For several years, Phoenix Children’s Hospital has had a technology relationship with Philips Healthcare. The relationship initially resulted in implementation of a dose reduction system and pediatric CT protocols.
In 2012, the hospital added a 3D print lab using images from Philips CT scans to develop life-sized models of patients’ hearts and other organs, illustrate exact tumor size and use of specialized software to study heart and brain physiology using MRI and CT. The hospital further created a lab to conduct simulations, such as creating markers for tumor management.
Now, Phoenix Children’s has a new 15-year agreement with Philips valued at as much as $65 million that covers managing the inventory of existing equipment, maintaining and upgrading equipment, and the purchase and installation of new equipment as deemed necessary, says Richard Towbin, MD, chief of radiology.
This phase is the first of its kind among children’s hospitals, Towbin believes, and it emphasizes a long-term view of better managing the expensive equipment used in medical imaging. The hospital will co-manage along with Philips, and it also will know what products are coming from Philips so it can conduct pre-market work and research and development to better plan equipment acquisitions.
Philips is working now on products coming out in two to five years, “so we can make decisions…at the design and development levels,” Towbin says.
New product development beyond information technologies also will be part of the hospital partnership with Philips. For instance, most companies design products, such as patient tables, for adults, Towbin notes. These tables don’t always work as well for children. Both organizations hope that the collaboration will result in technology or products that are designed more intelligently, he adds.
The staff at Phoenix Children’s continues to push the boundaries of pediatric care, according to Brent Shafer, CEO at Philips North America, and the hospital has helped the vendor take its innovations to higher levels.
Although pediatric care is a relatively small subset of the healthcare market, Philips has invested time and research into unique needs of pediatric patients, which is why the hospital continues to partner with the company, David Higginson, chief administrator at Phoenix Children’s, said in a statement. The hospital offers care across more than 75 pediatric specialties.
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