Virtual RSNA 2020

“Point of care physicians want answers, not images.”

FUJIFILM Sonosite’s Diku Mandavia, MD with a reminder why frontline doctors use POCUS.

Happy to introduce this year’s Imaging Wire Award honorees, who did such great work to elevate radiology, and many thanks to our judges and everyone who submitted nominations.

  • Diagnostic Humanitarian: Daniel J. Mollura, MD; President and CEO, RAD-AID International
  • AI Activator: Jon T. DeVries, CEO; Qlarity Imaging
  • Burnout Fighter: Marla B.K. Sammer, MD; Associate Professor of Pediatric Radiology, Texas Children’s Hospital
  • Insights to Action: Syed Zaidi, MD, MBA; Associate Chief Medical Officer for Integrations, Radiology Partners
  • Continued Care: Jinghong Li, MD, PhD, University of California San Diego
  • Cornerstone: Karen Holzberger, SVP and GM; Healthcare Diagnostics, Nuance Communications
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Kristina Elizabeth Hawk, MD; President, Matrix East Pod A, Radiology Partners

** Note – Because of all the RSNA announcements, today’s issue is more focused on the business side of imaging. We’ll go back to normal next week.

Imaging Wire Sponsors

  • Arterys – Reinventing imaging so you can practice better and faster.
  • Bayer Radiology – Providing a portfolio of radiology products, solutions, and services that enable radiologists to get the clear answers they need.
  • GE Healthcare – Enabling clinicians to make faster, more informed decisions through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services.
  • Healthcare Administrative Partners – Empowering radiology groups through expert revenue cycle management, clinical analytics, practice support, and specialized coding.
  • Hitachi Healthcare Americas – Delivering best in class medical imaging technologies and value-based reporting.
  • Nuance – AI and cloud-powered technology solutions to help radiologists stay focused, move quickly, and work smarter.
  • Riverain Technologies – Offering artificial intelligence tools dedicated to the early, efficient detection of lung disease.
  • Siemens Healthineers – Shaping the digital transformation of imaging to improve patient care.

The Imaging Wire

Virtual RSNA

Welcome “home” from RSNA, everyone. Hope you had a blast and you are well on your way to a relaxing weekend. Once you’re ready to reflect, here are The Imaging Wire’s big RSNA takeaways:

  • This Year’s Theme – The theme of this year’s show was the coronavirus, obviously (think I was going to say AI?). COVID’s the reason we all met from home, it’s the reason every marketing team in our industry had to rewrite their convention playbook, and it’s why 2020 has been so hard for exhibitors and attendees alike. Still, I heard a lot of stories of heroism (both clinical and business), plenty of optimism (we’re all getting better at this, and vaccines are coming), and a consensus that the next in-person RSNA is gonna be lit (it will be).
  • Strengths & Weaknesses – Anyone can list off the negatives of a virtual RSNA (virtual booths are pretty bad, no face-to-face, no dinners or parties, questionable ROI). However, the education / industry sessions worked just fine, the meetings were a lot more efficient, marketing teams now have tons of digital content to use, and this was the perfect year to eliminate travel costs.
  • Burnout Solutions – Rising volumes and clinician burnout are not new topics, but their role at RSNA reached new heights this year. Nearly every exhibitor conversation centered around our growing volume / burnout problem and they pitched most products (AI triage, imaging workflows, easy-to-use scanners, etc.) as solutions to those problems. This makes a lot of sense, and it’s the same reason why I (try to) keep this newsletter succinct. Still, the only folks talking about ways to actually reduce imaging volumes were speaking at the sessions.
  • The AI Platform Play – AI platforms and marketplaces once again took center stage at RSNA. We saw new platforms / marketplaces from a number of major industry players (Bayer, Agfa, Sectra, Visage, Konica Minolta), while the current marketplace leaders continued to strengthen their offerings. At this point, having an AI platform isn’t a differentiator, but having a platform that integrates nicely into radiologists’ workflows definitely still is.
  • Other Cool Things – RSNA 2020 had plenty of other interesting storylines, including MRI’s push to new environments (ICU bedsides, outside clinics/offices), more scanners with embedded algorithms, enterprise imaging’s continued shift to the cloud, and an increased emphasis on deep learning-based image reconstruction to name a few.
  • Lemons & Lemonade – Like everything else this year, the imaging industry made the most of their RSNA 2020 situation, and that’s something to be proud of even if it wasn’t “the same.” Here’s to seeing everyone in Chicago next year.

