#434 – The Wire

  • Philips’ MR SmartSpeed FDA: Philips announced the FDA clearance of its SmartSpeed MR image reconstruction software, which reconstructs full images from under-sampled MR data to significantly improve image resolution or scan speed times (+65% & +3x). The AI-based addition to Philips’ Compressed SENSE engine also boasts compatibility with 97% of clinical MR protocols. 
  • Multi-Modal COVID AI: A team of global researchers developed a chest X-ray and EHR-based ML model that accurately predicts COVID patients’ 30-day mortality risks. The EHR/CXR fusion model was trained using data from 2,547 patients at a Madrid hospital, and then tested against data from hospitals in South Korea and New Jersey (n = 336 & 242), achieving higher AUCs than EHR and CXR-only models (NJ: 0.76 vs. 0.74 & 0.72; S. Korea: 0.95 vs. 0.92 & 0.90). Noting COVID AI’s bad reputation, the authors did a great job detailing their training process.
  • Canon Acquires NXC Imaging: Canon Medical Systems USA expanded its presence across the upper Midwest with its acquisition of Minnesota-based distributor, NXC Imaging. Canon and NXC Imaging were already very close, following 33 years of partnership that has become nearly exclusive (NXC also carried Ziehm C-arms). That said, the acquisition still improves Canon Medical’s direct presence in the region and supports its strategy to “continue building its substantial sales and service organization.”
  • VSI Ultrasound’s Accessibility Advantage: A study published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine found that the volume sweep imaging (VSI) ultrasound protocol might improve access to care by enabling inexperienced operators to provide diagnostic-quality images of palpable breast lesions. The study had medical students use VSI on 160 patients after less than two hours of training, producing video clips that allowed radiologists to diagnose breast lesions with 97% sensitivity and 100% specificity, corresponding to 97.6% agreement with standard of care.
  • Aidoc & Isala’s AI Alliance: Aidoc announced a new partnership with Isala Hospital, one of the Netherlands’ largest non-academic medical facilities, revealing plans to integrate three AI triage and notification modules (ICH, PE, c-spine fracture). Isala highlighted Aidoc’s willingness to demonstrate performance and constantly improve its algorithms as one of its reasons for entering the partnership.
  • Tumor Doubling Time: A Stanford study showed that tumor volume doubling time (TVDT), measured by comparing tumors in previous and current DBT mammograms, could be used to distinguish between benign and malignant tumors. The researchers analyzed DBTs from 28 patients with invasive ductal or lobular carcinoma and 40 patients with benign lesions, finding that TVDT was significantly shorter for malignant breast cancers (<1yr doubling time = 6.33 OR of invasive cancer). The authors conclude that TVDT assessments could help reduce unnecessary imaging and biopsies for lesions with longer doubling times.
  • ImaCor & Clarius’ TEE Solution: Hemodynamic ultrasound startup ImaCor and handheld ultrasound company Clarius launched a partnership that will make ImaCor’s FDA-cleared transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) system available in a handheld format. Previously only available with cart-based ultrasounds, ImaCor’s Zura Handheld Hemodynamic Ultrasound and ClariTEE transesophageal echo probe now operate with the Clarius Ultrasound App, allowing handheld operation and mobile device viewing. 
  • QUSTom Initiative: European researchers launched a new R&D initiative called QUSTom (Quantitative Ultrasound Stochastic Tomography) that uses ultrasound and supercomputing to create an alternative to current imaging techniques such as mammograms for breast cancer detection. The project received €2.7M in funding from the European Innovation Council and researchers suggest that QUSTom will offer superior image quality and better monitoring of tumors, while eliminating radiation risks.
  • Nuance’s AI Visualize Case Dismissed: A US District Judge dismissed AI Visualize’s patent infringement lawsuit against Nuance and Mach7, alleging that Mach7’s eUnity diagnostic viewer and Nuance’s PowerShare platform (which integrates with eUnity) infringed on AI Visualize’s patents related to “fast access to advanced visualization of medical scans using a dedicated web portal.” Nuance’s lawyers successfully argued that AI Visualize’s patents were based on an “abstract idea” that can’t be enforced under patent law.
  • Testing Incidental PE AI: A new AJR study showed that AI tools could be used to catch more incidental pulmonary embolism (iPE) cases by screening chest CTs performed for other reasons (not using CTPAs). The researchers used Aidoc’s iPE detection tool to review 3,003 contrast-enhanced chest CTs from 2,555 patients, finding that it detected iPEs with lower specificity and PPV than the radiology reports (92.7% vs. 99.8%; 86.8% vs. 97.3%), but achieved statistically similar sensitivity and NPV (82.5% vs. 90.0%; 99.8% vs 99.9%). Out of 40 iPEs, Aidoc caught four that radiologists missed and seven were only detected by radiologists.
  • Hospital Margins Update: Kauffman Hall’s latest National Hospital Flash Report shows that rising supply and labor costs contributed to the fifth consecutive month of negative hospital margins, which averaged -0.33% in May. Although gross operating revenues rose by 3% with a 4.8% month-over-month rise in patient days, the increase was not enough to offset the rising costs that are expected to keep margins below pre-pandemic levels for the rest of the year.

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-- The Imaging Wire team