AHRA 2019 | Medtronic and Viz.ai | Intelli-C Installed

“What class ‘B’ or ‘C’ mall doesn’t have a wing that’s either dark or a little sleepy?”

Todd Caruso of major commercial real estate firm, CBRE, on how health care clinics are increasingly finding a home in the dark and sleepy parts of America’s malls.

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

Medtronic and Viz.ai Partner

Medtronic announced a partnership to distribute Viz.ai’s stroke care AI solution, representing a new and interesting type of AI alliance. Here’s why:

  • In Brief – Medtronic will make Viz.ai’s FDA-cleared stroke solution available through its massive network. The Viz.ai solution connects with CTs to identify LVO strokes and notifies specialists for quick care, complementing Medtronic’s Solitaire Platinum revascularization device, a stent used to treat patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke due to an LVO.
  • Potential – Although many partnerships hit their peak shortly after the press release, this one has potential. Medtronic is no stranger to connecting imaging tech with its surgical products, including its recent image-guided deal with Philips, and the medtech giant should be well suited to integrate Viz.ai with its stroke care system.
  • Impact – AI’s go-to-market is still largely undefined, and although some other approaches are promising (e.g. marketplaces, hardware OEM partnerships), connecting imaging AI solutions to post-imaging care is a model that’s worth keeping an eye on.

Intelli-C Installed

Southeast U.S. dealer, CMS Imaging, announced the first clinical installation of Alpha Imaging’s Intelli-C tilt-C fluoroscopic imaging system. The Intelli-C’s installation at South Carolina imaging center, ImageCare, may not seem like a big deal to some but it’s an interesting milestone for a number of reasons:

  • Channel Demand – Since Shimadzu pulled the C-Vision from the U.S. and GE stopped selling the Precision MPi (also from NRT), the U.S. lateral fluoro market has been limited to a pair of systems from Canon and Siemens Healthineers. In other words, if dealers didn’t work with Canon or Siemens, they couldn’t provide their clients with lateral fluoro systems … until now.
  • CMS Isn’t Alone – It’s no surprise that there are already a number of dealers who’ve taken on the Intelli-C (Core Medical, Brown’s, CMS, plus Alpha Imaging’s own branches) and five other Intelli-C installations are reportedly already lined-up over the coming months.

Breast OCT Breakthrough

A team of Columbia University-led researchers appear to have taken a major step towards optical coherence tomography (OCT) becoming a real-time imaging modality for breast cancer identification and perhaps other applications. Here’s how:

  • The Study – The team developed a CNN method (n= 46 tissue specimens, 29 cancerous) that can identify the four types of breast tissue in OCT scans and classify cancerous and non-cancerous tissue with 94% accuracy, 96% sensitivity, and 92% specificity, surpassing a 7-physician panel’s 88% accuracy rate.
  • The Breakthrough – This automated method may help OCT overcome its historic issues with interobserver variability and speed that kept the modality from being seen as a practical solution for intraoperative settings.
  • Implications – The new method might help make OCT a real-time intraoperative margin assessment tool in breast-conserving surgery and potentially other applications, in addition to its current applications for ophthalmology.

Volpara Solutions and ScreenPoint Partner Up

Volpara Solutions and ScreenPoint Medical announced a partnership that will allow Volpara to sell ScreenPoint’s Transpara products to breast imaging clinics in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. This partnership makes sense for a number of reasons:

  • ScreenPoint has actively relied on regional partnerships to drive geographic expansion (Siemens across Europe, Incepto in France) and ScreenPoint was in need of a U.S. partner after Transpara’s FDA clearance in late 2018. As a New Zealand-based company, Volpara is also well-suited to distribute ScreenPoint in the Oceania region.
  • The companies’ solutions fit well together, given that Transpara helps detect breast cancer in mammograms, while Volpara’s solutions measure density and other info and improve technologist decision making.
  • This deal aligns with the clear trend in breast imaging towards comprehensive solution suites.
  • Volpara and ScreenPoint share co-founders, Mike Brady and Nico Karssemeijer.

The Wire

  • New research from Kaiser Permanente (n= 2.2m women) finds that CT use rates among pregnant women increased by 3.7-fold in the US (0.8% of pregnant women) and 2.0-fold in Ontario, Canada (0.4% of pregnant women) between 1996 and 2016, while use rates of other imaging modalities with ionizing radiation decreased among pregnant women (overall: 5.3% in U.S., 3.6% in Ontario).
  • A Wired opinion post from AI leader, Oren Etzioni, argued that because of AI’s black box issue AI systems that are responsible for important analysis should undergo automated external audits to catch signs of bias or brittleness. Etzioni argued that “explainable AI” is easier said than done (IP needs protecting, AI findings are difficult to explain), making “auditable AI” performed by a neutral third-party the better option.
  • Samsung NeuroLogica launched its new iQuia digital radiography platform, highlighted by the company’s upgraded iQuia Detector (14”x17” and 17”x17”) that will be used with Samsung’s new premium ceiling DR iQuia GC85A system and mobile iQuia GM85 system (feature higher weight capacities, better dust and water resistance, and other improvements). The launch also brings Samsung’s new SMART Center by iQuia, a quality and asset monitoring solution that aggregates multiple Samsung DR devices’ data to support staff training, productivity analysis, and detector shock analysis.

The Resource Wire

– This is sponsored content.

  • This Qure.ai blog details the challenges it overcame with its qER Head CT algorithm, including developing the algorithm to support CT’s 3D images and high resolution as well as the validation hurdles it faced due to the low prevalence of abnormalities, the need to create a dataset enriched with positives, and steps required to support radiologist reading.
  • In this blog post, Nuance Healthcare’s Diagnostic Division GM and VP, Karen Holzberger, shared some real-world examples of how PowerShare is helping providers #DitchTheDisk and improve patient experiences.
  • In this Carestream video, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Bryan Den Hartog presents clinical images illustrating traditional CT vs. extremity CT imaging and discusses how the image resolution in the OnSight 3D Extremity System helps in his practice.

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