“Is there a Taco Bell?”
A question from comedian Billy Crystal during his MRI exam after he took marijuana edibles to help with pre-exam anxiety.
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United Imaging | Zebra Medical Vision
The Imaging Wire
Hybrid HIMSS 2021
HIMSS 2021 is officially a wrap. The conference probably didn’t work out like many envisioned back when the US was pre-Delta (and we kept saying we were “post-COVID”), but there were still plenty of takeaways:
- Hybrid HIMSS – HIMSS was already intended to be a hybrid conference (in-person & virtual), but Delta variant concerns reduced in-person attendance and led to a long list of exhibitors canceling or sending smaller teams. Whether that led to a similar increase in virtual meetings is debatable.
- Masked & Vaxxed – HIMSS attendees were required to be fully vaccinated and masked, and that seemed to work out fine (at least during trade show hours). It was also good practice for RSNA 2021, which will have the same requirements.
- Quality Over Quantity – Despite the low turnout, it seemed like the folks who made it to Vegas were there to have high-quality conversations – and they had plenty of time/space to hold those conversations.
- Cloud Focus – Many PACS vendors placed a major emphasis on their cloud launches and cloud-based advantages, which makes sense given the cloud momentum we’re seeing. However, this cloud shift seems to be creating marketing challenges for newly cloud-centric vendors (how are their cloud PACS different/better/more native?) and for the PACS players who haven’t embraced the cloud (why is it better to stay on-premise?).
- Not Much AI – Very few imaging AI companies had booths at HIMSS, which is actually pretty consistent with previous years. However, it’s worth noting that the PACS players didn’t have much to say about their AI marketplaces/platforms even though these same platforms were a major focus at RSNA 2020.
- Facing Patients – Most of the non-imaging booths placed a huge focus on telemedicine, home monitoring, home care, and various forms of digital patient engagement. Even though radiology doesn’t have to focus on the patient-facing stuff as much as other industries/specialties, it will have to adapt to these significant changes in how/where patients get their care… We happen to have an excellent newsletter about that space.
- Lemons & Lemonade – Like everything else since COVID, the imaging industry made the most of HIMSS 2021, whether that meant flying out or staying safe at home. Let’s hope there’s a lot fewer reasons to stay home by RSNA 2021… or at least by HIMSS 2022.
Zebra’s Population Health Codes
We’ve heard a lot about the AMA’s new Category III CPT codes for artificial intelligence. Check out this post from Zebra-Med CEO, Zohar Elhanani, about how these codes bring the next step in Zebra-Med’s population health mission.
Improving Breast Imaging Efficiency
Room for more efficiency in your breast imaging operations? Check out this GE Healthcare post detailing how new technologies are improving patient experiences and making breast imaging teams more efficient.
- Handheld Guidance Alliance: Caption Health will make its Caption AI cardiac ultrasound guidance software exclusively available with the Butterfly iQ+ handheld ultrasound, with Butterfly Network serving as the combined solution’s primary channel. Caption Health has been on a roll lately (new NTAP, big funding, mounting clinical evidence), making this an important step as Caption shifts its focus to commercialization. It should also help Butterfly’s expansion within cardiovascular workflows.
- The Power of Social Presence: Patients are far more likely to follow treatment recommendations provided by human physicians (with or without AI support) compared to recommendations from an automated AI tool. That’s from a study that posed hypothetical skin cancer treatment recommendations to 452 USA-based participants, finding that patients’ intention to comply was far higher when recommendations were provided by physicians (ß = 0.27 w/ AI, 0.40 without AI) than by AI.
- Imaging’s Strong Q2: Imaging OEMs posted impressive healthcare/imaging division revenue growth during the April-June quarter, due in part to the COVID rebound and how bad things were in Q2 2020. Fujifilm’s Healthcare business achieved the greatest growth (+58% to $1.58b), followed by Hologic’s breast imaging division (+45% to $280.3m), Konica Minolta’s healthcare division (+23% to $228.5m), Siemens Healthineers’ imaging business (+17% to $2.79b), Philips’ Diagnosis & Treatment division (+16% to $2.48b), GE Healthcare’s Systems division (+11% to $3.91b), and Canon Medical Systems (+9.7% to $1.01b).
- The Coverage Effect: Penn State researchers found that improving breast cancer screening coverage for women with dense breasts is far more effective than requiring breast density notifications. The study (n = 689,641) found that women with dense breasts in states with density-based screening coverage mandates had a 6% lower chance of being diagnosed with regional stage breast cancer, while state-mandated density notifications had an insignificant impact on early diagnoses.
- RP Adds: Radiology Partners reportedly raised another $300m to fund its acquisition of three more radiology practices in Alaska, Florida, and California. The moves increase RP’s outstanding term loans to $1.3b, while further expanding its already-massive presence (at least 3,400 hospitals in 33 states, on pace for $2.3b in 2021 revenue).
