“With X-ray images in motion, clinicians can see structures in a way they have never been able to see before.”
Konica Minolta Healthcare’s Kirsten Doerfert, on how the company’s new Dynamic Digital Radiography (DDR) “X-ray in Motion” technology may change the way X-ray images are captured and viewed.
Imaging Wire Sponsors
- 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
- OpenMarkets – A marketplace for healthcare equipment, used by hundreds of hospitals and suppliers to buy and sell imaging equipment in the most efficient way possible.
- Pocus Systems – A new Point of Care Ultrasound startup, combining a team of POCUS veterans with next-generation technology to disrupt the industry
The Imaging Wire
AI Threatening Radiologist Supply, Too
A study in Academic Radiology gave a new angle to the “AI will replace radiologists” debate, suggesting that artificial intelligence’s potential to reduce future demand for radiologists could be keeping some medical students away from the specialty. Of the 322 Canadian med students surveyed, 67.7% believed that AI would reduce demand for radiologists and an incredibly-high 29% believed that AI would completely replace radiologists (yikes). As you may expect from these survey results, the threat of AI appears to be influencing would-be radiologists’ career choices. Nearly half of the 70 students who ranked radiology as their top choice have experienced anxiety related to the potential impact of AI, while one-sixth of all students who would otherwise rank radiology as the first choice aren’t considering the specialty due to the threat of AI-created obsolescence. If this study is an accurate depiction of all medical students (and some say its not), it doesn’t paint a bright picture for the specialty’s short-term talent pool or the mindset of aspiring radiologists. However, the study did reveal that students who have been exposed to radiology and understand AI were less likely to be afraid of its impact, encouraging the medical imaging community to help medical students see radiology as a solid long-term career path.
X-Ray in Motion
Konica Minolta announced plans to unveil its forthcoming Dynamic Digital Radiography (DDR) technology, which combines conventional X-ray images and proprietary KM software to “create X-ray in Motion” imaging, without fluoroscopy. Previously proclaimed the “biggest thing in X-ray since digital,” DDR is an enhanced version a standard DR system that captures up to 15 sequential radiographs per second for up to 20 seconds of movement, equaling 300 X-ray images with the dosage of about two standard X-rays. Konica Minolta specifically highlighted DDR’s fit for thoracic imaging, allowing clinicians to view the entire respiratory cycle (observe chest wall, heart and lung motion), revealed that it is also exploring orthopedic spine and extremity applications. Although still pending FDA approval, DDR’s potential to expand the functionality of such a well-established technology (X-ray) is worth keeping an eye on.
A Local Solution to ED Imaging Overuse
Researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that adopting site-specific appropriate use criteria (AUC) helps to avoid inappropriate imaging, following the implementation of their own AUC for emergency department CT imaging for renal colic patients (a condition that does not have solid evidence-based guidelines). After the AUC was adopted within BWH’s clinical decision-support, renal colic CT scans fell from 23.7% to 14.8% , suggesting that AUCs may be effective for reducing imaging overuse in EDs especially for issues without solid guidelines. This study has interesting parallels with a recent study on imaging overuse for epilepsy patients in EDs, as epilepsy also has insufficient national guidelines, and may similarly benefit from the adoption of local AUC criteria.
- GE’s new CEO, Larry Culp, revealed that the company may look to sell as much as 49.9% of GE Healthcare stock at the time of the division’s late 2019 spinoff, far exceeding the 20% stake GE originally planned to make available (but keeping its tax-free status). Given GE’s liquidity issues and immense shareholder pressure, this isn’t a major shock and seems like a valid idea, though it’s worth noting Culp’s statement has sparked rumors that GE may consider more-disruptive healthcare spinoff scenarios such as “the outright sale of the business or parts of it.“
- Nuvolo announced new Clinical Enterprise Asset Management partnerships with GE Healthcare and PartsSource. The deals make GE Healthcare’s Service Shop portal (and parts) and PartsSource’s huge inventory of clinical parts available to clinical engineers through Nuvolo’s cloud-based platform, expanding clients access to GE parts and refurbished parts along with a suite of additional lifecycle management workflows and resources.
