On May 9, 2005, FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA, Inc. (Stamford, CT) announced the appointment of a new company President, Makoto Kawaguchi. As President, Mr. Kawaguchi is responsible for sales and service for the company’s medical imaging, life sciences, and non-destructive testing products in the United States, as well as the worldwide research and development and marketing of the company’s medical information technology (IT) solutions.
On May 9, 2005, FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA, Inc. (Stamford,
CT) announced the appointment of a new company President, Makoto
Kawaguchi. As President, Mr. Kawaguchi is responsible for sales and
service for the company's medical imaging, life sciences, and
non-destructive testing products in the United States, as well as
the worldwide research and development and marketing of the
company's medical information technology (IT) solutions.Mr.
Kawaguchi has more than 25 years of experience marketing Fuji
products and, most recently, served as the Deputy General Manager
of the company's Medical Systems Division. He holds a Bachelor's
degree in International Economics from Hitotsubashi University in
Japan. Recently, Mr. Kawaguchi discussed his new role with
Coming into this new position, what do you see as the role of Fuji
in the arena of imaging technology to date?
Fuji has been a pioneer in digital X-ray technology; we started
with high-end customers, such as large American healthcare
institutions and teaching institutions all over the world. Now, as
the price tag for our technology has gone down, we are more focused
on the smaller-sized customer. With the introduction of SmartCR,
which is the low-end device in our product portfolio, we have been
fairly successful in this arena. I am very proud to say that we
have shipped more than 33,000 computed radiography (CR) readers
from the initial release and have received wide acceptance
throughout the world. SmartCR alone has sold more than 10,000
How does this new digital technology affect the imaging experience
for the radiologist and for the patient?
Digital technology, together with certain system configurations,
enables multiple users to see the radiographs at the same time
throughout the entire department. For instance, when a patient is
brought in to a trauma center, it is critical to make a swift,
accurate judgment about necessary treatment. In such cases, X-rays
can be taken at the trauma center and, even before the radiologist
sees the image, the trauma surgeon can see the image and can make
appropriate treatment decisions in a timely manner.
Do you foresee a time when radiology will become truly
Paper is used in many ways in the radiology department and in other
departments throughout the healthcare institution. It would be hard
for me to say if a completely paperless system would be feasible
because the paper is used not only for image printing but for
printing many other types of documented information, such as
medical records or accounting information.
Then what do you see as the role of paper and film-based
In reality, even with the current level of penetration of digital
technology, we see a lot of healthcare institutions, including
smaller hospitals and free-standing clinics, that are still working
on film. When a patient is referred to a larger institution that is
running on a PACS, the large institution still needs to print
data-including the radiograph and the diagnostic findings-to send
back to the referring office that does not have a PACS. So, even
institutions that have a PACS will still need to retain at least
some film-based capabilities.
What is the next frontier for radiology technology development?
Efficiency is one thing that is very important. In the clinical
arena, there are still a number of investigations going on looking
into the possibility of less-invasive imaging, with less risk to
the patient while maintaining diagnostic accuracy. Optical imaging
is another area of development as well.
Where do you see Fuji heading under your leadership?
The combination of our leadership in digital X-ray imaging
technology with our enterprise PACS solution, Synapse, I think,
places us in a very good position to provide our customers with a
total medical information technology solution, not necessarily
focusing on X-ray imaging alone. We will cover all other imaging
modalities in the Synapse environment as well as medical records.
We are looking into the possibility of expansion into those
Kodak unveils new products at SCAR
Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, NY) introduced two new
products at the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology
(SCAR) 2005 Annual Meeting held in Orlando, FL, June 2-5: A new
single-cassette digital X-ray capture system and a virtual
colonoscopy application for its Directview PACS System 5.
Single-cassette digital X-ray capture system
The new Kodak Directview CR 825 single-cassette digital X-ray
capture system includes a 15-inch flat-panel touch-screen monitor
and can support a variety of cassette sizes: 15 × 30 cm, 18 × 24
cm, 24 × 30 cm, 35 × 35 cm, and 35 × 43 cm. When using the 35 ×
43-cm cassettes, the system can process up to 60 plates per hour.
The system, which can store up to 2000 images, includes an
integrated central processing unit and an internal uninterruptible
The CR 825 system supports a variety of accessories and
software, including Kodak's proprietary Directview EVP Software,
the Directview Remote Operations Panels, and DICOM store and
worklist management software. The remote operations panels allow
patient/cassette identification, image review, and image
distribution steps to be performed in the examination room. The EVP
software was designed to present both high-contrast and
wide-latitude data in a single image, there-by enhancing the
consistency of images.
"As the majority of healthcare providers move to digital image
capture, we recognize that orthopedic practices, imaging centers,
hospitals, and healthcare providers of all types can benefit from a
compact, highly reliable CR system designed for midrange volume
requirements," said Todd Minnigh, Kodak Health Group's Director of
Marketing for the Americas.
The CR 825 is expected to be commercially available this
Virtual colonoscopy software
At SCAR, Kodak also unveiled a virtual colonoscopy application
designed for use with the company's Directview PACS System 5.
Kodak integrated the V3D Colon Software from Viatronix, Inc.
(Stony Brook, NY) into the Kodak PACS. This combined solution
allows the user to automatically process computed tomography (CT)
images into 3-dimensional (3D) models for viewing, diagnosis, and
report generation (Figure 1).
When using the V3D Colon software, abdominal and pelvic CT
images are obtained while the colon is inflated. A 3D model is
generated automatically, allowing for "fly-through" viewing.
Regarding the partnership with Viatronix, Michael Jackman,
General Manager of Healthcare Information Systems and Vice
President of Kodak's Health Group, said, "Viatronix has developed
outstanding software for virtual colonoscopy applications that is a
perfect fit with our strategy of providing the most advanced 3D
imaging applications to our customers. The collaborative
relationship we have with Viatronix has resulted in extending the
capabilities of our PACS platform to help medical professionals
realize improvements in workflow without the need for
single-purpose workstations usually required to view colonoscopy
Kodak's application will be available as either an optional
enhancement to the Directview PACS System 5 or as a dedicated
workstation beginning in the third quarter of 2005.