Time for an Upgrade? Combating Technology Obsolescence With Built-in Scalability to Help Improve Patient Care Now and in the Future

As the healthcare industry feels the pressure of burgeoning costs and staff shortages, innovation continues to play a vital role in transforming patient care — from advancing precision diagnostics and increasing patient access to improving capacity and efficiency.

While the rapid pace of innovation brings tremendous opportunities, it also brings with it the challenge of integration and keeping pace — making it difficult to keep up. To improve access and delivery of care, while minimizing technology obsolescence, GE HealthCare continues to advance its strategy of built-in scalability and upgradability across its portfolio to enable healthcare facilities to keep up with the latest technology, now and in the future.

This year at RSNA, GE HealthCare is showcasing a number of products and solutions designed with these considerations in mind — including existing X-ray, MRI, and CT scanners.

Moving to continuous updates has the potential to shorten the time it takes to get the latest improvements into clinicians’ hands, reduce the complexity within health systems, and make it easier for hospitals and others to budget for technology.

If technology can adapt and grow alongside healthcare facilities, it could spell a profound shift in how on-site providers stay current and effective in how they deliver care.


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One problem that health systems face, though, is that when a hospital or health system operates a fleet of scanners across various locations, they are likely to have a varied fleet of systems purchased over time with interfaces hailing from different vintages, resulting in added complexity and the need to train staff on more than one system.

To address these challenges, offerings like Smart Subscription help provide access to the latest capabilities in CT, MR, and now X-ray. Smart Subscription, powered by Edison Health Services, provides software updates, similar to the ones for common consumer devices like smartphones, but with enabling hardware upgrades as well. The package helps providers in two ways: it gives them access to the latest capabilities without having to purchase a new machine, and provides standardization by allowing operators to use the same software across their entire fleet, regardless of when each machine was purchased.

To date, more than 500 healthcare systems have adopted Smart Subscription for CT — highlighting the value of software as a service (SaaS) as a tool for keeping pace with clinical and workflow innovations today and in the future.


A CT That Grows With You

CT scanners also rely on X-rays, but instead of depending on a 2D photograph, they use computers to build a 3D image of a patient’s anatomy.

Two decades ago, new CT technologies hit the market every four or five years. Today new technology comes out each year, making existing CT scanners obsolete faster. Both Revolution Ascend and Revolution Apex platforms are built with these challenges in mind.

Building on the success of its Revolution Apex platform, the company’s new Revolution Ascend platform is a CT solution with built-in scalability for on-site CT detector upgrades from a highly efficient 20-millimeter coverage system for routine scanning to a more advanced 40-millimeter coverage system that improves low-contrast detectability. This design enables healthcare systems to invest in the clinical capabilities they need today while also enabling growth in the future — all without replacing the gantry.

Furthermore, all configurations of the Revolution Ascend platform and Revolution Apex platform are paired with Effortless Workflow and Smart Subscription for the most efficient CT experience.


Effortless Improvement

Providers face a range of challenges specific to CT. The COVID pandemic added to a trend of increasing demand for CT scans, putting pressure on radiology departments to produce and interpret more images with the same resources. CT scans themselves often don’t take much time, but steps like patient prep and other scan-related tasks consume significant amounts of time. 

GE HealthCare’s Effortless Workflow automates much of the pre- and post-scan work that might otherwise need to be performed by a technician manually, such as by suggesting patient protocols and position, scan range setting, and dose. This enables technologists to personalize scans automatically and accurately for each patient with significantly less effort. The result is exceptional high-quality CT images acquired in less time: 56% reduction in positioning time*, 66% reduction in total exam clicks**, and 21% reduction in total exam time***.


You Can Upgrade — Not Replace — Your MR for the Latest in Clinical Applications

GE HealthCare’s SIGNA MR has been leading MR innovation for more than 40 years, and over that time, upgradability has remained a key part of our vision for enabling the future of healthcare. What was once called the SIGNA Continuum encompassed mostly software, but now it supports nearly every part of an MR system.

Replacing an existing MR system can take weeks of downtime, requiring infrastructure upgrades, facility construction, and other work to facilitate the installation of a new magnet — which takes significantly more incremental capital than upgrading an existing system. GE HealthCare’s SIGNA Evo portfolio of products upgrades — but doesn’t replace — an existing magnet. Upgrading can reduce the project’s cost by up to 70% and can accelerate a site’s investment break-even by 40% as compared with replacement. SIGNA Evo, available for both 1.5T and 3.0T systems, is the industry’s only upgrade that expands a 60-centimeter MR system to a 70-centimeter-wide bore scanner.

After upgrading to SIGNA Evo, clinical users enjoy the latest software and hardware technology for delivering precision care. Patients will enjoy the larger-diameter-patient-opening AIR Coils, for their comfort, and AIR Recon DL, which reduces scan time by 50%. Providers enjoy tools like AIR x, which reduces scan setup time, and Sonic DL, which can accelerate scans by up to 12 times. Tackling technology obsolescence does not have to mean an MR replacement, as nearly 15 legacy MR products can be upgraded to SIGNA Evo.


Smarter X-Rays

X-rays have been used to produce images from within the human body for more than 120 years and still account for 60% of all imaging exams today. In that time, the technology has come a long way.

GE HealthCare’s next-generation Definium 656 HD is the company’s most advanced fixed X-ray system yet — with a highly automated platform that acts like a personal assistant to clinicians to make exams more consistent and efficient. To help radiology departments keep pace, upgrades to existing Definium 656**** systems are now available to improve image quality and consistency, reduce acquisition errors, and streamline workflows at a fraction of the cost of a new system.

As the entry point to diagnostic imaging in the emergency roomand the intensive care unit (ICU), GE Healthcare’s AMX Navigate continues to demonstrate its rugged reliability as the next generation of mobile digital X-ray designed to address key challenges on the front lines of patient care.

To help ensure that providers have access to the latest capabilities required to manage the daily complexities of patient care, positioning, and exam setup, Legacy AMX systems***** can now be upgraded into an AMX Navigate fixed-column configuration with reliable workflow and efficiency improvements, as well as a modern user interface and software functionalities.

As the pace of innovation continues, giving providers the ability to update and upgrade existing technology will help get those advances into clinical settings faster and at lower cost.


Learn more about how GE HealthCare is battling technology obsolence.


*The data was based on comparison between GE HealthCare’s legacy products (16 ch and 64 ch scanner) and Revolution Ascend in the three institutions using a pilot product and selected routine head and body. The data set of this comparison was 838 exams for legacy products and 1387 exams for Revolution Ascend. The time saving value may not be effective for all institutions depending on the clinical practice. Defined the scan setting time is from “Open new patient” to “Confirm setting for Scout”

**The required clicks are defined as clicks required to execute a scan from selecting a new patient till start scan. All associated clicks for and in clinical practice, number of the required clicks may vary depending on the circumstances, including but not limited to, the clinical task, exam type, clinical practice, and image reconstruction technique.

***The data was based on comparison between GE HealthCare’s legacy products (16 ch and 64 ch scanner) and Revolution Ascend in the three institutions using a pilot product and selected routine head and body. The data set of this comparison was 838 exams for legacy products and 1387 exams for Revolution Ascend. The time saving value may not be effective for all institutions depending on the clinical practice. Definition of entire exam time is from “Open new patient” to “Last primary recon completed” for Revolution Ascend and “Close exam” for legacy products.


****Definium 656 is a commercial configuration of the Discovery XR656. Eligible systems include Definium 656 Gen 1-5.

*****Eligible systems include Legacy AMX 200 / 220 / 240 systems.