“Physicians need to actively engage to adapt their practice and to shape the technology.”
Vanderbilt professor, William W. Stead MD, on physicians’ need to adapt to (and adopt) AI as the technology becomes increasingly mainstream.
The Imaging Wire
The Seven Healthcare AI and DL Adoption Drivers
JAMA outlined the seven factors that will drive AI and deep learning adoption in healthcare. They all seem quite logical:
1. Medical imaging is becoming more powerful and more important in healthcare, and AI/DL can interpret images better than humans
2. The accelerating digitization of health-related records and sharing of labeled/specialized data sets
3. Deep learning’s ability to analyze heterogeneous data sets from diverse sources
4. The “enormous capacity” of deep learning for research hypothesis generation
5. Deep learning’s potential to streamline routine clinical workflows and empower patients, making healthcare safer, more humane, and more participatory
6. The rapid-diffusion of open-source and proprietary deep learning programs
7. Today’s basic deep learning technology is sufficient to support each of the above demand drivers (as long as datasets get larger).
Moody’s Troubling Nonprofit Hospital Diagnosis
A report from Moody’s revealed that US nonprofit and public hospitals’ 2017 median expenses increased at a higher rate (+5.7%) than their median revenue (+4.6%) for the second straight year (2016 = expenses +7.1%, revenue +6.1%), putting the sector on a “unsustainable path.” As a result, the share of nonprofit/public hospitals reporting an operating loss in 2017 nearly doubled to 28.4% (vs. 16.5% in 2016), while the number of hospitals reporting lower absolute operating cash flow more than doubled during the last two years to 59% (vs. 24% in 2015). The firm attributed nonprofit hospitals’ struggles to lower reimbursement rates, a shift to outpatient care, growing merger and acquisition activity, and rising ambulatory competition. These are bad signs and Moody’s expects 2018 to be worse. Considering that Morgan Stanley just reported that 20% of ALL hospitals are in poor financial shape, it appears something is very broken in the way hospitals are operating.
Fujifilm and IU Launch AI Partnership
Fujifilm and Indiana University School of Medicine launched a partnership to develop AI-based medical imaging diagnostic support applications. The partnership combines Fujifilm’s image processing and AI technology with Indiana University’s diagnostic and clinical know-how, initially developing applications to measure muscle atrophy (sarcopenia) in body images and detect/ quantify brain lesions in neuroradiology images, while performing research to eventually develop a system to support diagnosis workflow. Fujifilm’s Indiana University alliance is one part of its AI strategy, which also includes in-house development projects and separate partnerships with AI leaders, to support the creation of Fujifilm’s REiLI-branded portfolio of AI technology.
Purdue University Combines Ultrasound and PAT
Purdue University researchers are developing a biomedical imaging system that combines ultrasound and photoacoustic tomography (PAT) technology. Here’s how it works: the PAT system transmits pulsed light that heats body tissue, causing the tissue to expand and generate an acoustic signal that can be detected and visualized by an ultrasound transducer. The system is specifically intended to diagnose cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, leveraging its ability to capture compositional information to help clinicians understand blood and lipid location.
CMS Takes Price Transparency into its Own Hands
CMS has set out to find a company to build and maintain the department’s new online healthcare price comparison platform as part of its continued effort to give consumers better pricing transparency. Americans are pretty poor at shopping around for healthcare and hospitals aren’t particularly eager to open up about their pricing structure, so although this platform would be a big step in the right direction, CMS has work to do in order to create awareness of the platform and drive adoption once it’s launched.
- Swiss medical imaging startup, Pristem, raised $14.4 million to fund the development of an X-ray system intended for use in low-income regions that generally have limited funding and poor service infrastructure. The Pristem GlobalDiagnostiX U-arm system is on track to launch in two years, combining low costs with an architecture that can withstand tropical climates and electrical supply interruptions, while still offering a user interface and internet connectivity to support teleradiology and remote maintenance.
