#412 – The Wire

  • NPs Get NY FPA: New York became the 25th state to grant nurse practitioners Full Practice Authority, allowing them to perform the full scope of services that they are trained to provide, including ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests (potentially imaging). Like previous FPA rulings, NY politicians and nursing organizations highlighted how this change improves access to care, while physicians and their lobbies warned of patient safety risks and continued scope creep. FPA laws haven’t had a major impact on diagnostic radiology yet, but rads definitely don’t seem comfortable with this trend.
  • Transpara’s Workload and False Positive Impact: A new study out of Denmark highlighted ScreenPoint Transpara’s potential to significantly reduce mammography screening workloads and avoid false positives. The researchers analyzed 114k exams using Transpara, finding that the AI system would have rivaled radiologists’ sensitivity and specificity (69.7% vs. 70.8%; 98.6% vs. 98.1%). Using Transpara’s risk scoring system to exclude normal exams from radiologist reading (<5 on 1-10 scale) would have reduced radiologist workloads by 62% and avoided 25% of false positive screenings. This study is one reason that Copenhagen adopted Transpara for its screening program.
  • Lunit IPO Approved: Lunit’s IPO was officially approved by South Korea’s KOSDAQ exchange, paving the way for new R&D investments and its global expansion. Lunit’s forthcoming IPO follows several years of impressive VC fundraising (>$133M), achieving its first FDA approvals (CXR & mammography), and forming a notable list of global partnerships (GE, Philips, Fujifilm, INFINITT).
  • Internist POCUS Assessments: A new Ultrasound Journal study provided rare insights into point-of-care ultrasound assessment quality when performed by internists, rather than sonographers or radiologists. Analysis of 169 POCUS exams performed by internists at a Netherlands medical center found that reporting completeness was “high, but not optimal,” with the clinical indication/question stated in 75.7% of cases, labels on 83.5% of saved images, and written conclusions in 90.8% of exams. The study revealed notable challenges with capturing all standard views for certain indications, particularly with heart, lung, and kidney exams (26.9%, 17.9%, 7.7% complete).
  • Health System Challenges: A recent Advis survey of 75 health system executives revealed that staffing shortages and rising costs remain their greatest challenges. Over 90% of the executives said they’ve increased compensation to help recruit staff, while 81% reported that they are filling labor gaps with outside agencies. The need for more relief funds was apparent in the results, with 70% of the execs continuing to seek federal assistance to help offset their heightened expenses.
  • Siemens Expands Brain MR AI: Siemens Healthineers expanded its homegrown AI portfolio, achieving FDA clearance for its AI-Rad Companion Brain MR (VA40A) solution, which supports segmentation and quantification of white matter hyperintensities in the brain. The clearance adds to AI-Rad Companion Brain MR’s capabilities, joining previously-cleared capabilities for Morphometry Analysis.
  • Hyperfine’s AIS Validation: A new study out of Yale found that Hyperfine’s portable low-field Swoop MRI produces clinically useful bedside stroke imaging, “setting the stage for use in resource-limited environments.” The researchers used the Swoop MRI to examine 50 patients with confirmed ischemic stroke, detecting infarcts in 45 of the patients (90%), and producing stroke volume measurements that were consistent with conventional high-field MRI. The five patients without infarcs in their Swoop exams had small foci of restricted diffusion (4 to 10 mm) that were captured only by high-field MRI DWI sequences.
  • Canon’s MR and US Rollout: Canon Medical’s two biggest modality debuts from RSNA 2021 are now available stateside, after the OEM officially released the Vantage Fortian 1.5T open bore MRI and the Aplio i-series / Prism Edition premium ultrasounds in the US. The Vantage Fortian launches with a range of productivity enhancements (patient monitoring /positioning tools, liver/prostate planning tools, and whole spine imaging) and supports Canon’s AiCE DLIR technology. The Aplio i-series / Prism Edition systems feature a new interface and ergonomics, higher processing power, new image enhancement applications (microvascular, ultra-wide view), and new AI-based workflow automations.
  • 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT for PCa Bone Metastases: A new AJR study showed that 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT is far superior to 99mTc-MDP BS for detecting prostate cancer bone metastases. In the meta-analysis of 6 studies (n = 546 patients, 47 w/ bone metastases), 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT had far higher sensitivity and specificity than 99mTc-MDP (98% vs. 83%; 97% vs. 68%), and detected bone metastases in 23% of patients who had negative 99mTc-MDP results. Meanwhile, 99mTc-MDP detected bone metastases in just 1.9% of patients with negative 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT results.
  • Vuno & Mayo’s Precision Partnership: South Korean AI company Vuno is partnering with Mayo Clinic to jointly develop and evaluate AI-based cancer biomarkers, leveraging Vuno’s AI tech and Mayo Clinic’s team and data (radiology, histopathology, and genomic data). Vuno and Mayo Clinic will initially focus on AI approaches to locate primary cancers, predict cancer recurrence, and predict treatment response.
  • Siemens’ ICH AI Scores: A Siemens Healthineers-led study detailed an AI model that accurately detected, located, and subtyped intracranial hemorrhage in non-contrast head CTs, while providing confidence scores to support prioritization. The researchers trained the DL model with 26k CTs (+ 400 for external calibration), and tested against a 2,947-CT internal set and 16,764 external CTs, finding that it detected ICH with 0.97 and 0.95 respective AUCs. The model’s two confidence scores (CC & DC, both 0-1 scale), were 0.93/0.92 with the internal data and 0.88/0.89 with the external set, which would have improved reporting turnaround times by 25% to 27%.

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-- The Imaging Wire team