We hear the word innovation used in every industry but what does it mean for us in healthcare? Forbes describes innovation as ‘challenging conventional notions of how things have been done before’1. Finding new and better ways to perform our everyday tasks is not only an attractive idea, it makes us feel like we are doing more, doing it easier, and staying current. In healthcare, our paramount concern is the welfare of patients and how we can diagnose and treat them best. Having the latest technologies provides more information, more confidence in our decisions, and in the end, better care. So, with so many innovative technologies and products for healthcare, how do we determine what is best for our patients?
Does the technology offer something new? Healthcare innovation that provides new parameters for clinical decision making is probably the most important factor for adopting the technology. For example, cardiology ultrasound is focused on function and hemodynamics within the heart. For decades we have used the same technologies to evaluate blood flow characteristics during routine echo examinations. A unique innovation, called Vector Flow Mapping (VFM), is bringing a new vision to cardiac hemodynamics by quantifying blood flow properties in ways never available previously with ultrasound.
Can I perform the technology easily? Innovation only works if it fits into our routine and makes our life either easier or helps us achieve more. Think smartphones! For cardiovascular ultrasound, it means fitting into our everyday practice and not demanding an unreasonable amount of time when examining our patients. VFM was developed with this in mind and is integrated to alleviate any time syncs so it can be utilized easily.
Will this innovation help me be a better practitioner? Having as much information as possible when deciding what is the next step for a patient is paramount in healthcare.
When looking at cardiac blood flow, direction and velocity have been the conventional first step.
Today, more factors are available, like determining the Energy Loss, identifying areas of Vorticity, evaluating Wall Shear Stress, and measuring Relative Pressure. But, what is most important is surely the ability to quantify everything. New ideas and evidence are surfacing daily that show how including these factors can provide more quantified information for diagnosis.
At this year’s American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) Scientific Sessions, the focus was on innovation and Hitachi is a pioneer in Ultrasound. Starting with the introduction of the very first diagnostic ultrasound system and the first Color Doppler ultrasound system, Hitachi has truly led the way in changing how we perform ultrasound today. VFM is our latest contribution and can change the way you think about diagnosis from this day forward.
1: Michelle Greenwald, “What Exactly Is Innovation?” Forbes, Mar 12, 2014
Written by Connie Casey, Director Cardiovascular Ultrasound Marketing, Hitachi Healthcare Americas