- Healthcare deep learning and analytics developer, Vyasa Analytics, joined the NVIDIA Inception program, which helps startups develop AI/DL and data sciences products by providing a range of NVIDIA resources (GPU discounts and early access, AI/DL expertise, AI/DL training, and content marketing). Vyasa’s Cortex deep learning software analyzes different sources of large healthcare datasets (text, images, quantitative data, chemical structures) to find unexpected patterns, relationships, and concepts.
- A team of researchers found that handheld ultrasound combined with computer-aided diagnosis (CADx) software may allow non-radiologists to triage breast masses, which is particularly valuable in developing countries where access to mammography screening and radiologists are often limited.
- Not sure if this is surprising to you. A survey from the University of Chicago reveals that 57% of Americans have been surprised by a medical bill, with 35% of respondents reporting being surprised by imaging services bills. However, physician services (53%), lab tests (51%), and other health care facility charges (43%) were the most common sources of surprise medical bills.
- Philips continued to execute its bolt-on healthcare acquisition strategy, acquiring US-based heart rate and blood oxygenation sensor startup, Xhale Assurance. The acquisition does not necessarily impact Philips’ imaging business, but it does expand its portfolio of oxygen saturation monitoring solutions, and serves as another reminder that Philips is still in acquisition mode.
- The University of Maryland’s Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) launched separate collaborations involving its polyphosphazene (PPZ) polymer platform with UPenn and Texas A&M. The Texas A&M collaboration will focus on developing coatings for medical devices (e.g. stents and catheters) and the UPenn partnership will focus on developing medical imaging agent carriers.
- Alliance HealthCare Services announced its partnership with Northeast Radiology, adding the New York and Connecticut-based practice (5 centers, 9 radiologists) to its Alliance HealthCare Radiology division (46 states, +1,100 hospitals, +100 locations, +600 imaging systems).
- German researchers developed a compact hyperspectral imaging system able to capture 5D images, measuring multiple wavelengths of light and spatial coordinates as they relate to time, without requiring contact with the object being imaged. The researchers noted that the new system still requires significant research and listed medical imaging as only one potential use, in addition to very non-medical applications like identifying people in airports or measuring fruit ripeness.
- Research firm Tractica forecasts that the global healthcare AI solution market will grow from $1 billion in 2017 to more than $34 billion by 2025, driven by demand to reduce healthcare costs and achieve care and efficiency improvements.
- Immuno-oncology imaging company, ImaginAb, and Canada’s Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) launched a partnership, through which CPDC will manufacture and distribute ImaginAb’s clinical-phase PET imaging agent (Zr-89 IAB22M2C) to key global geographies.
The Resource Wire
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- Agfa Enterprise Imaging integrates clinical videos and images into a single application
- Analogic’s BK Ultrasound bkSpecto urology ultrasound system combines image quality, speed, usability, and small footprint
- Canon Aquilion Precision, the world’s first Ultra-High Resolution CT system
- Caresteam touts benefits of weight bearing CT imaging
- Fujifilm’s FDR AQRO mobile x-ray combines high sensitivity with small size and low-dos
- GE’s Every woman. Every body. Every town. roadshow brings the company’s breast health technologies and message to centers across the country.
- Hitachi white paper on the business benefits of high-field MRI.
- Hologic’s 3Dimension Mammography System leads with 3D imaging and patient comfort.
- IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review cognitive data review tool for more accurate patient records.
- Konica Minolta publishes latest Kontours issue.
- A recent OpenMarkets Health blog post detailed the abundance of brand and product options across imaging modalities and how its OpenMarkets Exchange helps medical imaging buyers know their options before they invest.
- Philips’ new HealthSuite Insights AI platform curates and analyzes healthcare data and offers tools to build and operate AI-based solutions.
- Samsung’s RS85A premium ultrasound combines image quality with advanced ergonomics
- Shimaduz MobileDaRt Evolution MX8 premium mobile x-ray
- Siemens’ new Somatom Go CTs add cardiac and image-guided capabilities