“Counting on nurses and doctors to suck it up because you know they won’t walk away from their patients is not just bad strategy. It’s bad medicine.”
Dr. Danielle Ofri in a NYT OpEd, calling out the healthcare system’s reliance on clinicians’ dedication to their patients as a way to achieve operational efficiency.
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
- Nuance – AI and cloud-powered technology solutions to help radiologists stay focused, move quickly, and work smarter
- Pocus Systems – A new Point of Care Ultrasound startup, combining a team of POCUS veterans with next-generation genuine AI technology to disrupt the industry
- Qure.ai – Making healthcare more accessible by applying deep learning to radiology imaging
The Imaging Wire
Healthcare’s DARQ Transformation
A new Accenture healthcare executive survey (n = 221 N. American execs) reveals a widespread expectation that DARQ technologies (Distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR), and quantum computing) will have a “transformational” impact on healthcare over the next three years.
Accenture just coined the term “DARQ technologies” just a few months ago, so it’s unlikely that many healthcare executives are actively formulating their “DARQ technologies” plans (at least not in those words). However, DARQ tech’s various components have solid momentum, given that 89% of the healthcare executives are experimenting with at least one DARQ technology and 68% believe the collection of technologies will have a “transformational” or “extensive” impact on their organization over the next three years. Here’s what they mean:
- DLT – Distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain, will play a key role in healthcare payments and identity management, potentially reducing waste and costs, while improving quality of care.
- AI – 41% of healthcare execs expect that AI will have the greatest impact on their organization in the short term, with a major (but definitely not exclusive) focus on imaging.
- XR – Extended reality actually has the highest current adoption rate of all the DARQ technologies, as it’s in use at 38% of the surveyed healthcare organizations. XR allows machines to operate cognitively and helps people interact naturally with technology for more immersive experiences.
- Quantum Tech – Hospitals will begin using quantum computing to calculate complex data sets, such as DNA data, enabling more personalized medicine and speeding up the drug discovery process.
An editorial in this weekend’s New York Times opinion section detailed the U.S. healthcare system’s reliance on “exploiting” clinicians’ professionalism in order to operate efficiently, requiring doctors and nurses to work beyond their paid hours and contributing to burnout.
- The Culprits – The editorial suggests EMR data entry is the biggest time consumption culprit, which is exacerbated by corporate healthcare’s assumption that clinicians will spend the time to get their records complete, even if it requires overtime or has to be done from home.
- A Potential Solution – The editorial called for the healthcare system to “be restructured to reflect the realities of patient care” by significantly increasing doctor and nurse staffing levels to handle the influx of administrative work, while reducing administrative headcount (admins currently outnumber doctors 10:1).
Although this may be old news to some folks in the healthcare industry, the NYT OpEd is quickly circulating around healthcare social media and driving new conversations around burnout, EMRs, and clinicians work/life balance.
The New York Times detailed breast imaging centers’ increasing focused on the mammography screening experience in an effort to make visits more pleasurable and create differentiation versus more straightforward imaging centers. Some centers put a lot of thought into improving the patient experience including:
- Holding regular V.I.P nights where patients get massages and gift bags in exchange for signing up for mammograms
- Providing amenities like beverage bars, warm robes, and soothing music during screening visits
- Curating their environment (“spa-like” design, flowers, curtains, dimmable lights)
- Improving convenience with flexible scheduling (night and weekend appointments) and using online scheduling and follow-ups to minimize on-site time
Although not necessarily a new idea, it is notable that what’s now referred to as the “mammoglam” experience is quickly gaining traction, as it helps add some positivity to an uncomfortable visit and helps imaging centers gain a business advantage. The influence of this competitive advantage is not to be underestimated, given the importance of high mammography volumes to imaging centers’ financial performance and the downstream effect that these positive experiences have on medical centers, given that women tend to be the medical decision makers in their families.
- A jury awarded a Massachusetts girl $11.5 million in damages from a medical malpractice suit filed against a radiologist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital for not properly identifying her enlarged heart 10 years ago when she was 18 months old. The girl was taken to the hospital in 2009 due to vomiting and possible dehydration and the radiologist found that “bronchiolitis v. atypical pneumonia was likely present,” but did not call out her myocarditis, thus delaying treatment and eventually leading to cardiac arrest and permanent brain damage.
- Coincidentally, Yale’s Jonathan Mezrich just published a guide to minimizing radiology’s malpractice risk in the American Journal of Roentgenology. Mezrich suggests that radiologists should follow the “five Cs” to avoid malpractice lawsuits including 1) Compassion – develop good patient relationships and create goodwill with patients and potential juries; 2) Competence – practice within the limits of your expertise and training, and consult with experts when cases are unfamiliar; 3) Care – proofread reports for mistakes and typos; 4) Communication – make sure communication is timely, appropriate, and documented; 5) Clarity – make sure radiology reports have complete details, including your thought process and any consultations.
- A team of Norwegian researchers found that using 3D liver models in mixed reality significantly decreases the time required to gain a spatial understanding of a patient’s liver, suggesting that mixed reality could reduce operating time and drive the adoption of 3D imaging. The study had 28 physicians identify 150 liver lesions using either 2D MRI images or 3D mixed reality images using a Microsoft HoloLens system, finding that physicians using the mixed reality approach diagnosed lesions faster (6 seconds vs. 23.5) and with similar accuracy (57.3% vs. 61.3%) as standard 2D MRI images.
