#390 – The Wire

  • X-Ray Response Team: A new Radiography study highlighted the Northumbria NHS Trust’s X-ray Response Team (a paramedic, radiographer, emergency clinician, and 7lb Fujifilm X-ray system), created to reduce unnecessary hospital visits by performing X-rays at patient homes. Over a 7-month proof-of-concept period, the XRT performed 54 calls (84% at patient homes, 80yr average age), reducing hospital visits by 50% and receiving 100% positive patient feedback. This study is particularly notable given the care-at-home momentum we’re seeing in both the US and UK.
  • Brainomix & Boehringer: Brainomix expanded its partnership with pharma giant Boehringer Ingelheim (its primary investor), revealing plans to combine Brainomix’s AI radiomics tech and Boehringer’s clinical trial expertise to develop solid tumor measurement solutions for clinical trials. The partnership represents a key step towards Brainomix’s recently announced strategy to expand to new areas of the body and into drug discovery AI. 
  • Low Risk, Same Cadence: A new study out of Australia argued against extending breast cancer screening intervals for women with no known risk factors, countering growing interest in risk-stratified screening. The 10-year study (1M screenings, 323k women, 55% w/ no risk) found that women with no risk factors had lower interval cancer rates (ICR 7.9 vs 12.2 per 10k years) and cancer detection rates (50 vs. 83 per 10k screens) than women with at least one risk factor. However, women with no risk factors still represented 40.9% of screen-detected breast cancers.
  • Volume Over Value: A study of 31 physician organizations affiliated with US health systems found that volume was a component of compensation for 83.9% of primary care physicians and 93.3% of specialists, representing 68% of total compensation. While 83.9% of primary care and 56.7% of specialist compensation arrangements included value-based components, VBC contributed less than 10% of total compensation.
  • Patients’ Quality Preference: A new JACR study suggests that most potential patients (n = 1,025 online respondents) wouldn’t sacrifice imaging exam quality for lower out-of-pocket costs (OOPC), unless they believe that their case is mild. In a hypothetical severe back pain MRI scenario, the majority of respondents preferred to pay higher OOPCs ($400 vs. $50) to go imaging centers that produced more accurate results (65.8%), were recommended by their provider (63.9%), or had a higher star rating (80.1%, 4.5 vs. 2.5 stars). However, there was no statistical difference in respondents’ quality / cost preference for mild back pain.
  • $190B in Health Tech Losses: Healthcare strategist Air Gottlieb recently outlined how publicly traded health tech startups have had their market caps shrink by a combined $190B since their 2021 peaks, a decline of over 73%. Gottlieb predicts that these companies’ declines could cause many healthcare startups to reevaluate their IPO timing until market conditions improve. The reduced valuations also make it likely that we’ll start to see more consolidation as larger healthcare businesses look to take advantage of low stock prices.
  • Koning’s Crowdfunding: Breast CT startup Koning Health completed a $2.6M crowdfunding campaign (total funding now $16M) that it will use to support its ongoing FDA breast screening trial and develop new clinical applications.
  • 3D Representations: A new study out of Switzerland shared new reasons to be optimistic about representing imaging exams in 3D-native formats. The researchers had 20 physicians from various specialties (cardiology, oral surgery, orthopedic surgery, and radiology) assess three 3D-represented CT exams (3D printed, VR glasses, and 3D display). Although 3D displays arguably came out on top (44% said it would change treatment plans, 8.2 / 10 avg. score), the physicians also positively assessed VR glasses (33% & 8.25) and 3D printing (33% & 7.2). Feedback was particularly strong among physicians with less than 10 years of experience.
  • Medicine’s Great Resignation: A recent AMA survey of 20k healthcare workers found that 1 in 5 doctors are planning to leave the profession within the next two years, while nearly 1 in 3 intend to reduce their work hours. Burnout, fear of COVID-19 exposure, and workload were predictors of intent to leave, although workers that felt valued by their organization were less likely to report an upcoming career change.
  • President’s Cancer Panel: The US President’s Cancer Panel recently detailed the country’s cancer screening challenges (low participation, COVID declines, inequality, late diagnoses) and presented four goals to improve screening. The panel proposed: (1) Improving cancer screening communications, (2) Supporting equitable screening access, (3) Allowing more healthcare team members to drive screening participation and perform risk assessments, (4) Creating health IT that promotes risk assessments and screening.
  • DLIR Improves Prostate DW-MRI: A Japanese team shared the first research showing that deep learning image reconstruction improves diffusion-weighted image quality for prostate exams. The researchers reconstructed prostate DW-MRI (3T) exams from 60 patients with biopsy-proven cancer, with and without DLIR. Using DWI at 1000 sec/mm2 as an example, they found that the DLIR exams had a higher average signal-to-noise ratio (38.7 vs. 17.8), contrast-to-noise ratio (18.4 vs. 7.4), and qualitative image quality score (4.8 vs. 4.0).

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-- The Imaging Wire team