Back in August of this year Philips announced the launch of a new FDA cleared premium level platform, the EPIQ. While any new premium level ultrasound technology is going to be important, EPIQ’s entrance into the market is particularly significant as Philips’ has a large presence in the ultrasound market. Seen below in the vendor quotation activity, Philips dominates in the cardiovascular market segment and is a close second to GE in diagnostic imaging.
They have maintained this leadership role for a number of years as a result of their long running, very successful iU22 system (diagnostic imaging) and the iE33 system (cardiovascular). Many have questioned how the market will respond to a new platform that will replace the equipment they have come to know and love. This remains to be seen, but the life span for any ultrasound platform can vary depending on a lot of factors. While the iU22 and the iE33 have a lot of very loyal customers who continue to report positively on these systems to MD Buyline in end user surveys, many have wondered why both these systems have not been updated over the years as competitive vendors have released newer technology.
Review of the Philips press release as well as a conference call with Philips ultrasound corporate staff clearly showed that Philips listened to the customer in the design and development of this system, addressing major needs and requirements. The EPIQ includes new technology that Philips states will provide a strong combination of speed and image clarity, including:
- nSIGHT imaging – designed to provide high detail and image quality
- Anatomical Intelligence – provides a database of anatomical structural models, organ modeling, image slicing and quantification
- SmartExam – increases automation and reproducibility, decreases exam time by lowering the amount of keystrokes and improves consistency among sonographers
- Auto Doppler – reduces the number of steps required to produce the color imaging required, incorporating a tablet like interface to reduce button pushes
EPIQ’ s platform is also lighter and more maneuverable than other premium level systems, weighing in at 230 lbs which is lighter compared to other systems which weight over 300 lbs. The unit also is designed to be very quiet while running, a feature I have never heard a vendor claim.
Now that we’ve listed these impressive claims for EPIQ, let’s validate them. The EPIQ platform supports ultrasound segments including Cardiology, Radiology, OB/GYN and General Imaging. After less than (3) months of quotation activity, MD Buyline has reviewed just about 50 quotations, the majority of which are configured for cardiovascular applications with most of these including 3D capabilities. It also is of interest to note that during this time period we have continued to receive a lot of quotations for the iU22 and the iE33 platforms. Transition to new technology takes time and no doubt we will see a drop-off in quote activity for these systems.
I am very interested in comments from customers that have seen this technology and get their early opinions. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have about this product introduction.