#446 – The Wire

  • GE & Enlitic Standardize: Enlitic will make its AI-based Curie platform available within GE Healthcare’s PACS workflows, allowing GE users to reduce non-diagnostic disruptions caused by broken hanging protocols. As its name suggests, Enlitic’s Curie Standardize application standardizes DICOM descriptions before PACS transmission, ensuring correct/consistent image labels and hanging protocols. The alliance is notable for both companies, connecting Enlitic with another major PACS partner (joining Sectra), while giving GE a solution that directly contributes to its radiology efficiency strategy.
  • DCE for Prostate Cancer Detection: While dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI is required in PI-RADS 2.0, a new Radiology study found that DCE might not be valuable for risk stratification or belong in future PI-RADS versions. Analysis of 260 men with 432 lesions (152 clinically significant) showed that DCE values did not help radiologists stratify PI-RADS 3 lesions. However, apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values did improve PI-RADS score upgrading / downgrading, finding that PI-RADS 3 and 4 lesions should be upgraded if they have ADC values of ≤0.90×10−3 mm2/sec.
  • Arterys Adds Whiterabbit.ai: Arterys further expanded its Breast AI suite, adding Whiterabbit.ai’s ACT mammography screening compliance software to its broad iCAD-based Breast AI portfolio. Through the distribution agreement, Arterys’ customers will be able to integrate Whiterabbit.ai ACT into their compliance screening programs, using ACT to provide patients with screening recommendations and notifications, while evenly distributing clinics’ screening appointments throughout the year. 
  • Detecting AFib with CTA: A new study in European Radiology suggests that carotid CTA-based bolus-tracking data could be used to detect atrial fibrillation. Using data from 716 patients who underwent carotid CTA and a 24-h Holter test (80 w/ Afib), the researcher found that Afib patients had significantly longer total bolus-tracking times (TTT; 23.8 vs. 18.7 seconds) and significantly lower bolus-tracking graph average slopes (AS; 0.8 vs. 1.38). TTT was also associated with a significantly higher risk of Afib and left atrial pressure (odds ratios: 1.36 & 1.46).
  • Fixed XR & Fluoro’s 2021 Rebound: Signify Research reported strong 2021 rebounds in the global fixed digital radiography (+15% to $1.2B) and fluoroscopy markets (+18% to $509M), following sharp COVID-related declines in 2020 (-14% & -19%). Signify expects demand for fixed X-ray systems to continue to recover as postponed projects restart, while fluoroscopy growth slows after 2022 as traditionally fluoro-based procedures shift to other modalities.
  • ACR Speaks Out on PCP QPAs: The ACR voiced its opposition to insurers’ use of primary care providers’ contracted rates when calculating qualified payment amounts (QPA) for specialty out-of-network care (e.g. radiology or anesthesiology), suggesting it might violate the No Surprises Act. An ACR co-commissioned study found that PCP contracts include services that primary care practice employees “rarely” or “never” provide (n=75; 68% & 57%), potentially leading to QPA calculations that do not reflect real-world rates.
  • AIRS’ Series B: South Korean AI startup AIRS Medical secured $20M in Series B funding (total funding now $23.9M) that it will use to expand its SwiftMR deep learning MRI reconstruction solution globally. SwiftMR has regulatory approval in the US and South Korea, and is already being used in 30k MRI exams per month in South Korea.
  • CTPA Texture PE Assessments: A new Angiology study found that CTPA texture analysis (analyzes thrombus textures and identifies biomarkers) could help clinicians assess patients with acute pulmonary embolism. The 216-patient study revealed an association between certain texture features and mortality (p < 0.001) and other textures with patients’ sepsis-related organ failure score (p < 0.001). The authors also noted significant texture differences among PE survivors and nonsurvivors as well as patients who needed ICU care and those who didn’t (p = 0.02 & 0.02).
  • GE & Boston Scientific’s India Collab: Boston Scientific and Wipro GE Healthcare (GE’s India-based joint venture) launched an interventional cardiology partnership in India. The new partnership combines Boston Scientific’s interventional cardiology portfolio with GE’s cardiac and interventional imaging systems, and will involve joint training and education efforts. It appears that this is part of a global initiative, as the companies recently launched a similar partnership in Southeast Asia. 
  • Curbing Brain CT Volumes: A new study in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology showed that imaging utilization policy interventions can indeed help slow volume growth. The researchers found that Medicare-covered brain CT volumes maintained a 3.2% CAGR between 1994 and 2018 (8,728 to 19,287 per 100k), while Medicare denial rates for brain CTs fell by 54.5% between 1999 and 2005 (12.3% to 5.6%). However, brain CT volume growth and brain CT denial rates both stabilized after 2005 following “multiple policy interventions aimed at decreasing Medicare medical imaging cost and volume.”
  • EchoNous & Samsung Tablets Connect: A new alliance between Samsung and EchoNous allows clinicians to use the Kosmos handheld ultrasound system with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active Pro tablets, rather than being bound to EchoNous’ Kosmos Bridge display. The new compatibility will lower the Kosmos platform’s overall cost, which is already “tens of thousands of dollars less” than cart-based competitors.

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-- The Imaging Wire team