No China Tariffs? | AI in the UK NHS | Shimadzu’s 2020 Plan

“Machines will never replace doctors, but the use of data, expertise and technology can radically change how we manage our services – for the better,”

– University College London Hospitals chief executive, Professor Marcel Levi, on its initiative to bring machine learning efficiencies to the UCLH and eventually the UK NHS.


The Imaging Wire

We Should Know How This Goes by Now
Trump’s international policies start big, firm, and final. Everyone gets concerned. Then the policies fade away from the conversation or settle into something less-severe (this is a context statement, not a political one, and it’s a silver lining during a chaotic time). It appears the widely-covered China tariffs are following this “typical” path, as both the US and China have made steps to avoid a trade war. Most importantly for Imaging Wire readers, this includes the US holding-off on plans for a 25% tariff on a list of 1,300 China-made products (including many key imaging systems and components). It’s still too early to call the tariffs dead, but it’s now looking less likely that the US medical imaging industry will be forced to pay the extra $2.25 billion in tariff-related fees.


UK NHS Accelerating AI
A pair of recent announcements from the UK reveal plans to accelerate investments in artificial intelligence within the country’s massive National Health Service (NHS) public healthcare system. The surge in NHS AI news began with a pledge from British Prime Minister, Theresa May, to invest millions of pounds to develop AI for early cancer diagnosis, working with private companies and charities to create AI algorithms based on NHS patient data. Within a day, the University College London Hospitals announced a three-year partnership with the Alan Turing Institute that will leverage machine learning algorithms, creating a wide range of automated processes and decision-making tools with the eventual goal of creating a “machine learning revolution” across the NHS. A “revolution” in the NHS would be very notable, given that it employs 1.6 million people and treats most of the UK. That’s a lot of AI/ML data to leverage and a lot of processes to streamline.


Shimadzu’s Big 2020 Plan
Shimadzu published an ambitious three-year plan for its medical business, targeting 10% revenue growth to ¥71 billion ($645.5M) and a 135% increase in operating income to ¥4 billion ($36.3M), following years of steady revenue growth, but low profitability. The company plans to achieve these goals by growing its North America sales (+26%), increasing revenue from its angiography system business (+26%), growing aftermarket revenue (+9%), improving output (+50% by 2025) and reducing costs from its manufacturing operations. In order to grow 26% in the competitive North America market, Shimadzu will focus on driving digital X-ray and angiography sales growth (aiming for top share of the US mobile X-ray segment) and improving its parts and training infrastructure on the East coast.


Red Hat and Boston Children’s Open Up Imaging Sharing
Red Hat and Boston Children’s Hospital announced the deployment of Red Hat’s ChRIS (ChRIS Research Integration Service), a hybrid cloud-based and open source image sharing platform that allows clinicians and radiologists to share images globally and in real-time. Children’s Hospital is apparently only the beginning for ChRIS. Once a fully-developed business model for supporting end users is in place, ChRIS will expand throughout the Boston area and eventually globally. We don’t hear a lot about open-source on the imaging side of the medical industry, but this could be big, particularly for overcoming technological challenges such as interoperability and security, reducing data storage and computing costs, and allowing organizations to adopt new technology without having to update their legacy IT systems.


GE Shedding Units, Sharpening Focus
GE CEO John Flannery made some big steps towards streamlining the conglomerate, announcing a relatively-complicated $11.1 billion merger between its locomotive unit and Wabtec Corp on Monday and revealing intentions to sell its money-losing insurance business a day later. The merger will result in GE and its shareholders maintaining majority control (50.1%) of the locomotive business, which will operate under the Wabtec name, and give GE $2.9 billion in cash (plus some solid cash savings). GE didn’t wait long to reveal the next step in its big refocusing, announcing plans to shed its struggling insurance business, which was on track to cost GE between $6.2 billion and +$21 billion in the coming years due to underestimated long-term care costs. GE was busy this week, and even though its activities had little to do with healthcare, they had to do with company health. That makes this stuff important.


The Wire

  • Healthcare AI company, Qure.ai, announced a pair of partnerships with Telerad Tech and Teleradiology Solutions (TRS), that will integrate Qure.ai’s chest X-ray technology with Telerad Tech’s RADSpa RIS-PACS platform and will be used in TRS’ teleradiology services globally.
  • Bracco Imaging and Chinese pharmaceutical group Shanghai Pharmaceuticals (SPH) signed an R&D partnership focused on exploring the use of Bracco’s microbubbles technology platform (currently used in Contrast Enhanced Ultrasounds) to monitor patient treatment in tandem with SPH’s oncology drugs.
  • A recent report from the JACR revealed that 60% of referring physicians are confused by over half of the radiology reports they receive, due to how radiologists describe their findings, as well as their tendency to describe lesion counts qualitatively (e.g. few, several, multiple, numerous).
  • UK-based medical solutions companies, Insignia Partners and BridgeHead, announced a partnership that will allow Insignia to offer BridgeHead’s Healthstore data migration and application retirement solution bundled with its own InSight PACS application to its current and future customers.
  • The FDA cleared Innovative Health to reprocess the Abbott ViewFlex Xtra Diagnostic Ultrasound Catheter, making Innovative Health the first company to reprocess an ultrasound catheter as sophisticated as the Abbott ViewFlex Xtra Diagnostic Ultrasound Catheter.
  • Medical image exchange solutions company, lifeIMAGE, announced the launch of its new LITE solution, allowing healthcare organizations to provide their referral and coordination sites a “simple” tool to share medical information, with a specific emphasis on diagnostic images.
  • Sectra signed an enterprise imaging deal with NSW Health, Australia’s largest public health system, allowing Sectra to provide the 11 NSW Health organizations with a consolidated imaging IT infrastructure, that could become a 10-year contract following a successful proof of concept phase.
  • According to Black Book Research, global healthcare cybersecurity spending will surpass $65 billion over the next five years, revealing that cybersecurity has generally been a low priority within many hospitals in recent years.
  • A recent report in the Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology journal argued that lung ultrasounds are more effective than chest radiography in diagnosing pediatric community-acquired pneumonia (pCAP), citing a study of 47 pCAP cases where ultrasound identified 72 lesions and radiography identified 44, suggesting that ultrasounds are a suitable “first line” tool.
  • Zebra Medical Vision’s Mammography Lesion Detection AI imaging algorithm gained CE approval, making what it describes as the “market’s most-affordable mamo lesion package” available in Europe, initially supporting 2D Hologic devices and expanding to 3D support in 2019.


The Resource Wire



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