KLAS: Wide-bore magnets spark MRI market
Concerns about radiation dose and the introduction of new wide-bore options have reinvigorated the MRI market, according to a report from Orem, Utah-based market researcher KLAS.

In the KLAS study, “MRI 2011: New Technology Hits the Ground Running,” providers reported that most new deals are dominated by wide-bore 1.5T magnets, but some are making the move to 3T wide-bore magnets as well.

"Wide-bore magnets have a lot of appeal because of the high patient throughput and lower patient sedation rates," said Kirk Ising, report author. "Providers also see some marketing benefits from going with a wide-bore or a high-field open magnet."

The report also examined vendor performance in the 1.5T, 3.0T and high-field open MRI market segments. Vendors highlighted in the report include Siemens Healthcare, with the 1.5T Aera and the 3T Skyra; Phillips Healthcare, featuring the Ingenia line of 1.5T and 3T wide-bore models; GE Healthcare, with the 450W and the recently FDA-cleared 750W 3T wide-bore system; and Toshiba, which offers a wide-bore 1.5T magnet and recently received FDA clearance for the Titan 3T wide-bore unit. Hitachi has been the open MRI leader, according to KLAS, and its 1.2T Oasis scored well with providers.

"Providers are paying attention to the new technology available from different vendors, but they are still expecting vendors to offer the fundamentals," said Ising. "Reliability is key. When it comes to 1.5T magnets, Hitachi, Siemens, and Toshiba are performing well. Philips and GE have room to improve. But, reliability is only half the battle. When providers need service, and they will, the level of service received may be dependent on location."

Toshiba does very well in the West and the Central regions, but service has slipped a bit in the Northeast. Hitachi also did very well with service and support, particularly in the Northeast and the Southeast. However, implementation and training struggled in the Northeast. In the Central region Siemens struggled while Philips made their best showing. GE did not take the top spot in any of the geographical regions, but was the most consistent of any of the five vendors with a strong field support team.