2015 VOL.70 NO.7

  Special Reports

Total Medical Solution Provider Contributing to Progress of Healthcare and Society

At Starting Line of Next Hundred Years
KURA Hiroyuki

Healthcare Solutions to Support Social Development and Aging Society
TOKI Yusuke / TACHIZAKI Hisashi / IKEDA Satoshi
There is a growing need for healthcare services worldwide in line with the recent trends of the aging of society in developed countries and increases in lifestyle-related diseases in developing countries. In terms of reducing the total costs related to medical services accompanying the growing burden of medical care and welfare including elderly care, attention has been focused on the further development of preventive medicine and the provision of a wide range of healthcare services from the viewpoint of social needs, as well as cost reductions through improvement of diagnostic efficiency and effective utilization of resources from the perspective of hospital management.
As a total healthcare solutions provider, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been continuously engaged in the research and development of various leading-edge medical products and technologies for both morphological and functional diagnosis, and is making efforts to offer innovative technologies including big data analysis and clinical applications utilizing information and communication technology (ICT).

Cutting-edge Technologies for X-ray Systems Ensuring Safety, Security, and Comfort of Diagnosis and Treatment
SATO Naotaka / KUROKI Takahiro
X-ray systems that convert X-rays passing through the human body into images are widely used in various fields of diagnosis and treatment, due to their simplicity and immediacy. In recent years, improvements in the image quality and usability of such systems as a result of technological innovations have contributed to more accurate diagnosis and treatment and shorter examination times.
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been continuously developing exposure management technologies that can precisely estimate doses of exposure as well as technologies to reduce exposure. We are also making efforts to reduce the burden on patients through the development of technologies to enhance the effectiveness of examinations. By applying these technologies to our various X-ray products, we are actively promoting the provision of medical systems offering safety, security, and comfort to both patients, and operators and other medical staff.

Aquilion ONE / ViSION Edition CT Scanner Realizing 3D Dynamic Observation with Low-Dose Scanning
KAZAMA Masahiro / SAITO Yasuo
Computed tomography (CT) scanners have been continuously advancing as essential diagnostic imaging equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of diseases, including the three major disease classes of cerebrovascular disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Through the development of helical CT scanners and multislice CT scanners, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has developed the Aquilion ONE, a CT scanner with a scanning range of up to 160 mm per rotation that can obtain three-dimensional (3D) images of the brain, heart, and other organs in a single rotation. We have now developed the Aquilion ONE / ViSION Edition, a next-generation 320-row multislice CT scanner incorporating the latest technologies that achieves a shorter scanning time and significant reduction in dose compared with conventional products. This product with its low-dose scanning technology will contribute to the practical realization of new diagnosis and treatment modalities employing four-dimensional (4D) data based on 3D dynamic observations through continuous rotations.

Imaging Technologies for Nuclear Medicine Offering Superior Functional Diagnosis
The nuclear medicine examination is a diagnostic procedure in which organ functions, such as metabolism, blood flow, and neurotransmission, are visualized utilizing radioisotope (RI) tracers. It is a type of molecular imaging, in which RI tracers reflect biological functions on a molecular level.
To obtain images with high diagnostic accuracy, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has developed the following sophisticated technologies for nuclear medicine: a radiation measurement technology with a high time resolution of several hundred picoseconds, a quantification method that can compensate for Compton scattering and photoelectric effects, and an image reconstruction technology. We are supplying proprietary nuclear medicine systems incorporating these technologies with the objectives of decreasing the patient burden and contributing to hospital management efficiency through reduction of radiation doses and shortening of examination times.

Ultrasound Diagnostic Systems Contributing to Advancements in Noninvasive Examinations with Reduced Burden on Patients
SATO Takeshi / TAKEUCHI Takashi / KANAYAMA Yuko
Ultrasound diagnostic systems are employed for diagnostic imaging in many medical institutions due to their advantage of real-time, noninvasive examinations without X-ray exposure.
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been developing advanced image processing technologies and ultrasound probe sensor technologies for ultrasound diagnostic systems. These include a shear wave elastography technology that displays images showing the hardness of living tissue and the Superb Micro-Vascular Imaging (SMI) technology that extracts blood flow without requiring a contrast medium, for the diagnosis of liver and other abdominal diseases, as well as an ultrasound laparoscopic transducer technology for the support of surgery and inspection of therapeutic effects. The Aplio series ultrasound diagnostic systems incorporating these technologies have come into widespread use in clinical practice.

