In the rapidly changing field of medical technology, no manufacturer can afford to become complacent. Industry leadership and sheer size do little to protect a company from major market changes.
Olympus has a strong presence in the areas of flexible endoscopes and visualization, among other devices. But the company recognizes that continuing evolution is important, and as a result they’ve put a major effort into developing their endoscopic device options. At the recent American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) conference, Olympus showcased no fewer than ten new products they’ve added to their endoscopic device line over the course of the past two years.
Karli Illigash, director of marketing at Olympus, says the focus is the result of a company awareness that healthcare facilities are in need of providers who can address a wider range of needs.
“Our focus and direction has always been about improving upon our partnership strengths with our customers,” says Illigash. “We are constantly asking how we can bring our customers better technologies to get to the optimum patient outcomes.”
While the long-term fate of the Affordable Care Act is now in question, there’s a strong sense that the mandates for greater efficiencies within the healthcare sector will endure, one way or another. That makes it critical for manufacturers to develop multi-tiered solutions that address all facets of a facility’s work.
Olympus is holding up their VisiGlide portfolio of Guidewires as a prime example of the innovations they’re bringing to the field. Designed for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), the VisiGlide provides improved access with a wire that has the body of a 0.025-inch with the stiffness of an 0.035-inch wire, allowing physicians an ideal wire for cannulations without compromising stiffness and control.
“Accessing the site may be the most challenging step within the procedure,” Illigash notes. “Having the right tools is critical to overcoming this challenge, and we feel that our product allows physicians to gain access more efficiently, based on the unique properties of our wire.”
Some of the details in the array of devices Olympus has been introducing in this space are a direct result of physician feedback. According to Illigash, those feedback loops with healthcare professionals not only provide insight on what solutions to pursue next, they also provide an understanding about the level of added support that will be needed for those transitioning to new approaches.
“More advanced procedures are introduced all the time, so we have become focused on understanding how to lower the hurdles so that a physician can more easily learn and begin offering the latest and greatest,” she says.
To that end, Olympus offers extensive training programs meant to bring physicians fully up to speed on the new equipment and the evolving procedures.
Olympus has added many new and modified devices to their line-up over the course of the past few years, but there’s of course further transformation on the way.
“We don’t want to be known as just an endoscope company,” Illigash says. “We want to be known as a strong device company, a viable device company, and a valuable partner to practices. We have some really exciting technologies in the pipeline that we’re anticipating launching over the next couple of years. Some within the same space that we operate today, and some elsewhere, knowing that our range of strengths is transferrable. That’s important in a medical landscape that’s never the same from one day to the next.”