#452 – The Wire

  • Down on MOCs: An ACR survey highlighted radiologists’ largely negative view of the ABR’s Maintenance of Certification program (n = 1,994). Although radiologists’ overall perception of the program seemed balanced (35% fair/poor, 27% neutral, 36% very good/excellent), only 16% believed it was “worth the money” and 23% felt it “improves patient care.” In fact, deeper analysis found that the program was “acceptable” to just 1.7% of respondents. Although there have been many ABR MOC critiques in recent years, the fact that this study was produced by the ACR’s Certification Task Force suggests that it might have a greater impact.
  • Chiasm Emerges: Previously unknown radiology startup Chiasm unveiled its cloud-based appointment scheduling and image/results sharing platform, which is currently in use by beta partners in New York and California. Chiasm might not fit the profile of a radiology startup that will “change the healthcare landscape” (three employees with no imaging history, one is 17 years old), it is part of an interesting wave of early-stage startups focused on imaging scheduling and/or sharing. Since May we’ve seen company introduction or early-stage funding announcements from Aurabox (sharing), Agora Care (sharing), Scan.com (scheduling & viewing), and xWave (referrals).
  • Predicting Pancreatic Metastasis: A China-based research team developed a CT AI model that accurately predicted lymph node (LN) metastasis among patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The algorithm was trained and validated using CTs from 734 patients (340 w/ LN metastasis), and detected LN metastasis more accurately than radiologists, a clinical model, and a radiomics model (AUCs: 0.92 vs. 0.65 & 0.77 & 0.68). The patients with AI-predicted LN metastasis also had higher risk of mortality (hazard ratio: 1.46).
  • Imaging Attacks: The last week brought a surge of imaging provider cyberattack announcements, revealing breaches at Alabama-based Henderson & Walton Women’s Center (HWWC), Arizona’s Radiology Ltd., and Texas-based Gateway Diagnostic Imaging. HWWC is unsure of when their breach occurred, which potentially exposed data from 34k patients. Radiology Ltd. and Gateway, which are both part of US Radiology Specialists, were hacked in December 2021. At least 10 US radiology practices and imaging centers have disclosed security incidents since the start of 2021, a trend that might increase as hackers reportedly shift their focus to smaller “specialty clinics.”
  • Flurpiridaz PET MPI’s CAD Evidence: GE Healthcare and Lantheus’s [18F]flurpiridaz Phase III Trial showed that the PET radiotracer can accurately detect coronary artery disease, while achieving “higher diagnostic efficiency” and image quality than SPECT MPI (n = >600). Noting [18F]flurpiridaz’s 2 hour half-life (12x longer than current cardiac PET radiotracers) and the wide use of SPECT MPI (6M exams annually in US), the radiotracer’s potential FDA approval could significantly expand PET MPI use. GE funded [18F]flurpiridaz’s development and would be its exclusive global distributor if it’s approved. 
  • Merative & RackTop Systems: Merative (formerly part of Watson Health) announced a partnership with cyberstorage startup RackTop, integrating RackTop’s BrickStor SP product into Merative’s Merge enterprise imaging solution. The integrated solution will operate within a data-centric Zero Trust architecture, targeting end-to-end protection of Merge users’ healthcare data.
  • Multi-Cancer Blood Test: The Galleri Multi-Cancer Early Detection blood test achieved its latest clinical evidence milestone, flagging potential cancer in 92 patients out of 6,621 participants, and leading to 35 cancer diagnoses. Many of the detected cancers were early stage and nearly three-quarters were cancers that are not routinely screened for. The Galleri blood test is at the forefront of the growing cancer blood testing movement, which also includes recent efforts from Cedars-Sinai (liver cancer), as well as MGH and MD Anderson (both lung cancer).
  • United Imaging and Huntsman’s PET/CT Installs: United Imaging and the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah announced the installation of their partnership’s first two United Imaging PET/CT scanners. Huntsman Cancer Institute will utilize its new United Imaging molecular imaging systems for both clinical research and patient care, with a focus on precision medicine treatment evaluations and monitoring.
  • PSMA PET Upstaging: UCLA researchers found that PSMA PET is increasingly leading to prostate cancer upstaging, potentially creating a similar shift to more aggressive prostate cancer treatments. Their analysis of 45,772 men with high-risk prostate cancer found that the median risk of PSMA PET upstaging increased from 13% in 2010 to 17.6% in 2017 (16.3% overall). The risk of nodal and distant metastatic upstaging also increased significantly (11.7% to 15.4%; 3.6% to 4.7%).
  • Koning’s Breast CT Partners: Breast CT startup Koning announced partnerships with healthcare consulting firm 11TEN Innovation Partners and teleradiology practice DocPanel that are intended to help expand Koning’s Breast CT through retail health channels. DocPanel’s telerad service will begin reading breast CT exams this month and 11TEN will promote Koning’s Breast CT within its healthcare innovation network.
  • Healthcare Employment Gains: New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the healthcare sector added 48k jobs in August, led by gains in physician offices (+15k), hospitals (+15k), and nursing facilities (+12k). The only subsector to lose jobs was home health services (-1.8k). Despite this year’s gains now totaling 412k jobs, healthcare hasn’t fully recovered losses from the beginning of the pandemic, with employment trailing 37k jobs (-0.2%) behind February 2020 levels.
  • CurveBeam AI’s Breakthrough: CurveBeam AI’s OssView bone fragility assessment solution gained FDA Breakthrough Device status, fast-tracking its path to Medicare coverage. Although OssView currently doesn’t have FDA clearance, the designation process found that OssView’s Structural Fragility Scores determine fracture risk more accurately than current methods. The designation comes just a few weeks after CurveBeam merged with StraxCorp, the original developer of OssView.

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-- The Imaging Wire team