- Canon Medical Systems USA announced the FDA clearance of its Vantage Orian 1.5T premium MRI system, following launches in Europe and Japan this spring. The Vantage Orian is Canon/Toshiba’s first premium wide-bore 1.5-tesla MRI and joins its current 1.5-tesla lineup, including the wide-bore Vantage Titan and standard-bore Vantage Elan.
- MaxQ AI announced the FDA clearance of its Accipio Ix intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) detection AI software, which automatically analyzes non-contrast head CT images for signs of ICH (aka brain bleed), and identifies and prioritizes patients with ICH for treating physicians. Accipio Ix gained European CE clearance in May and the company has agreements in place with GE, Samsung NeuroLogica, and IBM Watson, giving Accipio Ix a head-start as it expands to the US.
- Radiopharmaceutical provider Zionexa partnered with Columbia University’s Kreitchman PET Center to research Zionexa’s PET diagnostic drug, EstroTep, in preparation for its FDA evaluation and eventual US launch. Currently only available in France, the targeted diagnostic biomarker identifies advanced and metastatic breast cancer based on estrogen receptor expression in diseased tissue.
- Agfa signed an agreement with China Meheco Corporation to allow the Chinese pharmaceutical company to distribute Agfa’s DRYSTAR equipment and film, used to print diagnostic-quality hardcopies of CT, MRI, or X-ray images. The partnership is intended to help expand Agfa’s presence in China, a country that apparently still has strong demand for hardcopy images, while allowing Meheco to grow its medical device business.
- Agfa HealthCare announced plans to unveil a still-forthcoming DR tomosynthesis system at RSNA, capable of producing reconstructed multislice images in less than a minute. The “work-in-progress” system’s tomosynthesis algorithms use iterative reconstruction to achieve reduced dosage, noise, and artifacts.
- The US FDA approved NinePoint Medical’s AI-based Intelligent Real-time Image Segmentation (IRIS) software upgrade for its Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) NvisionVLE Imaging System. IRIS uses ML algorithms to segment and visualize esophageal images captured with the NvisionVLE, helping clinicians identify and target regions during endoscopies.
- Top-ten private radiology group, Renaissance Imaging Medical Associates (RIMA), adopted Carestream’s Workflow Orchestrator to manage its multi-site radiology interpretation workflow. Two months after the implementation, Workflow Orchestrator helped RIMA increase its cases read within SLA deadline rate by 15%, assigning 82% of all cases to a qualified subspecialist.
- Chinese medical imaging AI company, HuiyiHuiying (HY), completed an Intel Capital-led funding round that it will use to expand its R&D capabilities, market reach, and add to its team. The investment expands HY and Intel’s relationship, as the companies previously created a joint AI laboratory and they just announced plans in September to co-develop an AI-based full-cycle breast health management cloud platform.
- ContextVision announced its new Altumira image enhancement platform, providing greater contrast and resolution, intelligent noise suppression, and harmonized intensity levels for digital radiography systems.
The Resource Wire
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- Not only did OpenMarkets save CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System $55,000 on imaging equipment, the Texas-based healthcare provider landed in the local paper because of it.
- What can focused ultrasound treat? Good question. Focused ultrasound is being researched for over 90 diseases worldwide, with many in early stages, and commercial treatment available in the US for essential tremor, uterine fibroids, bone metastases, and the prostate.
- Recent Carestream Cloud convert, Istishari Hospital, highlights the four main ways it benefited from adopting Carestream’s Clinical Collaboration Platform and why other health systems should consider moving their PACS to the cloud.
- POCUS Systems is approved as a Veteran Owned Business with the US Government Office of Veterans Business Development, paving the way for partnerships with the federal healthcare delivery systems.
- How much does an MRI scan cost? According to Medmo, that depends. Scans made with the exact same device on the exact same body part could cost $225 at one facility and $2,500 at another. Medmo also provides some advice to make sure patients don’t pay too much for their scans, including using the Medmo Marketplace where the average MRI costs between $225 and $700.