“We expected to see a 50% reduction that still would have been a major achievement, but an 80% reduction was unbelievable.”
University of Munich Clinic medicine professor, Dr. Jörg Hausleiter, on a recent study revealing that radiation exposure from coronary CT angiography (CCTA) fell by an “unbelievable” 78% from 2007 to 2017, essentially eliminating the threat of radiation-induced cancer from CCTA treatments.
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- Focused Ultrasound Foundation – Accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound
- Medmo – Helping underinsured Americans save on medical scans by connecting them to imaging providers with unfilled schedule time
- Pocus Systems – A new Point of Care Ultrasound startup, combining a team of POCUS veterans with next-generation technology to disrupt the industry
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The Imaging Wire
Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that both patients and radiology departments benefit from improved imaging price transparency. The patient part is obvious (lower/understandable/predictable costs are better), and despite sounding counterintuitive at first, the radiology department angle makes sense, too. By improving price transparency and proactively reducing a range of imaging costs, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia radiology department was able to reduce its costs associated patient complaints (e.g. waving fees for “unexpected” charges) by 63% in the first year, allowing it to operate more efficiently and keep more of the revenue it earned — and improve patient satisfaction.
TRIMEDX Lands Aramark Healthcare Technologies
TRIMEDX took a big step to strengthen its presence in the US healthcare technology management services market, acquiring Aramark’s Healthcare Technologies (HCT) business for $300 million. The acquisition gives TRIMEDX contracts with over 500 new US healthcare providers (it previously had 1,800 clients) and nearly doubles its health tech workforce with the addition of about 1,400 former Aramark-ers (previously had 1,600 employees). Meanwhile, the sale will allow Aramark to focus on its core businesses (food, facilities and uniforms), pay down its debt, and repurchase $50 million in shares (shareholders should like each of these). The acquisition also continues the recent consolidation trend among multi-vendor service providers, coming roughly a year after the US 3rd party service divisions of Bayer, Wetsco and MD Medtech merged into Innovatus Imaging (with some private equity help) and follows a number of other consolidating MVS acquisitions across the US and Europe.
A team of scientists from NVIDIA, MGH, BWH, and the Mayo Clinic developed a method to create synthetic brain MR images of abnormal conditions as a way to train AI algorithms to identify rare abnormalities and overcome patient privacy concerns related to sharing images. The researchers used generative adversarial networks (GANs) to create the synthetic images, which do not contain information that could be tied to a patient (because they are synthetic), and can be used to train neural networks to diagnose disease. This new development is very similar to a recent breakthrough from University of Toronto researchers that used machine learning to create computer generated X-rays to augment AI training sets, suggesting that this novel approach to address two of imaging AI’s biggest obstacles (image supply and patient privacy) is catching on.
The First Breast Spiral CT
German university spinoff, Advanced Breast-CT, announced that its nu:view breast CT scanner gained CE Mark certification, positioning it as a breakthrough breast imaging system. Nu:view is the world’s first breast CT scanner to be based on spiral CT technology, giving it the unique ability to capture a true 3D image of all parts of the breast with just one image. This achievement is attributed in part to the system’s use of photon counting cadmium telluride (CdTe)-based detectors (versus conventional scintillation tech) allowing its high image resolution, low radiation dosage, and short scan times, without breast compression.
PACS as Service
Mercy Technology Services (MTS) announced the launch the Mercy Health System’s PACS imaging solution and revealed plans to become the first health care provider to offer “PACS as Service” to hospitals across the country. The Mercy Health implementation (and likely its cloud-based “PACS as Service” offering) combines the Visage enterprise imaging platform, a workflow orchestrator from Siemens Healthineers company Medicalis, and Nuance’s Powerscribe 360 speech recognition and reporting software – structured in a monthly “as a Service” package.
