“Six years ago, we had a crazy vision to create a new product category for imaging . . .”
Hyperfine Research’s Jonathan Rothberg, who just realized this vision with Hyperfine’s new Swoop point-of-care MRI system.
Imaging Wire Sponsors
- Bayer Radiology – Providing a portfolio of radiology products, solutions, and services that enable radiologists to get the clear answers they need.
- 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
Hyperfine Swoop Launches
Hyperfine Research announced the 510(k) clearance of its Swoop Portable MR imaging system and the company’s first official MRI launch.
- The Swoop Portable MR – The Swoop is a point-of-care brain MRI system that wheels to the patient’s bedside, plugs into a standard electrical wall outlet, and is controlled through a wireless tablet. The Swoop launches with a pretty broad target market for a brain MRI, ranging from neuro ICUs, EDs, pediatrics, ambulatory, outpatient surgery centers “and more.”
- The Official Launch – Some of you might recall that Hyperfine already launched a portable MRI in February, but the new Swoop launches with full market availability (vs. limited), is approved to image all patient ages (vs. 0-2yrs excluded), and ships with updated internal features and software.
- Hyperfine’s MR Message – One of the bigger takeaways from this launch was Hyperfine’s efforts to position the Swoop as a complement to traditional MRIs, particularly emphasizing its convenience, time to care, and patient / department accessibility advantages. Although Hyperfine still highlighted the Swoop’s much lower costs and power requirements versus standard MRIs, this represents a major shift from the February launch’s focus on size and cost. Considering Butterfly Network’s fantastic marketing performance (they are sibling companies), it will be interesting to see how Hyperfine continues to evolve its own marketing now that the Swoop is available.
- Significance – There are other head MRI systems out there (and more in development), but none with the cache of the Hyperfine Swoop. That makes this launch pretty significant and makes Hyperfine’s next year worth keeping an eye on.
Early Screening Evidence
A new study out of the UK suggests that lowering the age limit for annual mammography screening to 40 years could reduce 10-year mortality risk by 25%.
- The Study – The large-scale study screened nearly 54k 39-41 year-old women annually until they reached 48 years (intervention group) and began nearly 107k women’s screenings at 50 years (control group). The researchers followed up with the women over a median of 23 years.
- The Results – The women who started screening at ~40yrs had a 25% lower risk of dying from breast cancer after 10 years (83 vs. 219 deaths). However, the control group and intervention group had similar breast cancer mortality rates in the years after the 10-year follow up (125 vs. 255 deaths). Overall, early screening saved 11.5 years of life per 1,000 women (67.4 vs. 78.9 years lost per 1k women).
- Significance – This study helps build the case for starting screening at 40 years-old, not 50 years as recommended by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and as adopted by the UK NHSBSP. However, this study technically doesn’t address the ACP’s core argument that the “unintended consequences” of early screening (overdiagnosis, overtreatment, false positives, radiation exposure) outweigh the benefits.
PulseNmore Home US
Israel home ultrasound startup, PulseNmore, just launched a home ultrasound platform that seems to be off to a good start and should add even more momentum to ultrasound’s consumerization trend.
- The System – PulseNmore home ultrasound systems allow pregnant women to perform their own ultrasound exams and share the results immediately with their sonographers or physicians. The system has already been cleared for use in Europe and Israel.
- How it Works – The PulseNmore system features a handheld ultrasound that docks into a smartphone, using a smartphone app to train and guide patients on how to perform their own scans. The app then shares those images with clinicians to allow them to make care decisions. Maybe that’s where they got the ‘Nmore’ part.
- Why it’s Needed – Home ultrasound suddenly has a lot more relevance, given telemedicine’s COVID-driven surge.The PulseNmore can also reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, which the company notes is more common among pregnant women.
- Home Momentum – The tele-ultrasound concept might sound far-out to some, but we’ve already seen a similar system from Butterfly Network and there are other major home maternity ultrasound research efforts underway. Not to mention, PulseNmore already secured a contract to provide 20,000 units to Israel’s largest HMO.
- Thyroid US Guideline Gap: A new University of Michigan-led study found that roughly a third of thyroid-related physicians order thyroid ultrasound scans that do not meet clinical care guidelines. The study presented different patient scenarios to 610 physicians and asked when they would schedule a thyroid or neck ultrasound, finding that 33% order ultrasounds because a patient wanted it and 28% order ultrasounds based on abnormal thyroid function tests (neither of those meet guidelines).
- CMS Cuts, Detailed: Healthcare Administrative Partners provided a complete overview of CMS’ recently proposed changes (MPFS, AUC/CDS, QPP), confirming that cuts are indeed on the way if these proposals are confirmed and detailing estimated changes for 75 common radiology procedures. The breakdown reveals that most professional reimbursements would fall by between 11% and 12% (and 18% for CT Thorax), while imaging center procedures will see more diverse reductions (1-3% for most X-ray, ultrasound 5-7%, MRI 8%, CT Thorax 15%).