Philips’ Solutions-Centric RSNA

Philips led with solutions for its second straight RSNA (here’s last year), making a series of moves to expand its imaging workflow and informatics offering. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Radiology Workflow Suite – After years of building out its solutions portfolio, Philips reorganized many of its key solutions within its new Radiology Workflow Suite. The Radiology Workflow Suite spans much of the imaging pathway, ranging from patient scheduling, imaging, interpretation, reporting, and follow up. Although most of these solutions were already available, Philips’ Radiology Workflow Suite appears to reflect a new end-to-end approach to solutions delivery (and solutions marketing).
  • Philips ROCC – The highlight of the Radiology Workflow Suite is Philips’ new Radiology Operations Command Center (ROCC). The Philips ROCC allows providers’ centralized imaging experts to collaborate with onsite staff across multiple locations and with multiple scanner brands (it’s the first vendor-agnostic ROCC), alleviating multi-site / brand institutions’ technologist staffing and expertise challenges.
  • IntelliSpace Portal 12 – The latest version of Philips’ IntelliSpace visualization workspace brings an expanded AI suite (adds CT lung segmentation and nodule detection, MR cardiac analysis, pulmonary infiltrates quantification, CT brain perfusion analysis), plus new photorealistic volume rendering technology.
  • Philips Cybersecurity – Philips also launched new Cybersecurity Services that leverage data collected by its new security partner, CyberMDX, to fuel a range of healthcare cybersecurity service offerings.

GE’s Intelligently Efficient RSNA

GE Healthcare had another busy RSNA 2020, highlighting 27 new products and solutions, and unveiling its “Intelligently Efficient” philosophy focused on improving workflows and reducing burnout. Here’s a breakdown of GE’s newest products and solutions:

  • PET/CT – The new Discovery MI Gen 2 PET/CT system builds upon its GE Gen 1 model, adding a wider 30cm axial field-of-view (for more sensitivity), and combining digital detection and deep learning image reconstruction to produce “TrueFidelity CT Images.”
  • Interventional – GE Healthcare updated its interventional lineup, highlighted by the completely redesigned Allia IGS 7 image-guided therapy suite with upgrades focused on ergonomics, UI-based usability, and workflow efficiency. GE also unveiled its new OEC 3D mobile C-arm (FDA pending), which supports 3D and 2D imaging, and features a 3D image reconstruction engine to produce “CT-like images.”
  • AIR Recon DL – GE announced the availability of its AIR Recon DL deep learning-based MR image reconstruction application after introducing it at RSNA 2019, highlighting its ability to reduce scan times by 30% to 50%.

