Siemen's Antares: New Dimension in Ultrasound

Article Conference CoverageFrom American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Orlando, Florida, October 22-24, 2001

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Roberta Speyer: “Hi, this is Roberta Speyer reporting from ASRM for I am delighted to be here in the Siemens’ booth with Doug Whisler who is the Director of Emerging Markets. Doug has a very interesting piece of equipment to show all our little ob-gyn ultrasound gear-heads that like to come on and find out what the latest and greatest technology is. What is it, Doug?”

Doug Whisler: “Hi, Roberta. Yes, we’re here at ASRM and we’re unveiling for the first time in this market a whole new system, it’s called the SONOLINE Antares. It’s a new ultrasound platform; it represents a new dimension in ultrasound in many different ways.”

Roberta Speyer: “Why Antares? What does that mean, Doug?”

Doug Whisler: “The SONOLINE Antares was named after a star. It happens to be the alpha star in the constellation Scorpius.”

Roberta Speyer: “This is new and different and wonderful - why? We’re going to show it to you now. Here it is, and I’m pretty impressed because it doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before.”

Doug Whisler: "It is new and it's different and when you look at it you'll see an original design. But what the Antares represents is a new dimension in ultrasound not only in image quality, which we'll talk about in a minute, but also a new dimension in design. It's got a very sleek almost sexy design, a minimalistic approach to the control panel making it very simple and easy to use, and for the first time we have as an ultrasound company taken the ergonomics into consideration in the design. There are a lot of issues that deal with sonographers."

Roberta Speyer: “Why is that so important?”

Doug Whisler: “Ultrasound is a modality where ultrasonographers have to deal and interact with a machine and a patient hands-on all day, eight sometimes ten hours a day. They have one hand on the machine, one hand on the patient, a lot of stretching, a lot reaching, and consequently they are subject to career injuries or career limiting injuries such as carpal tunnel and repetitive stress injuries. So at Siemens we took their concerns to heart and developed a system that would try to minimize some of those risks that sonographers face day-to-day on the job.”

Roberta Speyer: “The costs involved with those types of risks must be enormous to the department.”

Doug Whisler: “As far as billable revenue, Roberta, it’s about $2,000 a day in lost revenue everyday a sonographer is off the job; it translates to $14,000 to $20,000 a week. In addition, if those injuries are career limiting then they have to hire and retrain which costs can be upward of $40,000 to $50,000 just to retrain so we wanted to try to develop a system that minimized those risks and we did that.”

Roberta Speyer: “What did you do?”

Doug Whisler: “We made a system that was very easy to access, and you can see that the control panel now has easy access to both sides of the system. It’s no longer a square so all the main work areas are very easy to access. We’ve introduced some ergonomics features like height adjustment where we maintain the relationship between the control panel and the monitor in an ergonomically proper position.”

Roberta Speyer: “So normally you wouldn’t have this ability to just lift this piece of equipment up and have the screen and everything stay...”

Doug Whisler: “Staying in this relationship and the height that is necessary to achieve a proper relationship for scanning because in some countries they scan standing up and in some countries they scan sitting down.”

Roberta Speyer: “Do you also sometimes have the case where you have two or three different people using the same equipment during the day?”

Doug Whisler: “Sure, absolutely.”

Roberta Speyer: “So you have to keep changing it.”

Doug Whisler: “Correct, and that’s just the ergonomics. The package is the outside and it’s been very well received. Inside the system we have some revolutionary new technology that takes into consideration the image acquisition and the signal processing so giving us unsurpassed detail and contrast resolution which I think is really appreciated especially in this market where they’re looking at very, very detailed small follicles and early embryos.” 

Roberta Speyer: “So this is a very good piece of equipment for the reproductive endocrinologist but it does have broader applications, doesn’t it?”

Doug Whisler: “Absolutely, we offer a wide range of transducers that meets the need of many of the applications like infertility but also ob-gyn, general abdominal, and maternal fetal medicine.”

Roberta Speyer: “Where would this fit in, in the spectrum between the high end and entry level pieces of equipment?”

Doug Whisler: “We call this our high end system. We have a ultra premium system called the Acuson Sequoia but the Antares is among the top tier of ultrasound systems available and very competitively priced as well.”

Roberta Speyer: “Really, pricing being sensitive I think the things that we see most in this market that everyone’s concerned with, and ergonomics are important, but what you’re trying to demonstrate here is that they should be thinking further down the road and not just in costs going in but costs of maybe lost revenue or costs of retraining someone that could add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a piece of equipment that wasn’t so well designed. But people are still thinking about cost and image quality when they’re looking at a piece of equipment. You’re able to bring these out, show them to people, and bring them to their offices. If anyone wants to contact you on you’d be happy I’m sure to bring out Antares and let them see how they could get it in their office and use it.”

Doug Whisler: “We’ll let them try it in their office, and I think the benefits of the ergonomic design of the SONOLINE Antares will be immediately realized once they get it into lab and scan with it. We’ve seen that time and time again.”

Roberta Speyer: “You’ve got some good packages for financing. Well, there it is. Siemens has always been a tremendous supporter for and always supported the ob-gyn and the ultrasound community through education, and now they’ve even made this adorable little thing here that I just think is pretty. I think you just have to get it out there and look at it, then you’ll want to buy it but it looks really nice. I wish you all the success in the world - the New Dimension in Ultrasound. Thank you, everyone, for watching.”

Follow this link for more information on Siemens Ultrasound.

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