As Fujifilm celebrates 50 years in Europe, the Japanese corporation which made its name in the 1930s with camera and film technology reflects on the evolutionary drive which has seen it adapt and develop into one of the most innovative medical imaging brands in the world.
Fujifilm’s heritage is in creating precision imaging of all kinds, and for the medical business this began in 1936 when the company started producing X-ray film. The X-ray industry saw little change for decades, but by the 1970s Fujifilm had recognised that medical diagnostics was moving into the digital age and that the company needed to innovate to survive. Their engineers began to research and develop the technologies that would evolve into a revolutionary new approach. The fundamental policy behind the development of the new digital radiography system was to “Surpass analogue radiographs in every point”.
In 1983 the world’s first digital radiography system was launched. Fuji Computed Radiography (FCR) transformed medical X-ray as it allowed radiographers to take digital images for the first time. This improved image quality by applying optimised digital processing, reducing the need to re-take X-rays and hence lowering exposure for many patients. FCR was instrumental in the digitisation and technological developments necessary for the creation of medical images that could be stored, transmitted and managed in a highly efficient way, reducing costs in both diagnostic and clerical functions.
Fujifilm’s Computed Radiography started a global wave of innovation in medical-use X-ray imaging and remains a world-class product today. Thanks to its pioneering spirit and expertise in technologies Fujifilm continues to provide Computed Radiography systems featuring the fastest processing capacity in the world and unique patented technology which enables highly efficient dose control without loss of image quality. With over 100,000 units sold around the world we are proud that FCR maintains the top share in the digital radiography market.
Fujifilm continued its pioneering work across the medical imaging market. Recognising the significance of the introduction and growth of the World Wide Web, Fujifilm took the decision to develop the world’s first web-based Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). Synapse PACS was introduced in 1999 and is now on to its 5th generation HTML5 web-based solution. Due to be launched this year, Synapse 5 is designed to meet the challenge of reading increasingly large and complex modality data sets. Synapse 5 will deliver a fundamental step change in image display speed, leading to increased productivity, enhanced collaboration and optimisation of workflows.
Synapse 5 has the potential to save organisations significant resources through reduced desktop management, and a dramatic reduction in bandwidth requirements in comparison to current generation PACS technology. Synapse 5 also provides solutions for remote working across multiple locations. The Synapse family was recently complimented by the acquisition of the Best in Klas TeraMedica Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA). Born through a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic in 2001 to deliver a single electronic patient record, Synapse TeraMedica VNA stores enterprise-wide data sets in their native format and managed within a single database.
In 2003 the advanced imaging technologies cultivated through the development of FCR brought a series of innovations together to create Fujifilm Digital Radiography (FDR). With unprecedented unique technologies like Irradiated Side Sampling (ISS) acquisition method, smart switch zero x-ray integration and refined phosphor coatings, the latest D-EVO II flat panel detectors deliver significant advances in image quality and dose efficiency along with being the lightest, strongest, most flexible and best protected available in the market.
To accelerate the development of its whole product portfolio Fujifilm took the decision to centralise R&D into one Advanced Research Laboratory in Japan. The aim of this initiative was to better facilitate sharing of developments across the entire portfolio of Fujifilm products. Today we all take digital photographs on our mobile phones and see them automatically improve image quality and even recognise faces. It’s technologies like this that are now making their way into Fujifilm’s Digital Radiography portfolio to improve image quality at significantly lower doses.
These developments have been integrated into the heart of Fujifilm’s general x-ray modality imaging in the Console Advance workstation and Synapse 3D post-processing solution. Both feature sophisticated anatomical recognition algorithms to stabilise and display optimal image quality, leveraging Fujifilm’s experience in camera facial recognition. Virtual Grid Processing calculates and removes scatter in a similar way to traditional grids but without the workflow issues associated with the use of a traditional grid and with up to 50% less dose. In digital mammography, the Amulet Innovality has raised the bar for Innovation and Quality, with global recognition and awards for its unique Hexagonal pixel detector design, mammography specific post processing technology and unique dual mode tomosynthesis function, giving optimised clinical imaging in screening and symptomatic environments.
Adrian Waller, General Manager of Fujifilm Medical Systems UK comments “Fujifilm has continued to evolve its solutions for customers by applying its core principles of Innovation and Quality. I’m incredibly excited to be taking those principles and applying them to the values and strategy of Fujifilm Medical UK. We’re fully committed to delivering leading edge solutions to the market, and moreover being a great company to work for and do business with. Ultimately it’s not just about the solutions we have today, but how we work with our customers throughout the lifecycle that will differentiate us. We call it the Fujifilm Experience! ”