In the last four years, Toshiba has earned the Best in KLAS award as a medical equipment category leader eleven times: Magnetic Resonance (2006 - 2009), Computed Tomography (2006 - 2009), Ultrasound (2007 - 2009). In 2008 and 2009, in fact, Toshiba received the top ranking overall among medical equipment vendors in the “Top 20 Best in KLAS Awards: Medical Equipment” reports.
Toshiba employees take pride in these consistent results because they are a direct reflection of how effectively Toshiba's customers realize the results they expect. “We try to be easy to work with and always listen to the customer,” says Larry Dentice, general manager and senior vice president. “But perhaps more important than anything else, we believe that the measure of our success is determined by the measure of success our customers achieve. If we can help them, then it's a win for us. That attitude affects everything we do and the way we do it.”
In a highly competitive market supplying mission-critical equipment, there is another metric that suggests Toshiba has been successful: consistent performance that has outpaced market growth. Over the last few years, in fact, Toshiba has grown at a greater than 10 percent clip - in a declining market.
Toshiba America Medical Systems is a full-line provider of CT, x-ray, ultrasound, MRI and other diagnostic imaging equipment. Toshiba serves some of the nation's most prestigious healthcare providers throughout the U.S., including Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health and Emory Healthcare.
Dentice attributes Toshiba's strong relationships and resilient performance in the marketplace to two core factors, one functional and the other based on the company's unique corporate culture. The first, a specialized expertise in and focus on imaging, ensures that Toshiba equipment solves problems well. The second, a commitment to the customer, guides how Toshiba operates at all levels.
“We're unique in our market in that we have an exclusive focus on imaging,” says Dentice. “Most of our competitors offer products in segments outside imaging, but we believe that remaining true to our core competency has helped us thrive.” This singular focus has produced impressive results in diagnostic imaging research, from the first cardiac ultrasound scanner in 1978 to the largest open-bore MR system in 2007.
A more pragmatic outcome, however, is the effectiveness with which Toshiba products improve diagnostic processes and demonstrate value. “We absolutely must provide high-quality images that allow physicians to make quick, confident diagnoses,” says Dentice. “But we also have to be able to enhance clinical workflow. Our Aquilion ONE CT system is great example. It can be used to assess stroke and chest pain and its low dose techniques are particularly beneficial for our younger patients.”
Toshiba's commitment to customers has a long history. More than 130 years ago, when he created Toshiba's predecessor company, Tokyo Electric, Hisashige Tanaka, first president of Toshiba, instilled a philosophy in the corporate culture of the organization. “He emphasized the importance of listening to customers and striving to meet their needs,” says Dentice. “That heritage influences all of Toshiba's global business, but it's particularly useful in medical imaging. For a medical equipment manufacturer in the Internet age, it translates into a call to make every effort to collaborate in meaningful ways with clients to learn about their requirements - and then deliver on them.”
“One unique aspect of our culture and the way we do business can be found in our interaction. We consistently seek out feedback. It's the only way, we believe, to improve. And if a customer calls they know first of all, they will be able to talk to someone live that resides here in the states and that their issue will be addressed as quickly as possible. Secondly, our organization from the front line staff to the executive team is engaged with the customer. I personally talk to as many customers as I can.
“We continue to search for ways to improve our performance. We want our customers to know that it is our intention to deliver on our commitments and meet their requirements. And if there are ways that we can improve on that, we'd like to hear that feedback. After all, you can always perform better than you are today.
“I hope the KLAS recognition says that more than anything we care about meeting our commitments to customers and helping them be successful.”
Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.
2441 Michelle Drive, Tustin, Calif. 92780, http://www.medical.toshiba.com, 800-421-1968
Healthcare Informatics 2009 September;26(9):14
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