“We are now ready to rewrite the rules of MRI accessibility.”
Hyperfine Research’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Khan Siddiqui, revealing some big goals now that they’ve launched the world’s first bedside MRI system.
Imaging Wire Sponsors
- Focused Ultrasound Foundation – Accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound.
- GE Healthcare – Providing point of care ultrasound systems, from pocket-sized to portable consoles, designed to support your clinical needs and grow along with your practice.
- Healthcare Administrative Partners – Empowering radiology groups through expert revenue cycle management, clinical analytics, practice support, and specialized coding.
- Nuance – AI and cloud-powered technology solutions to help radiologists stay focused, move quickly, and work smarter.
- Qure.ai – Making healthcare more accessible by applying deep learning to radiology imaging .
- Riverain Technologies – Offering artificial intelligence tools dedicated to the early, efficient detection of lung disease.
The Imaging Wire
Double Reading Advantages
The U.S. healthcare system’s practice of single-reading mammograms was called into question last week after a new study detailed the advantages of Europe’s double reading practices.
- The Study – A 5-year retrospective study of the Irish National Breast Cancer Screening Program (n = 2,565 women, 2010 – 2014) found that having two radiologists interpret screening mammograms and then using a team meeting to review discordant findings led to fewer recalls and missed cancers.
- A Call for “More Eyes” – These study results were quickly followed by a criticism of the U.S.’ single reader policy in the Radiology journal, which contrasted Europe’s <5% recall rate with the U.S.’ 10% average recall rate. The editorial challenged U.S. breast health providers to focus on the benefits of consensus meetings rather than the costs of double reading.
- The AI Angle – Although the editorial clearly lead with the benefits of additional human-read mammograms and human-attended consensus meetings, they did note that the “extra sets of eyes” in second reader processes “may not necessarily need to be human” in the future.
Hyperfine Goes Live
Hyperfine Research announced the FDA clearance of the “world’s first bedside MRI system,” highlighting it as a breakthrough in patient accessibility and cost, while revealing plans to start shipments this summer.
- FDA Clearance – The Hyperfine MRI was cleared for head imaging of patients 2 years and older, suggesting that it will primarily see use in emergency and neuro ICU settings.
- Lower, Lower, Lower – Hyperfine leaned-in on its MRI’s size and cost value proposition, touting its “20X lower cost, 35X lower power consumption, and 10X lower weight” than conventional MRI systems. In other words, the Hyperfine MRI is extremely different than the MRIs that most of us are accustomed to.
- Accessibility – The FDA clearance announcement placed the greatest emphasis on the Hyperfine MRI’s accessibility advantages, suggesting that accessibility remains the greatest drawback of current MRI systems (both within the hospital and globally) and the market opportunity that Hyperfine will target.
- Marketing Watch – Considering Hyperfine was founded by Butterfly Network’s Jonathan Rothberg, it will be interesting to see whether the POC MRI startup is able to replicate the remarkable buzz that its POCUS sibling has achieved.
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- The movement to end pelvic shielding gained more momentum last week after a Dutch paper disregarded the protective practice’s antiquated justifications (absorbed doses are just 0.5-2% of dosage levels when shielding began in 1905), suggesting that shielding women is no longer necessary and only provides “a marginal benefit” for men. This study comes less than a month after the New York Times made shielding’s waning relevance a national issue and is the latest in a series of studies that came to similar conclusions.
- A new AJR study revealed that smartphones and laptops are “reliable and accurate” devices to support IV thrombolysis decision making for patients with acute stroke. The study evaluated IV thrombolysis recommendations following 2,256 interpretations (188 patients, 4 neuroradiologists, smartphones/laptops/workstations), revealing strong interobserver (ICC ≥ 0.85) and intraobserver (ICC ≥ 0.81) agreements, in addition to acceptable AUC (0.83–0.84) and sensitivity (0.94–0.95) ranges.
- Change Healthcare’s 2020 Industry Pulse Report (n = 445 healthcare leaders) revealed diverse perspectives among payers and providers regarding many topics (value-based care, consumerism, interoperability, etc.) but strong alignment on social determinants of health and the potential of healthcare AI. Looking specifically at healthcare AI: the respondents’ AI efforts are now starting to have a positive impact on operational efficiency (payers 38%, providers 56%), costs (payers 28%, providers 42%), and consumer engagement (payers 36%, providers 39%).
