#443 – The Wire

  • Qure.ai’s Opportunistic AI Study: A new Qure.ai study highlighted AI’s potential to detect serious incidental findings. The AI startup used its qCT solution to analyze 2,502 chest CTs that were originally performed for COVID assessments, flagging 653 exams for potential lung nodules including 593 cases that didn’t mention nodules in their initial radiology report. Follow-up radiologist reviews identified 115 confirmed nodules that were initially overlooked, including 19 that were potentially malignant and 2 that were likely malignant.
  • MPFS’ Rad Practice Impact: Healthcare Administrative Partners published a complete breakdown of how the 2023 MPFS proposed rule changes will impact radiology. Big picture, HAP expects radiology practices’ professional component and global services reimbursements to fall by 7% and 5%, respectively, due to a combination of cuts to the Conversion Factor (-4.4%) and RVUs (-4% & -8% depending on case mix), and changes to Geographic Practice Cost Index (from -12.4% to +7.8% depending on location). HAP provides far more details, so check this report out to understand how these changes might impact your practice.
  • ClearPoint Maestro Cleared: ClearPoint Neuro (formerly known as MRI Interventions) announced the FDA clearance of its ClearPoint Maestro Brain Model solution, which is intended to automate the process of identifying, labeling, and quantifying the volume and shape of brain structures visible in MRI images. Now that Maestro Brain Model is cleared as a standalone solution, ClearPoint Neuro will begin its efforts to integrate it into its core ClearPoint Navigation platform for neurological procedures and therapy delivery.
  • RAPID Aneurysm Accuracy: A study in Stroke Journal highlighted RapidAI’s RAPID Aneurysm solution’s extremely high accuracy detecting cerebral aneurysms in CTA studies. The researchers applied RAPID Aneurysm to CTAs from 51 patients (w/ 60 aneurysms), achieving 95% sensitivity, 100% specificity, a 100% PPV and 99.7% NPV, 99.7% accuracy.
  • SRC Joins SR: Southern Radiology Consultants (SRC) became the latest independent radiology practice to join Strategic Radiology, increasing SR’s consortium to 33 practices and over 1,500 radiologists, while bringing it into the state of Louisiana for the first time. Established in 1951, SCR has become a Baton Rouge local leader, supporting eight of the area’s largest hospitals with its team of 22 subspecialized radiologists.
  • UCCs for Low-Acuity C-Spines: A new MGH study suggests that sending patients with low-acuity cervical spine trauma to urgent care centers instead of hospital emergency departments (UCCs & EDs), significantly reduces healthcare costs and rarely leads to follow-up ED visits. Out of 143 patients who received c-spine X-rays at UCCs during a four-month period, only three required referrals to the ED, leading to $3.7k in imaging wRVU savings (versus CTs in the ED) and $146k in overall healthcare savings.
  • The Hot Rad Job Market: The radiologist supply/demand imbalance might have hit a new peak this month. In addition to the usual radiologist recruitment posts on LinkedIn, a revealing new Twitter thread confirmed that “everyone” is looking for new rads, vRad just commissioned a recruitment-focused advertorial on radiologybusiness.com, and the ACR job board has its most rad jobs ever. I even received a recruitment postcard from UVA Health, and I’m definitely not a radiologist. It looks like this imbalance will persist, making processes and solutions that improve efficiency or reduce unnecessary imaging even more important.
  • Reducing ED CTs: Speaking of reducing unnecessary imaging, a systematic review of 149 studies found that multidisciplinary-led efforts that provide an alternative to CT were most effective at reducing emergency department CT volumes, without compromising patient safety. The review also found that interventions that introduced diagnostic pathways, alternative tests, specialist involvement, and provider feedback also effectively reduced ED CT imaging, while interventions focused on patient/family education, clinical decision support tools, or passively distributing guidelines weren’t effective.
  • Mindray’s TE X POCUS: Mindray unveiled its new TE X point of care ultrasound system, highlighted by its unique inclusion of a wireless transducer (can be used w/ TE X system or mobile device), its suite of AI-powered Smart Tools (ventricle strain analysis, echo capture, nerve bundle guidance, LV / EF automation), and its rotating 23.8-inch touchscreen display. The innovative new system appears to be positioned at the top of Mindray’s POCUS lineup, and similarly targets emergency medicine and critical care.
  • CTs Before LAAO: New research from Henry Ford Hospital found that using CT scans to plan left atrial appendage occlusion procedures is superior to relying solely on transesophageal echocardiogram imaging guidance. The researchers reviewed 485 Watchman implantation procedures and found that clinicians who used CTs for additional preprocedural planning had a higher implantation success rate (98.5% vs. 94.9%), operated for a shorter amount of time (median of 45.5 mins vs. 51 mins), and were less likely to change Watchman device sizes (5.6% versus 12.1%). 
  • Breakthrough Devices: FDA breakthrough device designations looked poised for another record year, with 129 devices earning the designation through the midpoint of 2022. Devices are eligible for the designation if they have the potential to be “more effective” treatments to life-threatening conditions, and this year’s current velocity puts BDDs on pace to surpass last year’s record of 206 designations as more companies seek an expedited review pathway for full clearance (plus a healthy dose of perceived superiority).

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-- The Imaging Wire team