- Qure.ai released qXR Version 2, making a number of generational improvements to the Automated Chest X-ray Interpretation solution. qXR v2.0 is trained on 2.3 million images and validated with 100,000 chest X-rays (the largest test set ever documented), adds ‘Pneumothorax’ and ‘nodules’ to the list of chest X-rays findings that it detects, and achieves greater accuracy on all existing findings, while reducing computation time to less than 30 seconds.
- Nationwide imaging provider, HeartCare Imaging (HCI), and major DC practice, George Washington Medical Faculty Associates (GW MFA, 750 physicians, 52 specialties), announced an alliance to expand physician care across rural America. The alliance also expands HeartCare Imaging beyond its medical imaging focus, providing access to a range of specialties (e.g. cardiologists, nephrologists, ER doctors), while still leveraging its established telemedicine infrastructure.
- Bayer and MITA leader, Dennis Durmis, took to Fierce Healthcare to ask that U.S. regulators require third party imaging device servicers to meet the same service requirements that OEM teams must meet. Durmis led with MITA’s standard safety-first messaging, suggesting that the lack of guidelines for third party servicers leaves what’s “unsafe, ineffective or too expensive to maintain” open to interpretation, with no way of ensuring that servicers have been properly trained or are using the right parts, and no way to tell “if they crossed the line into unauthorized remanufacturing (which is regulated by the FDA).” The editorial once again referred back to the new NEMA/MITA 2 medical imaging service standards, encouraging organizations to adopt these standards in the absence of more formal government oversight.
- Ben-Gurion University transfer company, BGN Technologies, unveiled a novel radioisotope production method that uses the naturally occurring and stable Mo-100 isotope and a linear electron accelerator to generate Mo-99 and Tc-99m, eliminating the use of weapons grade uranium and a nuclear reactor to generate Mo-99 (generally higher cost, high supply chain challenges). The process can also generate other short-lived radioisotopes such as F-18, O-15, N-13 and C-11 as byproducts for use in PET scans. BGN Technologies is seeking partners to develop and commercialize this new radioisotope production method.
- MRI safety technology company, Metrasens, filed a patent infringement action in Chinese courts against Nanjing Cloud Magnet Electronic Technology Limited (Cloud Magnet). Metrasens previously distributed to Chinese customers through Cloud Magnet’s affiliate company, Nanjing Haole Technology (NH), but ended their partnership and began patent infringement actions in late 2018 after learning that NH and Cloud Magnet were also marketing competitive ferromagnetic detection products. Metrasens is now launching a larger patient infringement action after the Chinese companies continued to sell what Metrasens believes are infringing products.
- Medis Medical Imaging Systems announced the FDA 510(k) clearance of its QANGIO XA 3D software (QFR), allowing non-invasive imaging to assess coronary lesions without a pressure wire or adenosine. QANGIO XA 3D uses X-ray angiographic images (any vendor, biplane or monoplane) and direct coronary flow estimation to diagnose suspected coronary artery disease in 4 to 5 minutes, determine whether angioplasty or stenting is required, and set stent length, landing zones, and positioning.
- Carestream announced a nine-system deal with Utah Valley Hospital that includes two DRX-Evolution Plus digital radiography systems, six DRX-Revolution Mobile X-ray systems, and one DRX-Retrofit Kit to upgrade an existing portable system to DR technology. Utah Valley Hospital (formerly Utah Valley Regional Medical Center) is a member of longtime Carestream client, Intermountain Healthcare.
- Konica Minolta continued its musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound promotional and educational efforts, launching a new autologous biologics training series in partnership with EmCyte corporation. The new series will review the use of autologous biologics in regenerative medicine, which often requires certified clinicians to perform ultrasound-guided diagnosis and therapy. This is Konica Minolta’s latest in a series of educational efforts since launching its UGPro Solution initiative, which is focused on MSK ultrasound portfolio/application expansion and training/education.
- Philips announced a deal with the University of Vermont Health Network that extends the organizations’ existing relationship for another 10 years and will include imaging and ultrasound systems, patient monitoring, clinical informatics, and a range of clinical and business consulting services. The deal will also improve consistency across the UVM Health Network, support cost predictability, and bring ongoing collaborations to streamline workflows and optimize medical technology deployment.
The Resource Wire
– This is sponsored content.
- Qure.ai was selected as a top 3 finalist at the ITU AI for Good summit in Geneva, a prestigious United Nations platform that fosters dialogue on the beneficial use of Artificial Intelligence. Here’s Qure.ai’s AI for Good presentation (starts around 25 minute mark).
- In this Carestream video, an Orthopedic surgeon discusses how the OnSite Extremity CT has improved his business and the care he provides his patients.
- Focused Ultrasound Foundation founder and Chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD, took to the foundation’s blog to emphasize the critical role of industry collaboration in its success and to encourage ongoing collaboration.
- The University of Rochester Medical Center’s adoption of Nuance mPower Clinical Analytics and PowerScribe Follow-up Manager solutions brought significant improvements to its Backstop follow-up tracking program. URMC now satisfactorily closes 91% of its 500 tracked monthly recommendations, reducing the risk of delayed diagnosis by 80% and increasing its examination completion rate by 29% (from 55% to 71%).
- 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.
- By partnering with Medmo, imaging centers can keep their schedules full, their equipment busy, and increase revenue. Here’s where to get started.