“Our nanoplatform is designed to enable multimodal molecular imaging, thus overcoming the intrinsic limitations of each single image modality while maximizing their advantages.”
Complutense University of Madrid’s Marco Filice on his team’s development of a hybrid nanoplatform that combines MRI, CT, and fluorescence optical imaging, reportedly locating and diagnosing tumors better than any of these modalities on their own.
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- Carestream – Focused on delivering innovation that is life changing – for patients, customers, employees, communities and other stakeholders
- 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
Keep these companies in mind each time you enjoy The Imaging Wire. Check them out and see how they’re driving our industry forward, and shoot them a note if you’re interested in learning more. They’re all great companies run by solid people.
The Imaging Wire
A Trimodal Platform
Spanish researchers unveiled a new hybrid nanoplatform that combines MRI, CT, and fluorescence optical imaging to locate and diagnose tumors. The researchers believe this new multimodal molecular imaging platform can achieve more precise diagnosis than other MI modalities, and do it in just one session with just one contrast medium. Here’s how it works – the platform uses two-sided nanoparticles, with iron oxide embedded in a silica matrix on one side (for MRI) and gold on the other side (for CT), while a molecular probe on the gold side allows fluorescence optical imaging and peptide on the iron side’s silica surface identifies the tumor. The new platform achieved “excellent results” identifying fibrosarcoma in mice, but the researchers still have plenty to do before the nanoplatform is ready for humans.
It’s not everyday that The Imaging Wire and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert cover the same topic. The EPA is working on rule changes that would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated. The proposed model would permit various exposure thresholds (vs. the current “there is no safe radiation level” model), claiming that the current rule creates billions in unnecessary costs AND… that low levels of radiation “can make people healthier.” Unsurprisingly, critics say this change would lead to greater radiation exposure across a range of professions (including medical workers) and they hate the “radiation is good for you” angle. The regulation change is now out for public comment, with no specific adoption date scheduled.
The State of the Ultrasound Market
A roundtable discussion published by 24x7mag.com provided a range of insights into the growth and evolution of the ultrasound market from the perspective of ultrasound leaders at Siemens Healthineers, Technical Prospects, GE Healthcare, Trisonics, and Philips. Here are some highlights:
- Ultrasound growth has been driven by its combination of effectiveness, low cost, small footprint, improving image quality, and non-invasive/radiation-free operation, which make it ideal for a wider range of providers, applications, settings (e.g. acute care, primary care, orthopedics), regions (including developing markets), and patients
- Increased adoption of AI, image guided therapy/interventions, and value-based care all favor ultrasound and will lead to ongoing growth
- Ultrasound innovations largely focusing on automation, artificial intelligence support, workflow enhancements, precision health integration, interventional and treatment applications, and reduction in system sizes
- Ultrasound will continue to take share from other modalities, particularly citing angiograms and breast cancer detection as applications that are shifting to ultrasound
- Ultrasound’s growth is bringing some challenges including managing the increased workload of in-house HTM engineers and training/educating new ultrasound users
- There is also work to do in order to convince more healthcare providers to rely on ultrasound, particularly due to the financial impact of the modality’s long procedure times and the need to educate healthcare professionals on why they should reduce patient radiation
- The panelists also made a number of service-related recommendations including: adopting remote monitoring/service, using genuine OEM parts, working with manufacturer-direct service divisions (these three obviously came from OEM panelists), following official preventative maintenance schedules, promptly replacing any parts that appear worn, working with a reliable and low-cost parts supplier, and communicating with sonographers for insights into service/performance issues
NELSON Trial’s Call for Lung CT Screenings
The famed Dutch-Belgian “NELSON” trial (n=15,792) brought more support for lung cancer CT screening, finding that asymptomatic, at-risk men and women who had regular CT screening achieved 26% and 39% respective lower lung cancer mortality rates over 10 years (vs. control group). Overall, 157 lung cancer deaths occurred within the study’s CT screening group (vs. 250 in control group) with 69% of the screening group’s 243 total lung cancers detected at stage 1A or 1B and 10-12% detected at stage 4 (vs. 50% of cancers detected at stage 4 in control group). With this evidence in hand, the researchers were clear in their suggestion that this study should “inform and direct future CT screening programs worldwide.”
PwC Sees New Healthcare Provider Models Coming
PwC predicted that the next ten years will bring a major overhaul of healthcare provider business models, as traditional hospitals transform into four main models. The firm suggests that healthcare systems will adopt models defined as: Product Leaders (deliver advanced care for specific clinical areas with the best specialists and researchers), Experience Leaders (focused on providing the best customer experience, with a business goal of patient retention and loyalty), Integrators (offer the best customer value due to scale and scope, generally larger hospitals), and Health Managers (focus on population health by addressing social determinants of health to keep people out of high-cost settings). While flavors of these models exist across today’s healthcare landscape, the key takeaway here is that PwC clearly believes that the current healthcare provider models are due for an overhaul – and recent financials certainly support that theory.
