“That wasn’t supposed to happen; robots were supposed to supplant manual labor jobs, not professional brainwork. Yet here we are: AI is quickly gobbling up entire professions—and those jobs will never come back.”
William Davidow and Michael S. Malone reminding all us not to let COVID-19 make us forget about the AI threat.
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.
- Hitachi Healthcare Americas – Delivering best in class medical imaging technologies and value-based reporting.
- Nuance – AI and cloud-powered technology solutions to help radiologists stay focused, move quickly, and work smarter.
- Riverain Technologies – Offering artificial intelligence tools dedicated to the early, efficient detection of lung disease.
The Imaging Wire
Starve the AI, Feed the Theory
A new Scientific American editorial suggested that rather than regulating artificial intelligence, we should “starve it” so AI doesn’t “become a social and cultural H-bomb.”
- Fear Factor – The paper listed some far-out theories, highlighted by a warning that AI could someday “program our behavior, turn us into human machines and, ultimately, turn us into slaves.” It also detailed how AI could jeopardize a wide range of professions.
- AI Diet – The authors suggest that the best way to make AI less powerful is by putting “it on an extreme diet” and limiting the data available to it. The way to do that is to give people ownership of their own private data and allow them to decide who can access it.
- This Isn’t Really About Radiology – That’s true. However, the paper did touch on AI’s threat to radiology as one of its main examples of the AI workforce disruptions already taking place. Plus, any attempts to put AI on a diet would impact the way our part of AI develops its products.
After March and April brought a wave of CV19-only and CV19-safe imaging centers, we are seeing even more creativity as we head into May, as imaging providers try to encourage patients to come in for their scans.
- The Wait In Car App – Connecticut’s Advanced Radiology Partners implemented eInformatics’ Wait In Car app across its sites. As its name suggests, the Wait In Car app allows patients to wait in their car until it’s time for their exam so they can avoid any exposure risk in the waiting room.
- The CV19 Era Mammovan – Las Vegas’ Nevada Health Centers is also leveraging its parking lot to encourage CV19-safe imaging, placing ‘Mammovans’ outside its centers to allow breast cancer screenings with less chance of exposure.
- VA Issues in WI: An inspection by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) uncovered a wide range of operational and ethical issues at a Milwaukee VA Medical Center. The OIG found that a radiologist made “gross errors” that led to delayed treatment, while discovering evidence of EHR manipulation and Medical Imaging Service mismanagement (potentially to hide errors). The VA OIG also documented a failure among center leaders to address interpersonal conflicts and the intimidation of staff radiologists.
- CV19 and Ultrasound Democratization: Informa Tech suggests that the FDA’s recent ultrasound deregulation to help in the COVID-19 fight (allowing more usage environments, use by non-sonographers, and software changes) might be a major step towards the modality’s democratization. Informa Tech argues that the temporary deregulation will drive ultrasound’s expansion to new users and applications, while ongoing ultrasound democratization will be amplified by the technology advancements that were already happening before CV19 (AI, telemedicine, portability, low costs).
- Aidoc’s Incidental AI: Aidoc announced the CE Mark approval of its new AI solution for flagging incidental pulmonary embolism (iPE) in contrast-enhanced CT, potentially reducing turnaround times for patients with incidental findings from hours to minutes. This is the first cleared AI product for incidental findings, which Aidoc attributed to the solution’s “especially high” specificity.
- RSNA is Still On: Never mind the fact that a recent Radiology Twitter poll had 77% of folks forecasting that RSNA 2020 will shift to a virtual conference (n = 318) and most other events have already gone virtual, RSNA reiterated that it still plans to be a social gathering this November. RSNA expressed its optimism that COVID-19 will subside by then and cited the 11,000-plus abstracts submitted so far as evidence that the radiology community is looking forward to it too. Let’s hope the world is in good enough shape that we really will all see each other in Chicago.
- Medicaid & Mammograms: New research from Columbia University found that the 32 states that participated in Medicaid expansion achieved greater mammogram screening rates among lower-income women compared to the 19 non-expansion states (P = 0.049). The study suggests that higher rates of coverage “can improve access to preventive measures, such as screening mammography.”
