A clear image of the future

Siemens Healthcare is one of a handful of key players in global healthcare,
setting trends and defining directions in medical equipment and devices.
The company also has a major interest in the Middle East healthcare
market. At RSNA 2008 Middle East Health’s Jay Franco spoke to Dr Bernd
Montag, CEO, Siemens Healthcare – Imaging & IT Division, about Siemens’
new healthcare products and its future outlook.

Jay Franco: What products will Siemens be launching in 2009?

Bernd Montag: The highlights of this year’s RSNA are also what we are going to deliver in 2009. One flagship product is SOMATOM Definition Flash which is the new second generation CT, a premium scanner built from day one to reduce X-ray dose with a fast scanning speed in CT. (See review page 52).

The other big innovation is the Biograph mCT – the next level of mCT systems. It’s a paradigm shift in looking at this hybrid modality (PETCT) because it is positioned to be a natural choice for a CT scanner and hopefully more and more often one can switch on an additional molecular contrast. It is a very patientfriendly system and it is ideal for radiologists, physicians and nuclear medicine doctors.

Then we have lined up three innovations dedicated to breast care – a full-field mammography system with tomosynthesis capability, in MRI the MAGNETOM Espree, and in ultrasound the Automated Breast Volume Scanner (ABVS).

JF: Which of these are you planning to show at Arab Health 2009?

BM: All of them. It’s a global business and we are proud of it everywhere, and they fit perfectly to the region. In addition to the above premium products we also place a lot of emphasis on the mid-range products.

JF: With the financial crisis upon us, what challenges does Siemens foresee in 2009?

BM: Our success and that of our customers normally comes from adopting a long-term perspective. I don’t want to say that we don’t have to take the financial crisis seriously and that is why we have not changed our philosophy. We are committed to investing in R&D and we feel that our customers should not be too impressed by this because healthcare is a long-term business. Also, we are well-positioned with what we have to offer as everything helps to attract more customers to make things more efficient, and because we have optimised solutions we can help our customers with financing solutions as our financial arm is not impacted by the financial crisis. We are very well-equipped for being the appropriate partner to our customers in this present economic situation.

JF: How does Siemens view the Middle East market from a business perspective?

BM: It has become a very, very substantial part of our business. At the same time the traditional biggest markets like the USA and Japan have had their special down-turns – we saw the importance of the Middle East, and our presence in the region has increased. We are involved with many big projects in the region, and to some extent there is a big benefit of the better global balance of the business because of the higher focus of attention on the Middle East region Also we have many of our leading partners in the USA who are expanding in the Middle East themselves which is very interesting to see – John Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, are some of them.

JF: Have Siemens struck any major deals in the Middle East recently?

BM: I am sorry that I am not able to provide you with exact names at this point.

JF: What equipment is most in demand in the Middle East?

BM: Normally we see a trend for the higher end of our equipment – new centres that are opening up are investing in premium products.

JF: How well-equipped is Siemens in the Middle East to handle service and support enquiries?

BM: As everywhere else in the world there is no difference. We have a complete service network. At the first stage the diagnosis is done remotely. When it comes to service, we have a separate programme which involves training and education which becomes a very integral part of our aftersales offering.

JF: Looking to the future, where does Siemens see the medical device, equipment market going? What areas of healthcare will Siemens focus on?

BM: Our objective is to improve quality and decrease costs. We want to drive things more towards early detection, towards more personalised care and strive to make things less invasive.

JF: Can you give some details about new products that are in Research and Development?

BM: The issues we have in the pipeline are MR PET, which will create a major impact as another hybrid modality. It will specially have an impact in oncology. We will make a big change in our Silicone Ultrasound technology, which will increase the information density coming from ultrasound and make it much more user independent.

ate of upload: 25th January 2009

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