Challenging times require innovative thinking
Keeping up in today’s health care market is more challenging than ever before. Getting ahead is even tougher. With more than 100 years of experience in the health care industry, Canon Medical has learned this lesson well. To address modern needs, Canon Medical has prioritized innovation throughout the continuum of care.
Medical imaging is an essential component of health care delivery and, with offices in 150 countries and 200,000 employees, Canon Medical is able to reach out to medical imaging users around the globe and find out what they need to perform at their best. To drive the changes that will enhance health care, Canon Medical has focused on three key areas: investment in innovation, building the right partnerships, and remaining the trusted partner for users’ medical imaging needs. Maintaining that focus allows Canon Medical to grow with its customers.
Tools for These Times
Canon Medical makes an 8% investment in research and development, allowing its team to bring innovations to market quickly. The company also works with numerous universities and clinical care facilities to validate new products and ensure that they’re addressing the clinical needs of their customers. The strategy that guides these innovations is centered around making an impact on as many patients as possible, rather than focusing on single-use cases.
One example is 4D CT. Canon Medical has developed a 4D CT hybrid suite for IR that provides clinicians with more tools and better technologies for minimally invasive procedures. Advanced technology such as this allows IR physicians to continue innovating the procedures they perform, making them viable for a greater number of patients.
Another example is Canon Medical’s AiCE software for reconstructing images. AiCE uses AI algorithms to improve images across CT, MR, and PET. The improvements are not limited to image quality, however. Canon Medical is also focused on quantitative imaging.
“We’re seeing more and more that it’s not just about great image quality,” says Angela Dunaway, the director of solutions marketing and sales training for Canon Medical. “What does the image mean? What is it going to tell us? If I can better quantify, then I can better stratify, and I can determine who needs to go to intervention and who can be managed maybe with medical means, such as prescription drugs.”
Beyond the quality of data, Canon Medical is also invested in improving the imaging experience for patients and users. Ease of use helps to ensure patient comfort. To this end, Canon Medical has larger CT and MR bores, the widest tables, the lowest bed heights, and the immersive MR Theater, which helps patients relax and lie still. The overarching goal of these features is to minimize the need for moving patients, improving comfort and image quality.
The improved ergonomics also help to prevent user injuries and reduce dose exposure. Canon Medical’s emphasis on moving the system, rather than the patient, makes their system more efficient and less taxing for users. Dunaway points to PET as an example where ergonomics makes a difference. Because up to 40% of the radiation dose that a PET technologist receives comes directly from the patient, reducing the amount of time needed to properly position the patient reduces technologists’ radiation exposure.
Additionally, preventing injury is more important than ever. With staff already stretched thin, injuries are costly to the entire department. Innovations that reduce the physical toll of patient care are a fundamental part of Canon Medical’s design process. Making innovation accessible is also part of that process.
“For example, everyone considers time-of-flight to be standard of care but, if you have to pay for it as an option, is it really standard of care? For Canon Medical, it is,” Dunaway says. “You will get this on any system you purchase from us. You’re not paying extra to have time-of-flight, just like you don’t have to pay extra for a high-capacity bed in CT. You don’t have to pay extra to be able to do noncontrast MRAs. These are tools and resources that our customers use every single day.”
Canon Medical not only makes standard of care tools and resources standard throughout their software portfolio, but also seeks to make new and emerging innovations accessible; the company’s AI algorithm for image reconstruction is available across its CT, MR, and digital PET/CT portfolio of products.
To extend the utility of its products, Canon Medical is prioritizing partnerships with industry and its customers. Rather than trying to create every possible complementary technology, Canon Medical is working with companies that are great at what they do and incorporating those technologies into its products. Glassbeam, Zebra Medical Vision, and RaySearch Laboratories are among the company’s current partners.
“Our core competencies are medical imaging, and these other companies, their core competencies are really great technologies,” Dunaway says. “So instead of saying, ‘How do I do this myself?’ we’re partnering with them because we feel that is the better solution for customers, overall. We feel it’s better to partner with these folks, rather than trying to make our version and limit what the future could possibly hold.”
On the other side of the equation, Canon Medical is also striving to be a good partner to its users. Canon Medical is the only original equipment manufacturer that offers in-house financial services, says Fafa Madanipour, senior manager of solutions marketing at Canon Medical. The company’s financing arm, Canon Medical Finance, is a division of Canon Medical. This arrangement allows Canon Medical to offer customized financial solutions for hospitals and imaging facilities, a benefit that has become increasingly important as the pandemic has squeezed health care providers.
“During the COVID pandemic, for example, which created cash flow problems for providers everywhere, Canon Medical Finance didn’t wait for customers to come and say, ‘I have a problem. Can you help?’ We proactively reached out to customers to defer payments or restructure their leases and, ultimately, provide some cash flow relief to customers during the time that they didn’t have many patients,” Madanipour says.
A Forward Focus
Along with financial flexibility, Canon Medical strives to provide excellent service and education. The company monitors users’ systems to ensure maximum uptime and, with 24/7 technical support and 40 parts depots across the United States, Canon Medical is able to initiate repairs and make parts available quickly.
Cybersecurity is another area of emphasis. As security breaches become more common and more costly, health care providers are looking to their vendors to help protect critical data. Madanipour says Canon Medical’s reputation for system security is seen as a valuable asset by its customers.
A final pillar of Canon Medical’s outreach to customers is education. The company provides customized programs that support after-sale service for all of its users. In addition to state-of-the-art training classrooms that provide hands-on experience with the systems, Canon Medical also offers programs such as Performance Pro, which includes additional training opportunities. Performance Pro allows users to train as long as the product is under warranty to become proficient with their systems. Madanipour indicates that one particular aspect of Canon Medical’s training programs is notable: they reach beyond the facilities.
“Along with an online clinical support library of clinical images that customers can use anytime, we also have online training and CME courses that users can sign up for to keep their knowledge up to date,” Madanipour says. “Our mentality is to make a long-term commitment to our customers.”