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‘We want to make sure patients have good experience in MRI’

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It is not only important to think about the technology, but also how we can contribute to the price per time unit, the price per patient and the price for treatment because that will benefit the overall system, informs Dr Arjen Radder, CEO, Global Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Philips, to Akanki Sharma in an exclusive interaction

What are the latest technological advancements in MRI procedures to boost productivity, efficiency and patient comfort/experience?
As India increases its focus in the field of MRI, we need to provide high-quality and cost-efficient solutions. With spending in global healthcare continuing to rise, there is pressure on healthcare providers to do more with less. So, it is critical that we help improve patient experiences. Philips provides MRI solutions that connect people, data and technology, and have been designed to meet the requirements of the quadruple aim: improved outcomes, enhanced patient experience, increased staff satisfaction and lowered cost of care delivery. Some of our latest technological advancements in MRI include the Next MR Wave (Ingenia Ambition, Ingenia Elition), Intellispace Discovery and Compressed SENSE, among others. These state-of-the-art innovations will help radiologists in diagnosing more patients per day, and shorten patients’ waiting time with innovative tools, thus helping to assure outstanding patient throughput.

As far as Philips’ MRI business is concerned, what new product launches are planned for upcoming events like RSNA 2019 and IRIA 2020 in India?
One thing that we have just introduced in India is our new Ingenia Ambition 1.5T MR. Incorporating Philips’ breakthrough BlueSeal, fully-sealed magnet, the Ingenia Ambition is the world’s first MR system to enable helium-free operations, reducing the chance of potentially lengthy and costly disruptions, and virtually eliminating dependency on helium – an expensive commodity with an unpredictable supply. Another innovation of the Ingenia range, Philips Ingenia Elition offers cutting-edge MR imaging techniques, while setting new standards for clinical research in 3.0T imaging based on superior gradient and RF designs. We also announced a new and exciting MR clinical application-Compressed SENSE, which is a unique breakthrough acceleration technique speeding up not only sequences, but the entire scan. This new paradigm in productivity requires a unique implementation, enabling 2-D and 3-D scans to be up to 50 per cent faster with virtually equal image quality. Designed to connect people, data and technology, these state-of-the art innovations offer benefits including improved outcomes, enhanced patient experience, increased staff satisfaction and lowered cost of care delivery.

India has always been a price-sensitive market, with attractive patient volumes but scarcity of resources, both financial as well as trained staff. With the focus on value-driven care and price of healthcare diagnosis becoming a debating issue, what is Philips Healthcare’s strategy to tap India’s MRI market?
Most markets these days are quite price sensitive. You need to distinguish between the price that you pay today and the one that you have been paying, over a longer period of time. If you think about the price of an MR scan, we need that in many different countries that will determine the price of the reimbursement procedure that was set either by the government or by private diagnostic changemakers in India. They set the price for scan. Suppose, suddenly, if you can do two scans at the same time, the price will go down. So, for a company like Philips, it is not only important to think about the technology, but also how we can contribute to the price per time unit or the price per patient or the price for treatment because that will benefit the overall system. And, with universal healthcare, I think the big opportunity for companies is to not only become suppliers to the government, but also strong partners.

The Government of India is working on the first ‘Made in India’ MRI machine, which is expected by December. Your views?
Today, there are just three manufacturers of MRIs. In these types of ventures, we sincerely believe that it has to be a partnership kind of an effort. As a company, we want to play our role in these types of projects that are taking place in India because the country as well as the whole world will benefit from it. However, we want to provide them with something that improves the quality of the output, i.e. the images. Moreover, it should be efficient and have a lower cost, the technology must be easier for radiologists, and it should give patients a much better feeling.

Have you approached the government for this project or vice-versa?
We are talking with different stakeholders. There are different elements that go into delivering a certain commercial solution, and we are working with a few people with regards to this particular initiative. We are already manufacturing in India at different locations. So, in that aspect, we are already supporting the drive of the government. We are also doing a lot of our research and development activities at different locations in the country. If we develop in India, then we can bring the product not only locally, but to the world too. We are a company that wants to stay close to our customers for a lifetime.

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