#439 – The Wire

  • Amyloid Fraud: Science Magazine revealed that the dominant Alzheimer’s disease theory (beta-amyloid buildup) is based on fraudulent research, calling into question the many years of highly-funded AD studies that used this theory as their starting point. Although no one is disputing whether beta-amyloid buildup is present in AD patient brains, beta-amyloid’s potential as a therapeutic target is now less certain. That means amyloid PET imaging’s utility is also less certain.
  • Viz.ai’s SDH Clearance: Viz.ai announced the FDA clearance of its Viz Subdural Hematoma (SDH) algorithm, which automatically detects both acute and chronic subdural hemorrhages. The Viz SDH clearance continues Viz.ai’s care coordination platform expansion, which began with a focus on stroke detection / coordination, and has since expanded to PE, aortic disease, cerebral aneurysms, and now SDH.
  • Limited Echo AI: A recent Frontiers study highlighted the diagnostic potential of Ultromics’ EchoGo Core AI solution when used with limited echocardiograms (shorter acquisition protocol echo exams). The authors compared AI assessments of 558 limited echocardiograms from patients hospitalized w/ COVID against the patients’ clinical findings, echocardiographic findings, and outcomes. The echo AI solution was feasible for left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and LV longitudinal in 87.5% of the exams, while AI and clinical values were largely consistent for LVEF, LS, end-diastolic volume, and end-systolic volume (ICCs: 0.72, 0.74, 0.87, 0.91).
  • Patient Data Privacy: An AMA survey of 1k adult patients found that 92% think corporations shouldn’t be able to purchase their health data, although most feel comfortable sharing data with their physician and health system (75% & 64%). The vast majority of patients also want health app developers to disclose how their products handle patient data (93%) and want their providers to review app security before granting it access to their data (88%), while most also want to be able to opt-out of having their health data shared (80%).
  • Caption & HeartBeat’s Virtual Pathway: Ultrasound AI startup Caption Health unveiled a new partnership with virtual cardiology company HeartBeat Health, enabling early disease identification and management for patients from the comfort of their homes. This is an expansion of its Caption Care program, which began when Caption partnered with Portamedic to allow Portamedic technicians to perform AI-guided echo exams in patient homes. With the addition of HeartBeat’s remote cardiologists, it appears that Caption has established a complete virtual echo pathway.
  • DR’s Declining Medicare Reimbursements: The most aptly named journal in the industry, Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology, published a meta-analysis of 50 studies that found a 44% average decline in Medicare reimbursements for diagnostic radiology between 2011 and 2021. MRI (-60.6%), CT (-44.4%), ultrasound (-31.3%), and X-ray exams (-6.2%) all experienced significant declines, while average wRVUs declined from 0.79 to 0.78 (-1.3%).
  • Signify’s ECR Impressions: Signify Research published an insightful ECR overview, revealing that the show is still working its way towards pre-COVID attendance levels (~10k non-exhibitor attendees) and highlighting the biggest imaging industry takeaways. Here’s some of those ECR takeaways for modalities (focus on: non-hospital imaging systems, advanced imaging modalities, ergonomics & ease of use, and upgradable platforms) and AI (focus on: non-diagnostic AI, new clinical niches, end-to-end clinical care, multi-pathology AI tools).
  • Childcare Stress Drives Burnout: Childcare stress (CCS) has devastated medical staff throughout the pandemic, according to a JAMA survey of 58k US healthcare employees. Researchers found those with high CCS were 80% more likely to feel burnt out, 115% more likely to have anxiety or depression, 91% more likely to intend to reduce work hours, and 28% more likely to plan to quit their job. The study didn’t mention radiology, but alleviating CCS might be more straightforward than removing many stressors that exist within radiology workflows.
  • Siemens ARTIS icono ceiling Cleared: Siemens Healthineers announced the FDA clearance of its ARTIS icono ceiling Angiography System, joining its ARTIS icono biplane and floor systems. The new ARTIS icono ceiling is intended for interventional cardiovascular and radiology procedures, and is highlighted by its “superfast” second cone beam CT acquisitions (reduces motion artifacts & contrast dose), OPTIQ image chain processing technology (increases image quality, allows lower dosage) and Case Flows workflows (reduces user interaction, setup times).
  • Failed Medicaid Follow-Ups: UCSF researchers found that patients with Medicaid coverage are far less likely to complete their recommended imaging follow-ups. Analysis of 350 radiology reports with follow-up recommendations revealed that Medicaid patients were more than four-times less likely to complete imaging follow-ups than patients with commercial coverage (ORs: 0.24), while no other patient-level factors contributed to the difference in follow-ups (e.g. age, gender, type of scan).
  • Bracco’s Contrast Grant: In an effort to alleviate the ongoing iodinated contrast shortage, the FDA will temporarily allow Bracco to import its Iomeron (iomeprol injection) contrast agent, which is currently registered in over 50 countries, but not approved in the United States. Although the contrast undersupply persists, Bracco joins Bayer (also temporary) and Fresenius Kabi (launched generic Iodixanol agents) as recent additions to the US iodinated contrast supply chain.

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-- The Imaging Wire team