- Placental MRI AI: King’s College London researchers developed an AI model that analyzes rapid 30-second MRI scans to accurately/automatically predict placental health. KCL’s placental health prediction system automates placenta segmentation (traditionally takes 1hr manually) and analyzes abnormal tissue maturation, increasing high-risk placenta detection accuracy from 69% to 95%.
- GE on AWS: GE Healthcare announced a strategic alliance with Amazon Web Services that will shift its imaging products and platforms to the AWS cloud. GE and AWS’ cloud alliance officially launched with GE’s new Edison TruePACS last week, and will include other PACS systems, GE’s Edison Health Services platform, Edison data aggregation and AI analytics platform, and advanced image processing applications.
- Qure.ai qCT-lung: Qure.ai unveiled its new qCT-Lung (CE marked), a chest CT AI tool that detects lung nodules and emphysema, analyzes malignancy, quantifies/tracks nodules over multiple scans, and supports both lung cancer and opportunistic screening workflows. qCT-lung joins Qure.ai’s well-established qXR tool (CXR AI) and its qTrack lung care platform, giving the company a relatively robust lung health suite.
- Duke Closes the Loop: Duke highlighted the results of its closed-loop communication system that combines an EHR interface to enter unexpected non-emergent findings and a team of trained “navigators” to communicate and document these findings. Over 12 months, the closed loop system managed 3,542 exams with unexpected findings, leading to 2,127 additional imaging studies and 1,078 referrals. Most of Duke’s radiologists and providers found it useful too (89% & 65%).
- Controlling Information Access: The American Medical Group Association is fighting back against the US’ new “information blocking” rules, informing the US ONC that giving patients immediate access to their medical information (sometimes before their physicians) often does more harm than good. The AMGA proposed allowing providers to withhold certain results for 24 to 72 hours if it risks confusing or distressing a patient (like radiology reports), expanding the current guideline that allows delays if information could cause physical harm.
- Opportunistic Osteoporosis Screening: Thoracic and lumbar spine CTs performed for a variety of indications could also be used to screen for osteoporosis, potentially identifying more women with osteoporosis and/or eliminating some DXA-based exams. Mount Sinai researchers analyzed data from ten lumbar/thoracic spine CT studies, finding that the CT scans identified osteoporosis in DXA-qualified women with an 0.84 AUC.
- Hologic and Oprah Target Disparities: Hologic announced a partnership with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to combat health disparities for Black women. OWN and Hologic will produce culturally competent health information, research, and care pathways focused on breast, cervical, and uterine fibroids health. This is the latest effort from Hologic’s Project Health Equality (PHE) initiative and another example of the company working with iconic women to encourage screening (they’ve worked with Sheryl Crow since 2016).
- A Powerful Modality: A new study review in Heart highlighted the value of handheld cardiac ultrasound, calling it a “powerful modality” for assessing left ventricular (LV) dysfunction and a suitable adjunct to transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). Across 33 handheld ultrasound studies (6,062 participants), experienced echocardiographers achieved high sensitivity and specificity for predicting reduced LV ejection fraction (88% & 96%), wall motion abnormality (85% & 95%), LV dilatation (89% & 98%), and LV hypertrophy (85% & 91%). However, less-experienced operators were notably less accurate.
Nuance & UVM’s Enterprise Imaging Vision
Join Nuance and The University of Vermont Health Network to learn what shaped UVM’s enterprise imaging vision and how they are executing the strategy to achieve it.
The Resource Wire
- See how Novarad’s CryptoChart solution allowed Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC, 70 practices, 400 physicians) to make the transition to digital imaging sharing in this Healthcare IT News case study.
- United Imaging’s “all-in” approach means that every system ships with its entire suite of features and capabilities (no options), giving its clients more clinical flexibility and predictability.
- Trying to figure out how your IT resources can handle increased AI adoption? This Blackford paper details how the cloud is helping radiology organizations scale their computing resources to support multiple AI applications or algorithms.
- This presentation from Dr. Brian Goldner, MD details UC Davis Sacramento’s experience with Canon’s Ultra High Resolution CT and how it can be applied to cardiothoracic interpretations.
- Generate actionable insights by consolidating your data into one place, organized around the patient with Siemens Healthineers’ Syngo Carbon
- See how Arterys’ combination of AI, 4D Flow, and cloud is making Cardiac MR more efficient and effective in this detailed case study.
- Check out this Imaging Wire Show interview with Fujifilm Healthcare Americas’ Dave Wilson, detailing what we can expect as Hitachi Healthcare becomes part of Fujifilm.
- This Bayer case study details how radiation benchmarking programs can help push CT dose exposure reduction initiatives from achieving compliance to driving quality.
- This Riverain Technologies case study details how Einstein Medical Center adopted ClearRead CT enterprise-wide (all 13 CT scanners) and how the solution allowed Einstein radiologists to identify small nodules faster and more reliably.