#411 – The Wire

  • Longitudinal AI: A new Radiology Journal paper by a Harvard and Yale-based team encouraged developers to create imaging AI tools that incorporate prior images and support the many cases that require longitudinal analysis. The authors admitted that longitudinal AI poses both data curation and model development challenges, but assured that these models will be crucial for expanding the range of tasks imaging AI can achieve.
  • United Imaging IPO: United Imaging Healthcare has reportedly filed for IPO on Shanghai’s STAR Market exchange, and will use the roughly $1.96B in new capital to advance its R&D, manufacturing, and marketing operations. United Imaging leveraged its three previous funding rounds to build an impressive technology portfolio and establish its global presence, setting the stage for what might be an even more ambitious post-IPO effort.
  • Making Friends with Remote MRI: A recent Radiography Journal study suggests that remote MRI operation solutions will have to prove their “usefulness” in order to gain radiographer / technologist acceptance, which is understandable given the changes they could bring to staffing and workflows. A survey of a UK-based MRI team that piloted a remote MRI solution showed that members viewed the solutions as easy-to-use and a “friend” to MRI radiographers (rather than “foe”). However, they gave it a low “usefulness” score, which had the greatest influence on their future intent to use the solution. 
  • Information Blocking Loophole: The ONC’s annual meeting drew headlines when HHS secretary Xavier Becerra committed to closing a policy loophole that prevents providers from facing federal penalties for information blocking. The current regulation imposes predefined consequences for health IT vendors that knowingly block patients’ access to their own data, but allows the Secretary to define penalties for providers. Although Becerra didn’t give a timeline for addressing the issue, he said that closing the enforcement gap is now a top HHS priority.
  • Non-Binary Radiology: A recent EJR study suggests that most radiology technology vendors now allow clinicians to enter a third gender option into the patient medical record, beyond male or female. Of the eleven vendors who participated in the survey (6 hardware & 5 software), ten currently allow a third gender option. Although eight other vendors did not respond to survey requests and might not support a third gender option, the authors viewed these results positively. They also encouraged adding the ability to enter both biological sex and gender.
  • KA is Going Mobile: KA Imaging announced plans to accelerate the development of its first mobile X-ray system, which will leverage KA’s unique dual-energy spectral detector, and will evolve the Canadian startup beyond its current role as a detector supplier. The accelerated development effort comes with the help from nearly $1M in Ontario government funding for manufacturing the mobile X-ray systems within the province. 
  • Neuro MRI Resident Discrepancies: A new study out of France showed that on-call radiology residents’ preliminary interpretations of emergency brain and spine MRI exams are usually consistent with attending neuroradiologists’ final reports. Analysis of 328 MRI examinations found discrepancies in 16% of the exams, including 5.5% with “major discrepancies,” but no errors associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Discrepancies were far more common among second-year residents than senior residents (p= 0.02), while nearly all major errors involved cerebrovascular pathology.
  • Surprise Billing Portal: The Federal Surprise Billing dispute resolution process reached a key milestone last week, after CMS officially launched the Independent Dispute Resolution portal that payers and providers would use to resolve out-of-network charge disputes. The portal was due to launch in February, but was delayed after a U.S. District Court in Texas ruled that the arbitration process violated the Administrative Procedure Act. As a result, the portal launches two months later and with new arbiter guidelines.
  • O-RADS Effectiveness: A Radiology Journal study showed that the Ovarian-Adnexal Reporting and Data System (O-RADS) ultrasound risk system accurately distinguishes benign from malignant ovarian and adnexal lesions. Two blinded readers assigned O-RADS and ADNEX scores to ultrasound exams from 227 women (w/ 262 lesions), finding that patients with O-RADS 1 and 2 scores consistently had benign lesions (0% & 3% malignant) and O-RADS 5 patients often had malignant lesions (78% malignant). O-RADS closely matched ADNEX for detecting malignant lesions (0.91 & 0.95), and O-RADS was further improved when using acoustic shadowing as a benign finding (0.94 AUC).
  • DaVita Acquitted: A federal jury unanimously acquitted dialysis giant DaVita and its CEO for all federal charges related to allegations that it conspired with three other healthcare companies (including Radiology Partners) to not hire DaVita’s employees. The ruling seemed to completely change the media narrative around the case, with storylines now focusing on the DOJ’s questionable focus on prosecuting labor antitrust cases (and away from alleged backroom anti-poaching deals).
  • Telestroke’s Efficiency Advantage: In addition to improving patient outcomes, telestroke programs might improve interhospital efficiency by avoiding unnecessary patient transfers. That’s from a new study in Neurology that analyzed data from 21 VA hospitals and 3,488 acute ischemic stroke encounters (2,432 after telestroke implementation), and found that transfers declined by 14.4% after the program’s launch. When adjusting for patient and facility characteristics, the odds of patient transfer fell by nearly 60% after telestroke implementation (odds ratio: 0.39).

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-- The Imaging Wire team