Sunday, 03 December 2023

“Stricter regulations can impede timely approvals and adoption of advanced technologies”

01 September 2023 | Interviews | By Dr Manbeena Chawla

Fujifilm India, the Indian arm of Japan-headquartered company Fujifilm, has announced the first-ever installation of the new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine Echelon Smart 1.5 Tesla in India. As the Medical Systems business thrives, Fujifilm India plans to increase its contribution towards improving the healthcare system in India. In a detailed interaction with BioSpectrum, Chander Shekhar Sibal, Head, Healthcare Division, Fujifilm India expounds about the new product and its impact on the Indian medtech sector.

What are the key highlights and major applications of this first MRI machine being developed by Fujifilm India?

The remarkable features of Echelon Smart 1.5 Tesla MRI by Fujifilm India make it stand out from conventional MRI machines. The device is equipped with several patient-friendly features like Smart Comfort that minimises acoustic noise for a more comfortable scanning experience. Its SmartECO feature minimises power consumption while maintaining high-quality imaging. Likewise, the device's operator-friendly design incorporates SmartSPACE for a compact footprint and versatile layout. It also comes with SmartSPEED feature to facilitate quick scans, including Brain and Spine Autopose, Whole Body Diffusion, and motion artefact reduction. These innovations, combined with its cost efficiency and noise reduction capabilities, make the Echelon Smart 1.5 Tesla MRI machine a transformative addition to the diagnostic sector.

This system has immense potential to transform India’s diagnostic landscape. Its economic operation, coupled with reduced noise levels, facilitates cost-effective and patient-friendly medical imaging. Moreover, by addressing common challenges associated with traditional MRI machines, such as noise and high-power consumption, the newly launched MRI machine aims to enhance overall patient experience, besides empowering healthcare professionals with precise diagnostics.

The Echelon Smart MRI scanner excels in producing detailed, high-quality medical images for precise diagnosis. The machine's remarkable image resolution, low acoustic noise, and efficient power consumption make it ideal for precise diagnosis of the brain, spine, and other internal organs. Moreover, its operator-friendly design and streamlined workflows enhance the diagnostic process, thus, improving patient care. Additionally, with its smart technologies like noise reduction, quick scan plans, and motion artefact reduction, the MRI machine is poised to revolutionise medical imaging, benefitting both patients and healthcare professionals.

 

How would you compare this machine with the other products already available in India, especially the MRI scanner recently launched by the Department of Biotechnology?

The Echelon Smart 1.5 Tesla MRI machine represents a significant leap forward in the realm of medical imaging technology. It comes with a variety of intelligent features aimed at improving patient comfort, simplifying operation for technicians, and boosting energy efficiency.

Compared to the recently introduced budget-friendly and lightweight MRI scanner by the Department of Biotechnology in India, the Fujifilm Echelon Smart 1.5 Tesla MRI machine offers advanced features that focus on patient comfort, operator convenience, and energy efficiency. While both machines contribute to improved medical imaging accessibility and cost-effectiveness, the Echelon Smart stands out due to its innovative technologies, making it versatile for various healthcare settings.

We have strategically designed this innovative machine without compromising on quality. Our dedication to providing state-of-the-art medical imaging technology at a competitive cost underscores our mission to make advanced healthcare accessible to a wider population. Fujifilm India has consistently maintained a competitive edge in the market by focusing on delivering high-quality, innovative healthcare solutions. The Echelon Smart 1.5 Tesla MRI machine demonstrates our commitment to technological advancement and quality patient care.

 

How do you plan to strengthen your presence in the MRI space in India? 

We are committed to enhancing our footprint in India's MRI sector by innovating and introducing increasingly sophisticated MRI-based products that address the ever-evolving demands of the healthcare sector. The successful installation of the Echelon Smart 1.5 Tesla MRI machine at Sarvodaya Hospital in Greater Noida reflects our unwavering commitment to improving healthcare quality and increasing accessibility. We are committed to transforming India’s diagnostic sector by contributing to improved medical imaging outcomes. In the coming years, we intend to launch a series of pioneering MRI-based products incorporating the latest technological advancements. Our primary goal is to deliver patient-friendly, operator-friendly, and environment-friendly solutions that provide high image quality while ensuring cost efficiency and diagnostic accuracy.

 

What are the current challenges facing the MRI space in India?

The MRI space in India encounters several challenges, including regulatory hurdles, pricing constraints, and supply chain complexities. Stricter regulations can impede timely approvals and adoption of advanced technologies. Likewise, pricing pressures may hinder accessibility and affordability, limiting patient reach. Addressing supply chain intricacies is equally crucial to ensure consistent equipment availability. To rectify these issues, streamlining regulatory processes, fostering public-private collaborations for cost-effective solutions, and enhancing supply chain efficiency through strategic partnerships are essential steps.

 

What is the current market share of Fujifilm in India? Which Fujifilm products are generating the most revenue in the Indian medtech/ diagnostic market?

Fujifilm India commands a substantial 50 per cent market presence in the country's healthcare industry, particularly in medical imaging and diagnostics. We are a leading provider of diverse medical devices, including digital radiography systems, endoscopy systems, and point of care diagnostic solutions. 

 

What are your future plans for developing more diagnostic and medtech products in India to push the ‘Make in India’ initiative?

Our future plans involve continued innovation in diagnostic and medtech products. We aim to develop cutting-edge solutions that enhance precision, streamline workflows, and improve patient experiences. These products will focus on addressing evolving healthcare needs, with a strong emphasis on affordability and quality.  To render  ‘Make In India’ a reality, a phased approach towards creating cutting-edge diagnostic and medical technology products tailored to India's specific healthcare requirements will be viable. By embracing a phased approach, we intend to champion advancements in medical imaging and diagnostics, thereby contributing significantly to the enhancement of the country's healthcare framework. 

 

What are your expectations from the government?

The government is already playing a pivotal role in fostering the growth of the burgeoning medical devices market in India. By facilitating an environment conducive to foreign investment and implementing policies for bolstering the local manufacturing and distribution of medical devices, the government can further elevate India's position in the global medical technology landscape. Furthermore, collaborative efforts between the government and industry stakeholders can enhance domestic manufacturing capabilities and establish India as a hub for advanced medical devices, thereby elevating healthcare standards and fostering economic progress.

 

Dr Manbeena Chawla

(manbeena.chawla@mmactiv.com)

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