“This internal visualization can now be achieved without the surgeon ever making an incision, improving outcomes in a world of more precise medicine.”
Novarad CEO, Dr. Wendell Gibby, on the company’s now FDA-cleared OpenSight augmented reality system, which allows doctors to simultaneously see the patient and see into the patient using an AR headset.
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- Carestream – Focused on delivering innovation that is life changing – for patients, customers, employees, communities and other stakeholders
- Focused Ultrasound Foundation – Accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound
- Medmo – Helping underinsured Americans save on medical scans by connecting them to imaging providers with unfilled schedule time
- OpenMarkets – A marketplace for healthcare equipment, used by hundreds of hospitals and suppliers to buy and sell imaging equipment in the most efficient way possible.
- Pocus Systems – A new Point of Care Ultrasound startup, combining a team of POCUS veterans with next-generation technology to disrupt the industry
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A Low-Dose, Low-Cost, High-Resolution Breakthrough
A breakthrough from researchers in Singapore may lead to lower-cost, lower-dose, and higher-resolution radiography. The National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers developed lead halide perovskite nanocrystals that are highly sensitive to X-ray irradiation, incorporating the crystals into a flat-panel X-ray to create a new type of detector with 400-times lower radiation than current methods. Not only that, the nanocrystals are lower cost than the inorganic crystals used in conventional X-rays, can be used with lower-cost systems (even digital cameras), and have the potential to achieve higher resolution. Sounds like a win-win. The next step is (you guessed it) more testing, although NUS is also looking to partner with industry players to commercialize the new imaging technology.
Hitachi ARIETTA 65 Ultrasound Hits Japan
Hitachi Japan announced the domestic launch of the new ARIETTA 65 ultrasound, starting what is believed to be the device’s worldwide rollout (including to the US). The ARIETTA 65 appears to be a lower-end sibling to the ARIETTA 850, adopting the same imaging processing tech as the year-old flagship system. The Japan announcement placed a specific focus on the new ARIETTA 65’s ergonomics and ease of use (rotating monitor, intuitive operation, application-specific workflows) and image quality (low acoustic noise, signal analysis) and these are expected to be key marketing points when it ships stateside.
Chinese Ultrasound Market Still Growing
A recent post from IHS Markit took a deep dive into the China ultrasound market, which is on pace to surpass the US as the world’s top ultrasound market in the next ten years, following impressive growth in 2017 (15.8%) and more than 10% growth almost every year since 2009. Looking at the next five years (2017-2022), China’s ultrasound market will see the greatest growth from less-developed regions (Central China ~33%, Southwest China ~35%) and among smaller healthcare providers (up between ~37% and ~50%) due in large part to shifts in government policy. That said, developed regions (~28%) and larger hospitals (~18%) are still due for pretty attractive growth and will remain the country’s top ultrasound revenue sources.
In-House MRIs Overused?
Researchers from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that more body MRI scans are taking place in hospitals, but the scans are often poor quality or provide limited value. The researchers studied the hospital’s 2006 to 2015 billing data, finding that inpatient body MRI exams increased significantly during the period (871 vs. 637… and not due to a change in case mix), many of the scans had questionable quality (40.4% “limited quality,” 2.3% “nondiagnostic), roughly a quarter did not yield findings (20.8% “no yield,” 5.1% “no yield but incidental findings”), and 30.2% of examinations could have been performed as outpatient examinations. There are surely some folks in the health insurance community who aren’t surprised by this finding.
Siemens Expands Mobile X-Ray Lineup
Siemens Healthineers announced the European launch of the Mobilett Elara Max mobile X-ray, updating the high-end of its mobile radiography lineup. The new system launches with an emphasis on its non-imaging feature set including its easy-to-clean surface, strong security capabilities, maneuverability and positioning advantages, and its technological consistency with other Siemens X-ray systems. It launches with quite a name, too. Siemens Healthineers USA has a much smaller mobile X-ray lineup than Europe (1 vs. 5 models) and its currently unclear if the new system will expand to the US.
