“I anticipate over the next several years this device (Butterfly Network’s Butterfly IQ) being in the hands of most paramedics and replacing much of the use of stethoscopes.”
Mark Merlin, System Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer for New Jersey EMS company MONOC, in support of the company’s announced adoption of the Butterfly IQ across its ALS fleet.
The Imaging Wire is Brought to You By
- 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
- OpenMarkets – A marketplace for healthcare equipment, used by hundreds of hospitals and suppliers to buy and sell imaging equipment in the most efficient way possible.
- Pocus Systems – A new Point of Care Ultrasound startup, combining a team of POCUS veterans with next-generation technology to disrupt the industry
The Imaging Wire
Biotargeting oncology company, RefleXion Medical, unveiled a new “biology-guided radiotherapy” technique (BgRT), utilizing the cancer itself to guide radiation delivery. The novel system uses PET to determine tumor location and then BgRT responds to emissions produced by the PET’s FDG tracer, potentially treating several sites simultaneously with less toxicity. Although folks on the imaging side of the industry would call this a PET-guided treatment, the more important take-away is BgRT could significantly expand the range of patients that can be supported by radiotherapy.
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance
Fujifilm’s dramatic (and often melodramatic) bid to acquire Xerox isn’t over. Fujifilm Holdings won an appeal in its legal battles with Xerox, as a NY court overturned preliminary injunctions that blocked the companies’ merger, potentially giving Fujifilm the leverage to bring Xerox’s Icahn-infiltrated board back to the negotiating table. That meeting may not be pleasant, given that Fujifilm is still suing Xerox for backing out of the previous deal and the companies are still battling it out in the press. However, some believe that Xerox management may be open to an offer, as long as it’s better than the previous $6.1B bid. This may not seem like an imaging story, but dissolution of the Xerox/Fujifilm alliance would pose a serious challenge to the overall health of Fujifilm (Fuji Xerox is Fujifilm’s largest division, Xerox is FX’s largest customer and a 25% owner), plus it’s been an interesting one to follow.
Siemens Expands RT MRI
Siemens Healthineers USA expanded its “MAGNETOM RT Pro” lineup, rolling-out out a radiation therapy treatment planning version of its brand new MAGNETOM Sola 1.5T MRI Scanner. The “MAGNETOM RT Pro edition for MAGNETOM Sola” leads with specialized RT workflows (particularly its RT Dot engine) and its ability to perform consistent scanning in treatment position, while introducing Siemens’ new RT Image Suite post-planning software for calculating synthetic CT images from MR images (eliminating the need for an additional CT scan). RT Pro Edition configurations are playing a growing role in Siemens’ MR lineup, as the RT Pro Edition for MAGNETOM Vida 3T MRI launched this time last year and Siemens also markets configurations for its MAGNETOM Aera and Skyra in other regions.
Siemens Expands RT PET/CT Lineup
Seeing a trend here? Siemens Healthineers USA expanded RT Pro Edition PET/CT portfolio, launching the RT Pro Edition for Biograph Vision. The new PET/CT radiation therapy (RT) treatment planning system launches with a range of RT-targeted customizations including an improved detector (to better understand disease progression and treatment resistance), and added respiratory motion management and treatment planning features. Siemens already has a RT Pro Edition version of its standard Biograph PET/CT and the expansion to its Biograph Vision platform (plus the above RT MRI announcement) suggests that the RT Pro Edition brand and feature set will play a growing role across Siemens’ platforms and modalities.
Research from Reaction Data made it very clear that Nuance dominates the US radiology speech recognition market, giving the company an 81% share, followed by M*Modal (13%), Dolbey (5%), and IBM (1%). Nuance’s top spot appears pretty secure, considering that 85% of radiologists have already adopted speech and 98% of radiologists wouldn’t switch from the speech vendor they’re already using. One area where we should see more movement is integration, as just over half of all speech systems are integrated with PACS (53%), followed by RIS (28%), and EHR (19%).
- Butterfly Network landed its first Emergency Medical Service client, as New Jersey-based MONOC will adopt the highly anticipated Butterfly IQ handheld ultrasound across its ALS fleet. The MONOC announcement is likely the first of many “firsts” for Butterfly, which just began shipping to pre-order customers last month and completed a headline-making $250m funding round a few weeks later.
