×7: Along those same lines, what are some major factors currently influencing the radiologic sector and how is Philips responding to them?

Wesdorp: Over the past 18 months, we’ve interviewed literally hundreds of radiologists, technologists, radiology administrators, and executives focusing on the imaging space.

What we heard from them loud and clear is that the greatest need in imaging today is to ensure that patients are getting the right scan at the right time, and that staff and radiologists have the right information in the right place at the right time to acquire quality images and make confident diagnostic decisions. They also stressed that we need to make these processes easier, more intuitive, and more cost-effective.

Because of my background in both particle physics and private equity, I tend to see things in systems. What this says to me is that we need to focus on improving imaging across the entire value chain. By improving the patient experience through patient-centric innovations, we can help technologists acquire better images and reduce rescans.

Also, by supporting technologists with more intelligent and intuitive applications and interfaces, they can improve throughput and enable better care for patients. And by better connecting information for radiologists, they can make more confident clinical decisions. Finally, by enabling administrators and executives with actionable, operational data, they can take a holistic approach to continual service improvement. It’s a virtuous cycle. For Philips, this end-to-end, systems approach is where we’re focusing our efforts.

24×7: The Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA’s) annual meeting is still more than two months out, but can you please discuss some equipment innovations Philips will be demonstrating at the RSNA 2017?

Wesdorp: At RSNA this year, we are looking forward to presenting solutions that deliver on our commitment to seamless care and supporting radiologists in achieving a definitive diagnosis. We are building on our strong legacy of imaging innovation with breakthrough technologies, applications, and connected clinical solutions that will bring clinicians the additional value they are seeking through simplified and intuitive workflows that achieve reproducible, high-quality results and better value for patients.

24×7: From a service standpoint, what do you want to tell HTM professionals about servicing Philips imaging equipment?

Wesdorp: At Philips, we pride ourselves on creating quality products built with longevity in mind. We are committed to simplifying the path to clinical decision-making for better patient outcomes at a lower cost. With that, we offer RightFit Service Agreements that are designed around the provider, to help them meet their medical equipment service challenges and address business priorities.

This service gives the provider clinical and technical expertise, as well as 24/7 access to a care solutions center to help anticipate and prevent any issues. We always have the provider and patient in mind, which is why we developed our solutions around the needs of the provider’s facility, with the right combination of relationship, value, and balance.