- 3D Training: A new study from University College Dublin revealed that most radiography students find 3D virtual radiography simulations to be a valuable educational tool. The school trained 105 first year students with a 3D VR tool by Virtual Medical Coaching and then had them perform virtual X-rays using the same suite. A follow up survey (n = 83) found that 58% of the students enjoyed the simulation and 94% would recommend it to others, suggesting that it helped build their confidence in beam collimation (75%), anatomical marker placement (63%), X-ray tube centering (64%) and exposure parameter selection (56%).
- Mach7 Gets Into Michigan: Mach7 Technologies announced that Michigan Medicine will use its eUnity SMARTviewer enterprise viewing platform across the University of Michigan Medical Center and all affiliate centers (3 hospitals, up to 125 centers). This is the first example of Mach7’s ROI from its June acquisition of Client Outlook, the original developer of eUnity.
- Unread 2nd Opinions: A new AJR study found that “a considerable proportion” of second-opinion radiology reports are not read by clinicians, representing a significant but reversible source of waste. The study reviewed 4,696 second-opinion reports, finding that 537 were not read by a clinician (11.4%), and revealing that the unread second opinions were most likely to be associated with inpatient status, sonography scans, or when ordering physicians are surgeons or neurologists.
- More Mobile Allegations: Pennsylvania mobile imaging provider, Physician’s Mobile X-Ray, agreed to pay nearly $50k to resolve a federal False Claims Act allegation. Prosecutors accused the company of improperly billing Medicare for transporting X-ray equipment for services provided to more than one Medicare beneficiary at the same location between (they charged multiple transport fees for the same trips). This is neither the first nor the last mobile imaging fraud story we’ll cover (here are some other stories).
- Cincinnati Recovery: A new paper from a University of Cincinnati Health team revealed how their post-COVID shutdown imaging volumes rebounded after launching their “Recover Wisely” initiative in early May. Using data to strategically reschedule patients and redesign their patient flow, the initiative allowed the system to increase its outpatient imaging volume by ~172 cases per week, surpassing pre-COVID levels by week 10 (102% recovery). Nuclear medicine (138%), CT (113%), IR (106%), and MRI (101%) led the recovery, while mammography (97%) and ultrasound (99%) volumes lagged.
- Cigna’s COVID Imaging Suit: A New Jersey imaging center is suing Cigna Health, claiming that the insurer wrongfully denied reimbursements for nearly $400k in services that the center provided to COVID-19 patients. The federal lawsuit argues that Cigna’s denial violated the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act.
- QC Sonographer Corrections: A Mayo clinic study published in JACR found adopting a QC sonographer role reduced parameter errors by 60% and improved sonographer education. The QC sonographer previewed ultrasound exams and audited scans for image quality and protocol adherence (n = 17 sonographers, three sets of 272 exams audited), finding 439 image quality parameters (IPQs) that required improvement during an initial 2-month audit, 176 IPQs requiring improvement during a second audit, and 172 IPQs that required improvement in a third audit.
- Rapid LVO Cleared: RapidAI announced the FDA approval of its new Rapid LVO tool (its 7th detection tool), which can detect suspected LVOs (Large Vessel Occlusions) in 3 minutes and notifies stroke team members. Rapid LV identifies LVO by combining a vessel tracker with an assessment of brain regions with reduced blood vessel density (sensitivity 97%, specificity 96%).
- Critical COVID Predictor: A team of Dutch researchers developed a COVID-19 risk model using chest X-ray scores, patient history, and lab results that can help predict patients’ risk of critical illness at the time of admission, potentially helping triage patients and manage ICU bed / facility bandwidth. The retrospective study used data from 356 hospitalized CV19 patients, predicting the 168 patients who developed critical illness (i.e. death and/or ICU admission with invasive ventilation) with a 0.77 AUC.
- Digisonics & Pie Partner: Digisonics and Pie Medical Imaging announced a partnership, combining their respective software to create an image analysis and structured reporting solution for cardiac cath, MR, and CT studies. The solution analyzes images using the Pie Medical Imaging software and saves post processed images to Digisonics’ cardiovascular structured reporting systems (CVIS), allowing clinicians to use the Pie-based image analysis to summarize their findings in Digisonics’ structured report tool.
The Resource Wire
– This is sponsored content.
- Bayer’s new Gadavist Imaging Bulk Package multi-patient dosing system eliminates the waste associated with individual GBCA vials, benefitting rad techs (improved workflow, increased patient focus), administrators (reduced costs / waste, increased productivity), and patients (greater dosage consistency).
- 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.
- Hitachi Healthcare Americas’ latest blog detailed COVID-19’s recent and future impact, warning cardiac practices and clinics of an upcoming wave of patients with cardiovascular issues that worsened due to delayed treatments, followed by a “third wave” of patients who developed heart complications from COVID-19 infections. Hitachi also shared some guidance on how to manage and minimize these waves.
- Nuance recently published a revealing Q&A with RADLogics CEO, Moshe Becker, discussing his inspiration to start RADLogics, the company’s AI portfolio and new COVID-19 solution, and the benefits of the Nuance AI Marketplace.
- They say that in times of crisis, you get to know who your real friends and partners are. This Q&A session details how Healthcare Administrative Partners stepped up to guide their client Triad Radiology Associates through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This Riverain Technologies case study details how Duke University Medical Center integrated ClearRead CT into its chest CT workflows, reducing read times by 26% and improving nodule detection by 29%.