Certified Shakedown | The DBT Advantage | Tube for Life

“Human radiologists are already much worse than computer radiologists. If I had to pick a human or an AI to read my scan, I’d pick the AI.”

Y Combinator president, Sam Altman, supporting his theory on AI’s imminent job-disrupting impact at the New York Times’ recent New Work Summit and earning himself a few radiologist critics in the process.

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The Imaging Wire

Certified Shakedown
A Tennessee radiologist launched a class action lawsuit against the American Board of Radiology (ABR), claiming that the organization is using its monopoly over the initial radiology certification process to create an ongoing monopoly over the subsequent certification maintenance process. The suit essentially calls the ABR’s certification and maintenance processes a long-term shakedown that takes radiologists’ time and money, but does little to advance their knowledge or prove their capabilities. If true, this has been an effective financial strategy for the ABR, which saw its annual certification maintenance revenue increase from $6.07 million in 2005 to $16.29 million in 2017, driving an over 3x increase in net assets to $38.95 million during the same period and allowing some hefty >$800k salaries for ABR’s executives. The suit seeks to “recover damages and for injunctive and other equitable relief” for all radiologists who were required to purchase certification maintenance. The rads on the auntminnie.com message boards are loving this one.

The DBT Advantage
New research published in JAMA Oncology added to the ongoing wave of pro-DBT evidence, finding that DBT is superior to digital mammography (DM) at detecting breast cancer and results in a lower false-positive recall rate, addressing two key components of breast cancer screening’s risk-benefit equation. The study used data from 50,971 DBT exams and 129,369 DM exams, finding DBT’s specificity and cancer detection advantages mentioned above to be true across all age and breast density groups. The researchers also found that the invasive cancers detected by DBT were more likely to be smaller (<1cm) and node negative compared with cancers detected by digital mammography, allowing for early treatment and better long-term results. This was particularly true for women aged 40 to 49 years, suggesting that DBT may be especially beneficial for younger women.

Philips’ Incisive CT
Philips expanded its high-end CT portfolio and introduced an interesting new economic incentive with the launch of its new Incisive CT at ECR 2019. The 72cm bore CT ships in a variety of configurations based on detector width (2cm or 4cm) and slices (32, 64, or 128), and includes Philips’ DoseWise Portal monitoring solution (w/ iDose4 image quality algorithm, & metal artifact reduction) and new OnPlan patient-side gantry controls for improved technologist workflow. However, the Incisive CT is arguably most notable for its new ‘Tube for Life’ guarantee, as Philips has so much faith in the longevity of the system’s new vMRC tube that the company will replace it at no additional cost throughout a unit’s entire life (10yrs = “life”), providing customers an estimated lifetime savings of $400,000. The vMRC’s advantages are reminiscent of Philips’ still-new Blue Seal MRI magnet tech, which eliminates the need to add helium, and the two innovations suggest that Philips is placing a strategic focus on parts/supply-based innovations. The Incisive CT will launch in Europe and Asia in the first half of 2019, and although there’s no timelines for a US launch, the system is already FDA cleared.

The Wire

  • iCAD announced plans to partner with two researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet to develop an AI-based solution that identifies a women’s individual risk of developing breast cancer. The partnership expands on previous research where the Karolinska team developed a breast cancer risk prediction model using information from iCAD’s AI cancer detection and density assessment solutions. In the next phase of their partnership, iCAD and the two Karolinska Institutet researchers will develop and commercialize a solution based on an exclusive license agreement for the breast cancer risk assessment model.

  • Mini C-arm specialist, Orthoscan, announced its new TAU 2020 mini C-arm at ECR. The new system is highlighted by a number of “industry largest” features for the mini C-arm segment (largest: detector, field-of-view, high-resolution diagnostic touchscreen) and also highlights the inclusion of pulsed fluoroscopy, optimized dose filtration, a 160-degree orbital rotation, and a pediatric indication (the only mini C-arm with this).

  • Canon Medical Systems took a final step towards formalizing its Argentinian operations with Canon Medical Systems Argentina’s completed acquisition of Buenos Aires-based medical imaging system dealer, Griensu. The acquisition is unlikely to be a surprise within the Argentinian imaging industry, as Canon Medical Systems Argentina’s late-2018 formation came as a result of a joint venture between Canon and Griensu, and Canon relied on Griensu as its local distributor for years before that.

The Resource Wire

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  • It’s no secret that rural hospitals have a unique set of challenges, as they must balance a wide range of healthcare needs with limited budgets. This Carestream blog details how the DRX-Transportable System/Lite system allows healthcare facilities to upgrade to DR “easily and affordably,” while keeping their existing analogue equipment.

  • In this Focused Ultrasound Foundation video, four patients discuss their experiences with focused ultrasound treatments for essential tremor, bone tumors, uterine fibroids, and Parkinson’s disease – with details on how focused ultrasound treats these issues.

  • How much does an MRI scan cost? According to Medmo, that depends. Scans made with the exact same device on the exact same body part could cost $225 at one facility and $2,500 at another. Medmo also provides some advice to make sure patients don’t pay too much for their scans, including using the Medmo Marketplace where the average MRI costs between $225 and $700.

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