Vantage Elan 1.5-Tesla MRI System Taking People and Environment into Consideration
KANAZAWA Hitoshi / ADACHI Akira / YOSHIDA Tomoyuki
The image quality and examination efficiency of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems depend on the magnetic field strength, and the dissemination of 1.5-tesla MRI systems equipped with a superconducting magnet, which account for about 50% of all sales of MRI systems, has been expanding in recent years. Customers' requirements for and expectations of 1.5-tesla MRI systems are also shifting year by year, in line with the major changes taking place in the medical environment.
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has developed the Vantage Elan, a next-generation 1.5-tesla MRI system, in response to these changing needs of medical facilities in both advanced and developing countries by completely reconsidering the design of a 1.5-tesla MRI system from the viewpoint of customers, based on the concept of offering high-resolution images with easy operation similar to that of low-field MRI systems. Thanks to its high magnetic field, the Vantage Elan provides superior image quality and examination efficiency to customers who would conventionally introduce a low-field MRI system. More than one year has passed since the Vantage Elan was released, and it has been highly evaluated due to its outstanding cost performance, ease of use by patients and operators, and environmental friendliness.

Approaches to Collaborative Research on Clinical Applications
In the research and development of medical devices and clinical applications, demand is growing for new technologies that deliver superior performance and enhanced utility in clinical medicine as well as greater benefit to patients than conventional technologies. In order to meet the legal requirements for medical devices in various countries in recent years, attention has been focused on proving clinical effectiveness and efficacy as well as on improving electrical safety, mechanical safety, and software reliability. Clinical evaluation studies and investigations in cooperation with medical facilities and patients not only in Japan but also overseas are essential to verify the validity of new technologies that can be accepted worldwide. It is also necessary to publish academic papers and make scientific presentations at academic conferences aimed at the development of future technologies corresponding to the latest healthcare trends and clinical needs, in collaboration with leading medical facilities around the world.
In response to these circumstances, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been engaged in the research and development of various technologies, including clinical applications, image analysis technologies, and new imaging methods, through collaborative research on clinical applications based on contracts with healthcare professionals working at medical institutions both in Japan and overseas including university hospitals.

X-ray Devices Contributing to Sophistication of X-ray Diagnostic Systems
IDE Hideki / YAMAMOTO Toyoh / ONIHASHI Hiroshi
X-ray tubes to generate X-rays, as well as X-ray image intensifiers (I. I.s) and X-ray flat panel detectors (FPDs) to convert X-ray images into electronic signals, are key devices in X-ray diagnostic systems, which are playing a major role in the advancement of diagnosis and treatment.
Toshiba Electron Tubes & Devices Co., Ltd. has been offering optimal products incorporating the most advanced technologies to customers through continuous technological innovations. These include a high-sensitivity technology for X-ray I. I.s and X-ray FPDs to suppress patient exposure doses, a focal spot design technology for X-ray tubes and high-resolution technologies for X-ray I. I.s and X-ray FPDs that enhance image quality and make it possible to detect smaller lesion areas, and a noise reduction technology for X-ray tubes to realize a comfortable medical environment with reduced stress on both patients and medical staff.

Secure Healthcare IT Solutions Covering Wide Range of Medical Care Information
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been providing a cluster of healthcare cloud services called Healthcare@Cloud, incorporating cloud-based information technology (IT) that complies with security requirements in the medical field into its technologies cultivated through 100 years of experience in developing various medical devices. After launching a cloud-based medical image archiving service as the inaugural component, we have been expanding the components of Healthcare@Cloud both in-hospital and extra-hospital services.
These services include a medical image viewing service allowing doctors working at different locations to securely check medical images at any time and a regional medical information sharing service to connect a core hospital with clinics within the community through cloud computing technologies. Furthermore, to facilitate safe, high-quality medical care services as a total solution provider in the healthcare field, we have developed a new hospital accounting system called HAPPY RAPPORT that integrates a nursing-care insurance billing system and a conventional hospital accounting system, along with systems for the sharing of patient information among hospitals using the RapideyeCore medical image archiving and communication system and the RapideyeAgent radiology information system.

