The world of interventional cardiology, like any medical field, is at the cutting edge of on-going medical innovation.
Over the last 30 years, the technological advances and increased use of minimally invasive therapy have already helped create many breakthroughs for cardiac patients: from balloon therapy to “bioresorbable scaffolds” (temporary mechanical support in arteries which are then dissolve or be absorbed by the body) to ‘smart wires’ and X-ray / ultrasound fusion imaging.
In addition, interventional cardiology is becoming safer for both patients and physicians. For cardiologists it can be an immensely physical job – performing many procedures and wearing a lead apron for long periods of time (to minimize radiation exposure). So technology that guides and confirms treatment with a low X-ray dose can enhance their and their staff’s experience.
Other technologies, such as robotic technologies and alternative devices, have the potential to further reduce ionizing radiation exposure to the operator. We strive for the day when we will have technology that allows stent placement without wearing lead, without radiation and with less contrast for the patient.
These are obviously huge steps forward, bringing huge benefits for patients and healthcare professionals alike, helping to improve outcomes in terms of quality of life, life expectancy, a reduction in complications, shorter hospitalization and the increased comfort from the use of minimally invasive procedures.
However, despite the clear advantages of advanced technology, adoption is still low worldwide. So to continue at pace, we need to create an environment that encourages the implementation of technology.
Moving towards integrated technology
One important step is the development of integrated solutions that streamline workflow and make procedures easier. Most cath labs (the examination rooms in a hospital or clinic with diagnostic imaging equipment) contain numerous devices, each with different wires and user interfaces, backed up with hardware from different databases.
Not connected and with multiple data entry points – the potential for human error is greater.
Integrated solutions will help streamline this workflow, making it more efficient for a physician to perform a procedure and sign off on a clinical report.
Building the case for new solutions
Clear evidence of the clinical and economic benefits of new technologies is needed.
That’s why Philips is investing in this area with more and more clinical trials proving our solutions enhance patient care, speed up procedures, lower cost or any combination of these things.
The merger of Philips and Volcano provided yet more opportunity to create and install the leading technologies in interventional X-ray, interventional ultrasound, intravascular imaging and sensing, patient monitoring, IT and advanced software applications in a single integrated solution. It also allowed us to be intimate with our customers in the cath labs, through a wide network of experts committed to high-quality, peer-to-peer educational programs.
When technology is being used, we can offer physicians the benefits of imaging (particularly advanced imaging) for each procedure.
Providing this ongoing training might seem basic, but if we are to keep supporting breakthroughs and increasing the adoption of clinically relevant technology – it is essential.