par Carol Ko
, Staff Writer | December 06, 2013
Though he's only been at the helm for less than a year, Konica Minolta Medical Imaging's first-ever American president and COO David Widmann has already made a lasting mark in more ways than one: the company made a series of announcements at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting aimed at expanding its presence in primary imaging, including entering the ultrasound market and signing a global distribution agreement with GE.
DOTmed News got a chance to visit with Widmann for some follow-up questions on his long-term vision for diagnostic imaging, ultrasound and Konica Minolta's role in both.
DMN: So ultrasound appears to be the modality of the moment — there's a perception that it's increasingly going head to head with technologies such as CT and MRI. Correspondingly, it seems customers are expecting more out of ultrasound than ever before. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the timeliness of your company's announcement?
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To be honest, it's new, different, and scary. I grew up on the X-ray side. I think ultrasound is one of the most misunderstood modalities out there. A lot of companies make it a displacement technology, which is great for them.
But my real desire for ultrasound is to make it the first line of defense before you need to resort to CT or MR. For us, ultrasound is good enough on its own, and it does what it needs to do very, very well — it doesn't need to do more. Where we see the main opportunity is through bringing ultrasound to point of care and moving diagnosis as early in the process as possible.
DMN: What are your thoughts on being the first American president of Konica Minolta? That's quite an impressive first.
I'm very lucky — you've got a company that's number one in medical imaging in Japan. I come in at a time when the American market is going into Konica Minolta's sweet spot. It's increasingly moving toward economic solutions and clinical confidence.
We need to have more people know we're here. Our distribution agreement with companies like GE and other companies show that you've got the biggest companies in the world looking to form partnerships with us because these are fabulous technologies that are known in the industry, and we're proud of them.
DMN: So it seems like there's a big picture trend in terms of smartphone-centered devices and traditional diagnostic imaging slowly converging at some future point — I was wondering how you saw your company adapting to this trend in the future.
This fits in nicely with one the three pillars of my presentation — which is how we deal with the sheer amount of data that's out there now. Look at the power of data in imaging — how can you do analytics on it? How can we help our customers visualize and process this data in a smart way? At the same time, we have to be focused on primary imaging. You can't do everything, and I believe in keeping a focus and really concentrating on doing what you feel you can really be good at. So I feel we can do so much more just in that.