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Imaging

A clearer view for better health

Medical ImagingMedical imaging has come a long way since X-ray tomography was pioneered in 1895. Today there are an increasing number of ways to gain detailed insights into pathophysiological processes and diseased organs and Austria is contributing significantly by being at the very forefront of this research. Specifically, Austrian scientists and industries are leading the way in new developments for ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These are linked to IT-enabled clinical workflow and diagnostic image management solutions, and state-of-the-art systems for capturing and processing images in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Contents

  1. Ultrasound
    1. 3D/4D Ultrasound Devices
  2. Medical Imaging
    1. Hospital and Clinical Information Systems (HIS/CIS)
  3. Molecular Imaging

Ultrasound


The global ultrasound market is dominated by the Austrian affiliate of GE Healthcare but also features a number of smaller Austrian companies, including suppliers that contribute to advancements in this field. With a focus on medical diagnostics, diagnostic visualisation and clinical IT systems, GE Healthcare Austria has around 250 employees. Originally founded in 1947 as Kretz Technik AG and acquired by GE Medical Systems in 2001, GE Healthcare has become one of the leading companies in this sector. GE Healthcare Austria has not achieved this position alone but rather through an integrated network of collaborating companies across Austria and beyond.

3D/4D Ultrasound Devices


GE Healthcare Austria has pioneered 3D/4D gynaecological ultrasound devices. The manufacturing plant produces around 5000 ultrasound devices annually including GE’s ultrasound lead product, the Voluson® E8 which is manufactured entirely in Austria for worldwide distribution. The Voluson® E8 offers unprecedented image quality and image analysis, allowing for early and more accurate diagnosisFor the production of the Voluson® E8 GE cooperates with some highly innovative and reliable Austrian businesses.

The easy availability of suppliers in Austria has served GE well. For example, the specially-adapted power supplies for Voluson and other GE ultrasound technologies are supplied by Becom Electronic. This enterprising company is a leading Austrian contract manufacturer of bespoke electronic and electromechanical assemblies and devices. Similarly, Lenzing Technik, the engineering division of the Lenzing Group, is one of the principle suppliers of electronic components to GE Healthcare Austria. Annually, Lenzing processes around 50 million components in various designs and lot sizes. S.I.E. System Industrie Electronic is the main supplier of computer hardware for the operation of the units.

Integrating all the components into viable units, two partners of GE come in to play: Allied Panels and Contec. AlliedPanels works with GE on system integration and high-level assembly of components and complete medical devices. In order to achieve efficient production, their collaboration began in the early design process. Contec brings its expertise and extensive manufacturing know-how to bear on the development and production process for the Voluson E8 as well as assembly and test runs.

GE Healthcar 3D/4D UltrasoundFinally, Akatech has been supplying 3D/4D ultrasonic probes to GE since 2001 either as components or as complete systems such as the Voluson Dock Cart which accommodates the Voluson E8 mobile ultrasound device. These Akatech ultrasonic probes provide an especially clear visualisation which allows a more accurate diagnosis of complex obstetric and gynaecological examinations. All in all, it took a remarkable coming together of suppliers within Austria to produce a market-leading technology with GE.

Medical Imaging


Another internationally acclaimed imaging group has left its footprint in Austria. The Vienna affiliate of Agfa HealthCare with nearly 200 employees has a strong focus on developing software for medical imaging (PACS = Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) for the global market. Agfa’s leading PACS product line IMPAX is being deployed daily in more than 3,000 hospitals and diagnostic imaging centres worldwide.

Hospital and Clinical Information Systems (HIS/CIS)


Another crucial focus of Agfa HealthCare Austria is the development of a full-scale hospital and clinical information system (HIS/CIS) branded as ORBIS. Agfa HealthCare’s ORBIS suite is the by far leading HIS/CIS solution in the German speaking region and has been rolled out in other European countries like France, Belgium and UK. More than 950 hospitals, psychiatric and rehab clinics with nearly 500.000 users rely on ORBIS every day.

Molecular Imaging


In addition to the aforementioned companies, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology also provides ground-breaking research services, e.g. in the area of molecular imaging. With the only microPET in Austria, its Health and Environment Department offers the unique opportunity to image small animal models of human diseases. Data can be obtained non-invasively, repeatedly and quantitatively from the same animal. Current applications include a diverse field comprising metabolism and substrate utilisation in various vital organs such as the heart and brain, neurotransmitters, receptors and transporter proteins as well as in elucidating tumour biology (e.g. angiogenesis, hypoxia and proliferation).

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