- The US International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed to review its previous decision that Fujifilm’s Aspire Cristalle DBT system violated Hologic’s mammography patents, which could keep Fujifilm from importing the system to the US or even from selling the units that are already here. The ITC’s review will focus on its previous patent infringement findings, targeting a January 25, 2019 completion date (previously November 2018).
- After a difficult summer in the press (and likely internally), IBM Watson Health updated its leadership last week with now ex-GM Deborah DiSanzo moving to IBM Cognitive Solutions’ strategy team and John Kelly (formerly SVP of IBM Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research) taking her place atop IBM Watson Health. If Kelly’s name sounds familiar, it may be because he was the executive who took to IBM’s blog this summer to set the record straight about IBM Watson Health. Now he has a chance to straighten out IBM Watson Health in real life, too.
- Royal Philips unveiled what it’s calling the ‘ultimate ultrasound solution for breast assessment,’ combining imaging (Philips EPIQ or Affiniti ultrasound and PureWave eL18-4 transducer), elastography (Philips ElastQ Imaging solution), screening (AI Breast software), and precision biopsy. The new system appears to target mammogram follow-ups and patients with dense breasts, both of which are increasingly relevant for clinical and policy reasons, but the all-in-one solution is just as notable for its automation and efficiency advantages.
- QT Ultrasound announced the FDA clearance of its updated QTviewer software, which stores breast ultrasounds captured with the company’s QT Ultrasound Breast Scanner for review on a radiologist workstation. The QTviewer launches with a number of new tools for radiologist review, primarily emphasizing its new Research Mode feature, which helps researchers measure tumor growth over time (to determine malignancy) and calculate/display quantitative breast density (typically only estimated with other tools/methods).
- NovaRad’s OpenSight Augmented Reality System gained FDA clearance last week. The Microsoft HoloLens-compatible solution can now be used for pre-operative surgical planning, rendering patient images (2D, 3D, 4D) interactively and overlaying them directly onto the patient’s body, so doctors can simultaneously see the patient and see into the patient.
- Speaking of AR, Harvard researchers found that augmented reality may help cardiologists visualize 3D cardiac scans during ablation procedures by using an AR headset to superimpose MRI scans or view medical data without relying on a screen. The researchers used an AR system (in this case Microsoft HoloLens) to generate 3D holographic myocardial scar tissue from animal models and test AR in simulated cardiovascular electrophysiological interventions, with follow-up physician surveys showing that they believe AR would improve their effectiveness and performance.
- Agfa announced a deal to provide its DR 800 Multi-Purpose Digital Imaging System to three Florida Hospital locations (Altimonte, New Smyrna, and Celebration). The announcement highlighted the flexibility and value that the three-in-one radiography system (fluoroscopy, general radiography, and direct exposures) provides.
- Researchers from Japan developed a machine learning algorithm than can characterize plaques on coronary CT angiography (CCTA) better than conventional analysis, potentially improving physicians’ ability to spot unstable plaques and predict future cardiac issues.
- Sectra signed a radiology and cardiology PACS deal with Indiana-based Deaconess Health System (7 hospitals, 30 additional care sites, 3 states), integrating with the system’s Epic EMR system (this is the second straight Sectra announcement to emphasize Epic integration). The deal also included Sectra’s 3D advanced visualization tools, PACS for mammography workflow, teaching file software, and universal image viewer.
- Brainlab introduced its ExacTrac Dynamic X-ray radiotherapy patient positioning and monitoring system, revealing plans for a 2019 launch following its FDA and CE clearance. ExacTrac Dynamic will replace Brainlab’s current ExacTrac X-Ray system, adding new high-speed surface tracking (in addition to thermal camera tracking) for enhanced positioning and movement sensing, plus other improvements to the user and patient experience.
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- 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.
- POCUS Systems is approved as a Veteran Owned Business with the US Government Office of Veterans Business Development, paving the way for partnerships with the federal healthcare delivery systems.
- How much does a CT 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 CT costs between $225 and $700.
- This OpenMarkets post details the potential impacts of the China Tariffs and steps to take to make sure healthcare providers are protected.
- 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.