Healthcare IT Solutions Supporting Continuum of Care
MASUZAWA Takashi / KAMINAGA Shigeo / OSADA Masakazu
To create a framework for patient-centric delivery of the continuum of care, mechanisms to integrate various types of healthcare services and provide them are desired while achieving a balance between assuring improvement of both the quality and safety of medical care and building lean hospital management.
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation and Vital Images, Inc. have been developing healthcare system products aimed at realizing the continuum of care based on their organic image acquisition and image processing technologies by leveraging information technology (IT). These include (1) clinical applications to facilitate accurate and prompt diagnosis and treatment, (2) information-integrated management and its supply applications to allow healthcare professionals to utilize clinical information obtained by such clinical applications in various patient care settings across healthcare institutions, and (3) a healthcare IT platform as a foundation for such systems. These systems will be supplied as various solutions to realize patient-centric care by healthcare providers.

TBA-FX8 Automated Clinical Chemistry Analyzer with Flexibility to Respond to Demands of Large-Scale Clinical Laboratories
Automated clinical chemistry analyzers are instruments that quantitatively or qualitatively measure the concentration of clinical chemistry assays in biological fluid samples such as serum, urine, and so on. They are widely used in clinical laboratories and examination centers in line with the progress of automation due to the dissemination of computer technology. With the changes in health services and the increasing sophistication of medical technologies in recent years, demand in this field has diversified to include compliance with the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 15189 standard, which specifies requirements for quality and competence in medical laboratories, in addition to the handling of large volumes of data, shortening of turnaround time (TAT), reduction of the cost per test, and labor saving as universal requirements.
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been developing automated clinical chemistry analyzers with the flexibility to fulfill these diverse requirements. We have now developed the TBA-FX8 automated clinical chemistry analyzer, which has two reagent compartments with large capacity to improve the processing capacity when treating large amounts of specimens and makes it possible to reduce the introduction cost for future expansion through the adoption of a module connection structure.


  Feature Articles

Logical Inventory Method for Optimization of Inventory Management
OHSHIMA Hiroko / OMAE Hiroko / SAKURAI Yuki
Inventory assets are one of the most important management indicators for manufacturing companies, and proper control of inventory is vital to ensure a stable management structure. As inventory also plays a key role in the prevention of opportunity losses, it is essential to resolve the trade-off between the reduction and maintenance of inventory based on the appropriate criteria.
Toshiba has been continuously engaged in the improvement of inventory management in the Toshiba Group. We have now developed a method of theoretically calculating the optimal inventory in each supply chain by clarifying factors related to the occurrence of inventory. The theoretically calculated inventory, called the "logical inventory," is then targeted as the goal or set as the starting point of improvement activities for the optimization of inventory.

Technologies of Applications for Tablets Promoting Expansion of Business Use
OGAWA Takehiro / YAMAMOTO Koji / KIKUGAWA Yusaku
Toshiba has developed a series of applications for tablets, which can be used daily in a variety of business fields. To allow users to perform natural input operations without the need for a keyboard or mouse, these applications consist of the TruNote handwritten note app, the TruCapture document image capture app, and the TruRecorder voice recording app. Each of these apps is the fruit of our differentiated technologies: a handwriting retrieval technology, handwritten figure and table recognition and formatting technologies, and handwriting input assistive technology for TruNote; a shape correction technology and reflection reducing technology for TruCapture; and a speaker clustering technology and voice clarifying technology for TruRecorder. These technologies incorporated into our tablets provide users with greatly improved utility in their business activities.


  Frontiers of  Research & Development

Technology to Detect and Recognize Text in Scene Images Captured by Camera

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