- KA Imaging & 4Dx Limited: KA Imaging and 4Dx Limited announced a partnership that will combine KA Imaging’s “Reveal” single exposure dual-energy digital x-ray detector with 4Dx’s XV Technology, a software tool that provides four-dimensional imaging analysis to measure lung function in real-time. The combined solution (both awaiting FDA clearance) will allow 4Dx’s XV Technology to be used in pediatric and neonatal lung imaging applications (e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis).
- Screenings Way Down: A new Epic report found that routine breast cancer screenings fell by between 86% and 94% in March (n = 2.7m patients, vs. 2017-2019 avg.) as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed nearly all preventative screenings. Citing the quick drop in screening attendance in mid-March, the paper suggested that screenings will see a slow recovery even after stay-at-home orders are lifted.
- ACR CTA Criteria Works: A U of Washington study found that the ACR’s Appropriateness Criteria for using head & neck CT angiography for suspected strokes is accurate and could support better decision making. The study of 317 CTA head and neck examinations, found that 57 of the 199 exams that fit the ACR’s “usually appropriate” category had findings that suggested a stroke (29%). However, just one of the 38 exams that fell into the ACR’s “may be appropriate” category (3%) and one of the 80 exams in the ACR’s “usually not appropriate” category (1%) revealed evidence of a stroke.
- US Matches CT for CV19: A team of French physicians found that lung ultrasound and low-dose chest CT have similar enough findings among COVID-19 patients to make ultrasound a suitable alternative to CT for CV19 diagnosis and management, especially given US’ ease of use, lack of radiation, and portability. This statement comes after the physicians performed lung ultrasound and CT scans on a CV19-positive patient within minutes of each of each other, which produced similar findings related to areas of pulmonary involvement and the pattern of parenchymal disease.
- Agfa Sells Healthcare IT Biz: Agfa-Gevaert finalized its long awaited deal to sell its HealthCare IT business to Dedalus for €975 million (well above the division’s $288m annual revenue). In addition to Agfa’s EHR platform, the deal includes Agfa’s Imaging IT business in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Brazil (~17% of its imaging IT revenue) because the two divisions are so tightly integrated in these regions.
- A Post-CV19 Comeback Plan: A new JACR paper detailed how radiology departments can plan their comeback from CV19’s “enforced imaging austerity,” applying strategies that require a “balance of clinical assessment, ethical judgement and logistical planning.” The paper suggests a comeback plan that includes: 1. Forming a taskforce to plan how the department will handle the increased volumes; 2. Assessing the system’s ability to handle these changes (staffing, IT, funding); 3. Designing the system’s recovery process with a focus on waitlist prioritization and management; 4. Creating a clear communication strategy.
- DW MRI Matches FDG PET/MRI: A new study in the Radiology journal found that whole-body diffusion-weighted MRI could be a radiation-free alternative to FDG PET/MRI for the assessment of pediatric chemotherapy response. The prospective study scanned 56 children and young adults with lymphoma or sarcoma using DW MRI and FDG PET/MRI, both before and after chemotherapy, achieving a 0.94 agreement rate among patients with sarcoma and a 0.74 agreement rate among patients with lymphoma.
- GE & Ecolog: GE Healthcare and Ecolog announced a partnership in Germany that will equip Ecolog’s Eco-Care Solution and Rapid Care Park with GE Healthcare’s medical equipment to help hospitals expand capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the partnership, GE will provide a range of equipment (ventilators, X-ray, CT) for use in Ecolog’s Rapid Care Parks.
The Resource Wire
– This is sponsored content.
- Join Healthcare Administrative Partners’ webinar, “Reentering the Post-COVID-19 Radiology Market,” on Wednesday, May 13 where we will discuss several factors radiology practices should take into consideration to ensure safe and successful reentry into the market.
- Riverain Technologies is dedicated to providing enterprise software tools to aid clinicians in the efficient, effective, early detection of lung disease.
- This Hitachi blog post and associated white paper detail how multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) can reduce unnecessary prostate biopsies by more than one third and increase disease detection by more than 50%.
- As the world navigates the unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, GE Healthcare supports healthcare providers, partners, communities and patients around the world in addressing it. Find information on GE Healthcare’s COVID-19 Resources here.
- In this Nuance blog, Diagnostics SVP and GM Karen Holzberger details how the company’s solutions helped support radiology practices’ hard pivot amid the COVID-19 emergency.
- This JAMA Current article details how Focused Ultrasound and other key therapies help treat Parkinson’s disease.