- A Chinese research team detailed how MRI texture analysis (TA) could advance Alzheimer’s disease research and diagnosis by allowing “mathematical detection of changes in MRI signals that are not visible among image pixels.” The paper stated that TA could emerge as an Alzheimer’s neuroimaging marker, although the technique will have to overcome a list of challenges (lack of standardization, tech requirements) and be subject to more clinical studies before it earns a clinical role.
- Radiology Business Solutions (RBS) reported that radiologist job posts on the ACR board increased significantly since the start of 2016 (from ~200 posts to ~1k posts), as radiologist retirements and market demand outpaced the entrance of new radiologists. RBS expects the radiologist job market to stay healthy for a while, forecasting that 8% of over-65 radiologists will retire each year and that average imaging volumes will continue to grow at a 5% annual rate.
- The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology detailed how ultrasound-guided procedures can benefit rheumatology practices. The rheumatology practice covered in the study performed 643 US-guided procedures (5.2 per day) with an average time of 7 ± 2.5 minutes per procedure, while achieving high accuracy (98.1%) and safety (0.8% adverse event rate).
- Varex and Canon Medical Systems renewed their CT tube and heat exchangers supply deal for another three years (2020 – 2022, estimated at $385m), continuing a four-decade alliance that was initially formed by Varex and Toshiba.
- New research from the UK supported MRI’s effectiveness for breast cancer surveillance among high-risk women, while finding clinical breast exams (CBEs) to be ineffective for this group. The study performed MRIs and CBEs on 385 women with a high risk of breast cancer, finding that MRI had a 1.6% cancer detection rate (vs. 0% for CBE), but also higher recall (11.2% vs. 6.2%) and biopsy (6.2% vs. 0.2%) rates. Noting that other breast MRI studies had similarly high recall rates, the authors suggested that the UK’s current recall guidelines (<7% rate) “may not be reflective of what is attainable in practice.”
- Australian mobile X-ray manufacturer, Micro-X, revealed that its DRX Revolution Nano mobile X-ray system (exclusively distributed by Caresteam) hasn’t been successful since launch and they are “highly dissatisfied” about it. Although it’s not uncommon for OEMs to blame their partners for poor sales, it’s rare to see these types of comments reach the press like this.
- Siemens Healthineers installed the U.S.’ first ARTIS icono biplane angiography system at UW Health’s University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. The ARTIS icono biplane system gained FDA clearance last September as an expansion to Siemens’ interventional portfolio targeting neuroradiology and abdominal procedures.
- New research in the Oncologist revealed that mobile CT might help solve ongoing challenges getting some populations to participate in lung cancer screening programs. The North Carolina-based team created a mobile CT unit using a Samsung CT and 35-foot vehicle, screened 550 patients (20% black, 3% Hispanic, 70% rural), and found 12 lung cancers. The study’s 2.2% lung cancer detection rate is similar to the national screening program’s rate, but it’s a major improvement compared to typical rates for underserved populations.
- Dicom Systems announced that its enterprise imaging deal to support Vision Radiology’s medical imaging exam routing, tag-morphing, and management system resulted in up to tenfold data throughput improvements at Vision’s client sites.
- The UK government directed £81 million ($104m) to support the country’s new Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (EPAC). When it opens in 2024, the EPAC will house a laser-powered 3D X-ray imaging system used for a range of industrial and medical applications and will reportedly be able capture images of diseased bones in 40 seconds (vs. “hours or days”).
The Resource Wire
– This is sponsored content
- The GE Healthcare Venue Go features a uniquely adaptable design, a simple interface, and streamlined probe layout so you can go through your day quickly, efficiently, confidently.
- What can your radiology practice do to improve patient satisfaction? This Healthcare Administrative Partners blog post outlines some steps to improve patient experience including issuing surveys and applying feedback, supporting a range of payment methods, and helping patients understand their coverage.
- ClearRead Xray from Riverain Technologies includes the first FDA-cleared software solution to transform a chest x-ray into a soft-tissue image, providing unprecedented clarity for efficient, accurate, early detection of lung disease. Learn more.
- Catch the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s upcoming webinar (February 24, 1pm ET) about “Immunotherapy for Brain Tumors,” presented by Michael Lim, MD, Johns Hopkins’ Director of Brain Tumor Immunotherapy.
- Qure.ai’s qXR tool was included in a study that found that deep learning algorithms can help identify TB-associated abnormalities in chest radiographs and are recommended for TB programs with limited resources.