Silver Tsunami | Mobile MRI Growth | AI Fails The Vision Test

“If there is actually an elephant in the room, you as a human would likely notice it.”

York University researcher, Amir Rosenfeld, on the challenges that AI neural networks have when an unexpected object is included in a study image.



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Silver Tsunami Warning
HIMSS CEO, Hal Wolf, issued a Silver Tsunami Warning to the healthcare industry, suggesting that the world’s aging population will shift even more healthcare costs to the government (in US from 49% to 53%) and exacerbate the healthcare professional shortage (currently a 7 million global shortage). The executive emphasized that this shift will require the healthcare industry to innovate at a far greater speed and scale than today, with a focus on better using available data and an expectation that patients will increasingly take health monitoring and management into their own hands.


AI Fails the Vision Test
A study from York University and University of Toronto in Canada found that that artificial intelligence systems fail a vision test that children can easily accomplish, highlighting a key challenge with current AI computer vision / object detection technology. In the study, a neural network system correctly identified objects in an image of a room (chair, couch, etc.) but things went haywire when it viewed a second image of the room that happened to have an elephant in it (get it…). As a result of the new unexpected object, the system labeled the chair a couch, called the elephant a chair, and was unable to even see items that it correctly identified in the previous image. Here’s why: humans can do a double-take in cases where we see an unexpected object in a scene, and computer vision systems and neural network technology can’t (at least for now). Coverage of the study didn’t specifically reference medical imaging (more of a focus on autonomous driving and similar applications), but medical imaging AI certainly relies on neural networks and this study is worth noting.


Mercy Health Invests
Mercy Health continued what is shaping up to be an ambitious approach to IT for a healthcare system, making a strategic investment in NucleusHealth. Mercy already uses NucleusHealth’s cloud-based image exchange and just adopted NucleusHealth’s Nucleus.io as its back-up PACS. With this investment, the hospital system becomes a minority stakeholder in the San Diego-based company. Mercy Health is among the select group health systems that funds some vendor partners that it believes will benefit the global health care community (like NucleusHealth), and last week it’s IT division (Mercy Technology Services) joined an even more select group of healthcare provider divisions offering services to other hospitals, after announcing plans to go to market with a “PACS as a Service” offering.


IHS Markit Forecasts Mobile MRI Growth
IHS Markit forecasted strong (but unspecified) growth for mobile MRIs, largely attributed to the segment’s overall ease of adoption and much lower up-front investments (they can be rented or shared, don’t require an MRI room, etc.), making mobile MRIs relevant to rural and budget-conscious healthcare providers. Mobile MRI growth is further supported by technological (MRIs becoming lighter, smaller, self-shielding), economic (hospitals increasingly budget-conscious), and societal (the population is aging) factors. Although not specifically tied to the mobile segment, the IHS Markit report also provided some interesting MRI growth numbers, forecasting a 5.1% revenue CAGR for 1.5T MRIs (7% in China) and a -2.7% CAGR decline in average selling prices across all MRI segments through 2022.



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