#442 – The Wire

  • Xoran’s Mobile Flouro-CT: Xoran Technologies announced the FDA clearance of its unique TRON mobile fluoroscopy-CT scanner. Xoran has big goals for the new “truly mobile” hybrid scanner, suggesting that TRON’s combination of modalities (full-body CT & fluoro) and its light/compact open-bore form factor, could better support some traditional healthcare settings (ORs, surgery centers, critical care units) while potentially democratizing imaging access globally.
  • Bunker Shifts Make Shorter Lists: Radiology Associates of Northern Kentucky (RANK) detailed how adding “bunker shifts” reduced its worklists and minimized radiologist burnout. During these bunker shifts, a RANK radiologist clocks-in around 11am (usually weekdays) and works on complex cases without interruption (no calls, consultations, etc.) until they complete 40 wRVUs. Adopting bunker shifts significantly increased the percentage of days that RANK radiologists leave work on time (50% to 85%), while achieving a 100% employee approval rating and reducing overtime expenses. 
  • GE Brings Edison Accelerator to Canada: GE Healthcare expanded its Edison Accelerator program to Canada, teaming up with local digital health accelerator Nex Cube and six global imaging AI developers (16 Bit, Bot Image, CardioWise, contextflow, corelinesoft, Us2.ai) with the goals of supporting the AI startups’ integration into the Edison Platform and their path towards commercialization. This is GE’s fifth global Edison Accelerator (following US, EMEA, India, China), strengthening its AI portfolios and local startup relationships across these regions.
  • CEUS-GB for FFL: We now have the strongest evidence yet that contrast-enhanced ultrasound-guided focal liver lesion biopsy is more accurate than ultrasound-guided biopsy (CEUS-GB & US-GB). A China-based randomized, controlled, multi-center study had 2,056 participants undergo either CEUS-GB or US-GB, finding that CEUS-GB had higher overall diagnostic accuracy (96% vs. 93%) and a significantly higher negative predictive value (74% vs. 57%). CEUS-GB’s accuracy advantage was even greater with smaller <2cm lesions (96% vs. 88%) and for detecting hepatocellular carcinoma in <2cm lesions (93% vs. 80%).
  • Imaging’s Positive Q2: Most of the major OEMs’ healthcare/imaging divisions reported positive April-July performances. The period brought continued YoY revenue growth from Fujifilm’s medical systems business (+11.9% to $965M), GE Healthcare (+4% to $4.5B), and Siemens Healthineers’ imaging business (+2.5% to $2.68B), as well as rebounds from Konica Minolta’s healthcare division (+14% to $216M) and Canon Medical Systems (+5.8% to $893M). Meanwhile, Philips’ Diagnosis & Treatment division revenue fell for the second straight quarter (-4% to $2.2B) and Hologic’s breast imaging division declined significantly (-24.3% to $212.2M). More notably, division margins were solid for all vendors (6% to 18%) except Konica Minolta (0%).
  • Stiff Heart Imaging Breakthrough: For the first time, clinicians can measure the efficacy of chemotherapy in patients with light-chain cardiac amyloidosis (stiff heart syndrome), thanks to the amyloid-measuring technique CMR Extracellular Volume Mapping (ECV). Researchers demonstrated that chemotherapy frequently reduced amyloid production, and CMR-derived measurements at six months independently predicted death (hazard ratio 3.82).
  • Aquilion Serve’s Global Launch: Canon Medical announced the global launch of its new Aquilion Serve 80/160-slice CT scanner, leading with the 80cm-bore CT’s ease-of-operation, workflow efficiency, and image quality and consistency benefits. The Aquilion Serve inherits Canon’s prioritized AiCE AI-based image reconstruction technology, while also introducing the vendor’s new INSTINX workflow (reduces scan times & operator training) and the industry’s first 3D Landmark Scan (3D scan planning at dosage of 2D scanogram).
  • Predicting Breast Cancer Chemo Response: A team of Spain-based researchers developed a series of machine learning models that used mpMRI-based imaging features and clinical variables to predict complete pathologic response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (pCR & NAC) among women with stage II-III breast cancer. When used with 58 women (12 w/ pCR), the combined model improved prediction accuracy compared to clinical or imaging-only models (91.5% accuracy, no false positives, 17% false negatives), suggesting that a technique like this could help avoid unnecessary treatment and surgery delays.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act: What might end up being the biggest healthcare reform of the past decade recently passed the Senate with a 51-50 vote, sending the Inflation Reduction Act to the House for a final vote this Friday. The IRA would invest $64B to extend ACA subsidies through 2025, while also allowing Medicare to directly negotiate prices for the largest drugs (starting 2026) and placing a $2k cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Part D beneficiaries (starting in 2025). Most healthcare groups welcomed the reform with favorable reactions, with the exception of Pharma, which called the plan a “tragic loss for patients.”
  • Bot Image’s PCa FDA: AI startup Bot Image announced the FDA clearance of its ProstatID tool, which analyzes prostate MRIs to detect suspicious lesions, estimate cancer probability, and assign a PI-RADS score. Bot Image might not fit the profile of the next prostate cancer AI disruptor at first glance (based in Nebraska, 1 employee on LinkedIn, $1.4M in seed funding), although it’s actually a spinoff of established MRI coil developer ScanMed and included in the new GE Canada Edison Accelerator cohort covered above.
  • Resident Physician Unions: Two JAMA editorials shed light on the rise of resident physician unions amid the increasing corporatization and consolidation of healthcare. The first editorial advised residents to consider the advantages of collective bargaining but warned that unions are “not a panacea,” while the second editorial emphasized how the culture of medicine perpetuates burnout and exacerbates the labor shortage. 

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-- The Imaging Wire team