The Wire

  • An Academic PSMA FDA: UCSF and UCLA just landed FDA approval to use the new 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET tracer, which they’ve found to be extremely accurate for detecting cancer metastases in patients with biochemically recurrent prostate cancer. The “game changer” tracer was originally developed by University of Heidelberg, although UCSF and UCLA have been working to validate it for quite a while and are now the only institutions in the U.S. that can use it.
  • Sectra’s Marketplace: Sectra’s AI strategy took a major step with the launch of its new Amplifier Marketplace. The Sectra Amplifier Marketplace will start with the Sectra Amplifier Store (a marketplace of Sectra-compatible AI solutions), and will later add the Amplifier Platform (gives users access to multiple apps in a unified infrastructure) and the Amplifier Analytics tool (allows users to measure AI performance). Sectra will go with a two-tier partner strategy, leading with a solid list of “Amplifier Partner” solutions that are sold by Sectra and are already proven to work on the Sectra platform (Aidence, Combinostics, Qure.ai, Riverain, ScreenPoint), plus a larger group of “Amplifier Integrators” (e.g. iCAD, Lunit, Quantib, others) who will work directly with Sectra customers to integrate their solutions.
  • Trending Down: A new Clinical Imaging study detailed how online searches for imaging procedures declined during the COVID emergency’s spring peak, followed by a smaller rebound as lockdowns eased. A comparison of Google Trends data before and after March 1 revealed declines and then rebounds for CT (−19.4%, +10.4%), X-ray (−16.6%, +2.5%), ultrasound (−19.9%, +18.7%), MRI (−38.3%, +24.6%), and mammography (−51.0%, +53.9%).
  • Mach7 & Nuance’s Integration Collaboration: Mach7 and Nuance are working on a new solution that would integrate Mach7s’ zero-footprint eUnity Diagnostic Viewer within Nuance’s cloud-based PowerScribe One radiology platform. The solution would launch the eUnity Viewer within radiologists’ standard PowerScribe One workflow, pre-populating reports with data produced by AI models from Nuance’s AI Marketplace, that radiologists can then review/edit and use in their own reports.
  • US Radiology Goes North: US Radiology Specialists expanded to the northern U.S. for the first time through a partnership with western NY practice Windsong Radiology Group (5 imaging centers, ~24 rads). Since its creation through Charlotte Radiology’s private equity acquisition less than three years ago, US Radiology’s aggressive M&A pace has expanded the once-regional practice to 145 outpatient imaging centers across 14 states, staffed by 3,100 team members.
  • Bayer’s AI Platform: Bayer will work with Blackford Analysis to develop Bayer’s forthcoming imaging AI marketplace that is expected to offer functionality similar to Blackford’s and support a range of Bayer-developed and 3rd party solutions (diagnostic, protocol, workflow). Some in the industry might be surprised to see Bayer launch an AI platform, but few would argue that Bayer’s radiology customer base, expertise, and reputation gives it an advantage that most AI “insiders” are still working towards.
  • Hologic’s Genius AI: Hologic announced the FDA approval and launch of its Genius AI Detection solution, which highlights areas with subtle potential cancers in DBT images from Hologic’s mammography systems. Genius AI Detection runs on the mammography workstation (an industry first), helping radiologists categorize and prioritize cases at the time of acquisition to support their workflow, while achieving higher sensitivity and lower false positive rates than the company’s previous CAD products.
  • Hyland’s SaaS Option: Hyland Healthcare announced that it will offer its enterprise imaging solutions through a SaaS model, allowing its clients to move their archival and imaging workflows to the cloud and realize the associated benefits (less management, moving to opex cost model, more uptime, etc.). Hyland also enhanced its NilRead viewer (added patient portal support, edge rendering for local workstations), its PACSgear suite (now allows management from one central workstation), ImageNext (now retrieves and displays relevant priors), and Acuo VNA (new admin portal with migration tools).
  • NVIDIA’s Training Framework: NVIDIA officially launched its MONAI (Medical Open Network for AI) PyTorch-based AI framework to support the training and evaluation of imaging AI models. MONAI provides tools for AI-assisted annotation, federated learning, and production deployment, while coming with over 20 pre-trained models that can serve as AI development starting points.
  • Agfa’s AI: Agfa HealthCare jumped into the AI game, unveiling its RUBEE AI framework and suite of clinical AI packages (Transpara for breast CAD, Riverain ClearRead CT for lung nodules) that can be embedded within Agfa enterprise imaging workflows. Although not technically a marketplace (Agfa “curates” the available solutions), hospitals can also embed their other AI apps onto the RUBEE framework and integrate them into their EI workflows.

The Resource Wire

– This is sponsored content.

  • Siemens Healthineers’ FDA-approved AI-Rad Companion Organs RT AI-based software automates contouring process for organs at risk during radiation therapy planning.
  • What can your radiology practice do to improve patient satisfaction? This Healthcare Administrative Partners blog post outlines some steps to improve patient experience including issuing surveys and applying feedback, supporting a range of payment methods, and helping patients understand their coverage.
  • Vessel suppression from Riverain Technologies’ ClearRead CT software was found to significantly improve nodule detection, interreader agreement, and reading time with oncologic chest CT scans.
  • Ever wonder how secure your ultrasound systems are? This GE Healthcare Insight details how outdated operating systems might make many ultrasound systems more vulnerable than other medical devices and outlined the steps organizations can take to keep their ultrasounds protected.
  • The Arterys Marketplace now includes 34 AI solutions available to its healthcare partners, including new FDA-cleared and CE-marked algorithms.
  • Learn how Einstein Healthcare Network leveraged Nuance’s PowerScribe One platform and the Nuance AI Marketplace to put AI into action.

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