- The European Union-funded OpenMind organization announced the completion of the OpenMind Project, dedicated to transforming MRI systems into therapeutic tools by encouraging the development of metal-free operation tools. The three-year project involved nine companies from six different European countries, all of which were focused on developing minimally invasive, MRI compatible, medical devices based on fiber-reinforced plastics (such as catheters, puncture needles, guidewires, and aneurysm clips).
- German researchers discovered that radiation exposure from coronary CT angiography (CCTA) procedures fell an amazing 78% from 2007 to 2017, suggesting that this reduction essentially eliminates the threat of radiation-induced cancer from CCTA treatments. The researchers found consistent performance during the 2007 and 2017 study periods (both ~2% non-diagnostic), suggesting that this dose reduction was achieved without sacrificing diagnostic quality.
- One month after gaining FDA clearance for its intracranial hemorrhage AI solution, Aidoc has begun to build its sales organization, hiring Tom Shearer (formerly of Epsilon Imaging, Vital Images) to manage its North America sales and Jeremy De Sy (formerly of Swisslog, Carestream) to manage sales in Europe.
- Canon Medical Systems announced the installation of its Aquilion ONE / GENESIS Edition CT at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. The hospital highlighted the increased patient volume it received due to the system’s application flexibility, revealing that since installing the CT, Jackson Memorial’s daily patient volume at its outpatient location increased from 24 to 40 exams a day, pediatric exams increased by 34%, and cardiac scans increased by 30%.
- Israeli startup, XACT Robotics, announced that it received CE Mark approval for its robotics navigation and steering solutions for image-guided percutaneous procedures (e.g. ablations and biopsies) and revealed that it closed a $5 million round C investment. The investment will mainly be used to fund the launch and operation of seven Centers of Excellence in the US, Europe, and Israel.
- Chinese researchers developed a new photoacoustic imaging sensor that uses fiber-optic ultrasound to measure the acoustic effects of laser pulses, making it more sensitive than conventional fiber-optic sensors. The new technique is highlighted for its ability to structurally image tissues and functionally image oxygen distribution, in addition to its small size and flexibility (it is made of optical fibers after all…), making it promising for endoscopes and wearable applications.
- Siemens Healthineers’ 128-slice SOMATOM go.Top CT scanner gained its first US installation at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, roughly five months after the CT gained FDA clearance. Among other advantages, the medical center highlighted the new system’s tablet-based functionality and workflows in the announcement.
- PartsSource announced the launch of its new ISO 13485-certified ultrasound probe exchange, supported by its online platform that allows medical providers to exchange and repair ultrasound probes at a flat rate price (up to 40% below OEM).
- Philips announced the launch of its Lumify tele-ultrasound system in East Africa, positioning the unique app-based handheld system as ideal for both rural settings and better-equipped clinics. The Lumify system is clearly highlighted by its tele-ultrasound capability, leveraging a connected mobile device to support two-way audio-visual calls with live ultrasound streaming, while also listing its small size, application flexibility, overall simplicity, and low price (including a subscription option) as key benefits.
- Dutch medical imaging AI firm, Aidence, gained CE approval for the second version of its Veye Chest pulmonary nodule detection software, capable of determining nodule diameter, volume, growth rate, and composition.
The Resource Wire
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- Why Does an MRI Cost So Much? Very good question. A recent Medmo blog dissects this issue and provides some key steps to make sure patients don’t pay more than they need to for their next scan.
- Focused Ultrasound Foundation-funded researchers made a major advancement in the treatment of neurologic disease, successfully using MRI-guided focused ultrasound waves to open the blood-brain barrier, which could lead to a novel approach for delivering drugs to the brain to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
- In-house imaging – check. Faster time to diagnosis and recommendation – check. $270k estimated net profit in the first year – check. This white paper details how Carestream’s OnSight 3D Extremity System benefits orthopedic practices, clinically and financially.
- POCUS Systems’ forthcoming ultrasounds will combine ease of use, durability, and reliability, allowing clinicians to focus on their patients.