- CNBC published a very favorable profile on GE Healthcare president and CEO, Kieran Murphy, diving into his ascent within GE Healthcare, Irish roots, no-nonsense “roll-up-your sleeves” style, and moves to diversify the healthcare division beyond imaging (into health IT, gene therapy, bioengineering, precision therapy, etc.). The story pivots to Murphy’s new task: managing the GE Healthcare spinoff and then driving growth once the separation is complete. Not sure if CNBC came up with this profile idea organically, but pieces like this are often pitched with a goal in mind.
- Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) researchers developed a deep learning algorithm that analyzes whole-brain connectome maps from diffusion MRI studies and can accurately predict 1-year outcomes for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy surgery (basically IDs what types of patients will still have seizures after surgery). The research studied 50 patients’ dMRI scans captured before surgery and was able to predict outcomes with 79% (negative predictive value) and 88% (positive predictive value) accuracy, a strong improvement from current methods (45.5% accurate).
- Authentic4D completed a $5 million fundraising round that the company will use to enhance its medical imaging review technology and build its sales and service capabilities. Authentic4D’s technology transforms CT and MRI scans into 3D images that are used to evaluate insurance claims (by insurance adjusters, mediators, jurors, etc.).
- Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania identified a potential way for radiology residency programs to slow/reverse the shift of musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound procedures away from radiologists (radiologist MSK US share down from 65% to 37% in last 10 years) and take advantage of the growth of MSK ultrasounds. The research found that hands-on MSK workshops with a teacher-led, small peer group format improved MSK knowledge scores (73.9% vs. 57% avg. scores) and that ongoing training is necessary to maintain long-term skill retention.
- Accruent’s Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) now supports integrated ordering with GE Healthcare’s Service Shop portal, allowing Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) professionals to directly order over 80,000 GE parts, accessories, and supplies.
- Konica Minolta America’s 20/20 Imaging subsidiary announced the expansion of its Momentum DR wireless flat panel detector to the mobile, non-hospital X-ray market (e.g. nursing homes). The wireless panel solution was previously available in configurations for podiatry, chiropractic, and veterinary environments and it’s not clear how the new mobile, non-hospital configuration is differentiated. At the very least, 20/20 Imaging is now targeting these settings.
- Clarius Mobile Health launched its EC7 Endocavity Ultrasound Scanner, calling it the world’s first high-resolution wireless endocavity ultrasound.” The FDA-cleared EC7 features a wide-band microconvex array and specialized apps for gynecologic and urological procedures, while offering Clarius’ standard handheld-centric features (wireless, iOS/Android compatibility, 60min battery, free cloud storage, waterproof case).
- Radiology Partners continued its Florida (and national) expansion this week, announcing a partnership with Jacksonville-based Mori, Bean & Brooks, one of the state’s largest practices (16 practices in Jacksonville and southern Georgia, ~37 physicians). The acquisition comes six months after RP first expanded to Florida and continues an aggressive 2018, as the mega practice followed its $234m capital investment in March with new partnerships in Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, California, and Florida.
- Sectra signed a radiology and cardiology PACS deal with South Dakota-based Regional Health (5 hospitals, 25 clinics, 2 states), integrating with the system’s year-old Epic EMR system (it was reportedly selected because of its Epic compatibility). The deal also included Sectra’s 3D advanced visualization tools, PACS for mammography workflow, teaching file software, and universal image viewer. This is Secra’s second recent big win in the Dakotas.
- RadNet expanded to Long Island, NY with its acquisition of Medical Arts Radiology (10 imaging centers, $40m/yr revenue, 15 radiologists). Medical Arts Radiology will play a key role in servicing the 200,000 Emblem AdvantageCare patients that RadNet recently won a contract to support.
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- A University of Chicago survey found that 35% of patients have been surprised by a medical imaging bill. The Medmo healthcare marketplace eliminates billing surprises, allowing uninsured and underinsured patients to enter the price they can afford and schedule their procedure with an imaging provider willing to accept that same exact price.
- What can Focused Ultrasound treat? Good question. This article from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation details the diseases and conditions the technology is approved to treat and the over 100 treatments currently in development.
- In this Carestream video, an orthopedic surgeon opens up about why he decided to add the OnSight 3D Extremity System and how his practice benefits from the weight bearing CT.
- POCUS Systems’ founding team has over 80 years of combined experience in the ultrasound industry.