UM radiology center in deal with Toshiba University will train medical customers to use technology

Leading edge diagnostics

University sought out partnerships with five corporations

September 26, 1996|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Toshiba Corp., the Japanese electronics giant, and the University of Maryland Medical Center yesterday unveiled a new international training center where radiologists and clinicians from around the world will be shown how to treat patients with powerful new technology.

The center, in the radiology department's new 13,500-square-foot Angiography/Interventional Radiology Center, is equipped with state-of-the-art imaging technology that Toshiba is banking on to be a big seller in the United States.

In return, the radiology department will conduct about six training sessions annually for Toshiba's medical equipment customers worldwide -- the only such center planned.

The university will also evaluate the effectiveness of the technology and offer ideas for improving its use.

The partnership is the result of a strategy the medical institution embarked on more than a year ago to strike training and teaching agreements with corporate partners, with an eye toward building a highly advanced radiology center.

In return, the medical center receives significant discounts on the latest medical equipment and technology. Cathy Eilts, a spokeswoman for Toshiba, said the company declined to disclose specifics of the discounts.

"We decided that we wanted the most advanced radiology department in the world for treating patients, for teaching, and for research," said Dr. Philip A. Templeton, chairman of the university's Department of Diagnostic Radiology.

But the cost of the latest imaging equipment and other technology to equip such a world-class facility was found to be prohibitive, Templeton said. For example, an imaging machine the university obtained from Toshiba for the training center, the Max 1000A, lists for about $600,000.

The machine will be used to treat and evaluate kidney and liver problems and help radiologists guide the placement of catheters inside the body.

While the university will show Toshiba customers how to use that machine, it will also be able to use it to train its residents in leading edge technology and to treat some of the estimated 8,000 patients the radiology department serves annually.

Templeton said he and other university officials began looking into corporate partnerships as a way to obtain the latest medical technology and expand the university's role as a teaching hospital beyond the reach of the Baltimore campus.

Today, the medical institution has five such partnership agreements, including the Toshiba deal.

Other partners include General Electric Co.; 3M; SMV, a French-based nuclear medicine technology firm; and Advanced Technology Laboratories, a U.S. manufacturer of ultrasound equipment.

The Toshiba agreement, however, is by far the most significant, Templeton said.

Under the agreement, the radiology department's training sessions for Toshiba customers are expected to last about three weeks each, and to be attended by six to eight radiologists and clinicians each time, medical center officials said.

The clients will be trained to use four of Toshiba's newest machines, including one that allows radiologists to view the heart, brain and other organs as they are functioning as opposed to what is available now -- snapshots for which the doctor must await processing.

"This equipment will significantly improve the diagnosis and treatment of our patients. It's really dramatic how different it is from what has been available," Templeton said.

For example, he said, the Toshiba equipment provides images that are dramatically clearer and more detailed than available with the standard technology in use today.

Also, patients are strapped into a harness on a table that can be rotated and turned to the optimal angle for good images.

That eliminates the need for the sometimes awkward and inaccurate effort of moving patients by hand and use of pillows and other props to angle body areas for the imaging equipment, Templeton said.

Pub Date: 9/26/96

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