All Press Releases for May 18, 2009

Next-Generation CT Scanners a Tough Sell in a Tough Economy

New KLAS report finds that most providers are content with existing 16- and 64-slice systems

    OREM, UT, May 18, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Healthcare imaging vendors offering next-generation computed tomography (CT) scanners face a difficult task in helping healthcare providers see the value of adopting these advanced systems, according to a new report from market research firm KLAS.

Each of the major medical imaging vendors in the United States - GE, Philips, Siemens and Toshiba - is today touting CT scanners that go beyond the capabilities of traditional 16- and 64-slice units, purporting to offer better images, greater cardiac capability and a lower radiation dose. And while these advanced systems are positively impacting patient care in some areas, such as cardiac work and pediatric imaging, a new KLAS report titled "Slicing the CT Market: Next Generation, 64, and 16" finds that most healthcare providers don't yet see a real need for next-generation CT.

"Many providers view CT as largely a commodity technology," said Ben Brown, general manager of imaging informatics for KLAS and author of the new CT report. "Other than a few differentiating features, traditional CT slice technologies are similar from a technical standpoint. Most provider organizations readily admit that the common CT platforms perform a fairly broad and uniform set of examinations, regardless of the manufacturer. There are some minor differences, but all the vendors deliver a similar portfolio of functionality."

Because of that similarity, customer service, or the client's perception of the customer-vendor relationship, is the biggest differentiator between CT vendors and systems. The availability of parts and service, responsiveness to support issues, training resources and the implementation of new software upgrades generally have a greater impact on a provider's perception of its CT vendor than specific features or functions. Further, the commonality among CT systems also means that hospitals are increasingly willing to take a chance on another vendor's product if unscheduled downtime has impacted revenue or simply to take advantage of an aggressive pricing package.

Among 16-slice systems, KLAS found that the Siemens Emotion 16 scanner was the top-rated product, earning a performance score of 90.7 out of 100, followed very closely by the Toshiba Aquilion 16 (90.0). In the 64-slice market, the Toshiba Aquilion 64 achieved the top performance score of 91.3, followed by GE LightSpeed VCT 64 (89.7). The report also highlights the performance of CT offerings from Philips, as well as next-generation systems from all four major vendors.

As for moving to advanced CT scanners beyond 64 slices, providers are clear that establishing a well-defined return on investment is essential, particularly in light of the challenging economy and the fact that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) do not yet reimburse for coronary CT work, which is a principle driver for moving beyond 64 slices. Still, most providers are optimistic about policy changes that will make building a case for next-generation CT much easier. As one chair of radiology put it, "I think CMS likely will provide reimbursement for coronary CTA in the near future. When that occurs, there will be a rush to acquire the technology that accommodates that work."

To learn more about the CT market, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of participating vendors, the report "Slicing the CT Market: Next Generation, 64, and 16" is available to healthcare providers online for a significant discount off the standard retail price. To purchase the full report, healthcare providers and vendors can visit

About KLAS

KLAS helps healthcare providers make informed technology decisions by offering accurate, honest, and impartial vendor performance information. For more information, go to, email [email protected], or call 1-800-920-4109 to speak with a KLAS representative.

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