- Here’s your weekly evidence that AI needs radiologists (at least for now). A researcher in India found that AI algorithms perform better if augmented with radiologist opinions (vs. algorithms trained on imaging parameters alone), particularly for case-based decision making. The research evaluated open-source BI-RADS data sets with radiologist opinions (BI-RADS classifications) in addition to image parameters to predict histology using three machine learning algorithms, finding that the AI models that used images with BI-RADS classifications performed significantly better than the models not using them (P < .0001).
- UMC Utrecht spinoff company, MRIguidance secured a €1.5 million investment to fund the development and launch of its BoneMRI software. BoneMRI provides “unprecedented” 3D visualization of bone anatomy with conventional MRI scanners, suggesting that it will transform MR into a one-stop-shop in medical imaging, able to image all human tissues without harmful radiation.
- This one makes sense. The US FDA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to work closer on medical device cybersecurity threats under an expanded partnership. The new agreement will help the agencies “share information and better collaborate” with the goal of helping the healthcare industry respond to vulnerabilities, although DHS will continue to take the lead with medical device vulnerability issues.
- Clinical Laserthermia Systems (CLS) and Image Guided Therapy (IGT) agreed to develop and commercialize new software for MR-generated temperature monitoring during precision laser ablation and CLS’s immune stimulating imILT treatment. The collaboration will combine IGT’s core software technology with CLS’s thermal therapies and regulatory knowledge, with plans to jointly sell and market the product starting in Q2 2019.
- A team of Hungarian researchers found that kinetic imaging produces better image quality and higher signal-to-noise ratio than digital subtraction angiography (DSA). The researchers studied 42 patients undergoing lower limb x-ray angiography, finding that kinetic imaging provided better image quality in 69% of images and had a three-times higher signal-to-noise ratio than DSA, which could allow for lower contrast agent doses.
- The FDA proposed changes to the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) of 1992 that will focus on recognizing new breast imaging technologies, improving facility processes, and updating reporting requirements (particularly for breast density reporting).
- Kaufman, Hall & Associates reports that hospital and health system M&A activity slowed in Q3 2018, falling 38% to 18 transactions, after record breaking M&A activity in 2017 and seven straight years of M&A growth before that. There’s been 68 deals through the first nine months of 2018 (vs. 87 deals in Q1-Q3 2017) totaling $10.7 billion in total transaction value, mainly driven by the $7.2 billion merger of LifePoint Health and RCCH HealthCare Partners.
- Another Kaufman Hall report found that most hospital executives (n=190) continue to look to traditional cost cutting targets (supply chain and labor, 72%), followed by the physician enterprise (45%), clinical design (45%), clinical workforce design (40%), and service offerings (29%). The report suggests that this “traditional” approach hasn’t been particularly effective, as less than 20% of respondents were able to cut costs by more than 5%, with Kaufman Hall suggesting that much more could be saved by reevaluating service offerings. However, hospitals shouldn’t ignore supply chain efficiency completely, as a separate report from Navigant finds that U.S. hospitals could save $25.4 billion a year by streamlining their supply chains.
- New research suggests that the BI-RADS 3 category for breast ultrasound should be revised, noting that even though BI-RADS 3 lesions are generally benign (defined at <2% malignancy risk), there may be more malignant BI-RADS 3 lesions than previously believed and overall management at this level is inconsistent. The study found that 7 out of 122 women with BI-RADS 3 ultrasound nodular lesions had malignant lesions (5.7%, much higher than the “<2% malignancy risk” definition), suggesting that BI-RADS 3 lesion management should add clinical and anamnestic data and apply a multidisciplinary approach in cases that require histologic verification.
The Resource Wire
– This is sponsored content.
- This Carestream blog gives us eight good reasons to pre-book a demo with Carestream at RSNA 2018 – or you can just set it up here.
- The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is holding its 6th International Symposium this week, with nearly 250 presentations on the latest research on a wide range of preclinical and clinical focused ultrasound uses.
- Did you know that imaging patients are most likely to no-show for their procedures on Mondays and Fridays? By partnering with Medmo, imaging centers can keep their schedules full, despite the inevitable Friday no-shows.
- This OpenMarkets blog post details the abundance of brand and product options across imaging modalities and how its OpenMarkets Exchange helps medical imaging buyers know their options before they invest.
- POCUS Systems’ forthcoming ultrasounds will combine ease of use, durability, and reliability, allowing clinicians to focus on their patients.