#361 – The Wire

  • Adaptix’s Multi-Modal Funding: Portable imaging startup Adaptix completed a £12.9m funding round that it will likely use to develop and commercialize its digital tomosynthesis imaging technology. Interestingly, the funding round included a £2.5m investment from Avingtrans, cementing Adaptix’s alliance with point-of-care MRI company Magnetica (an Avingtrans subsidiary). The companies will develop a multi-modal imaging system that combines Magnetica’s Cryogen-free MRI and Adaptix’s digital tomosynthesis technology (initially for orthopedics and urgent care).
  • Image Search Works: A new Radiology Journal study detailed how a content-based image retrieval system (CBIR) can significantly improve interstitial lung disease (ILD) diagnosis by searching an image database for similar chest CTs and providing them to radiologists. The retrospective study had eight radiologists interpret scans from 80 patients with different types of ILDs (with and without the CBIR, two weeks apart), finding that the CBIR significantly improved diagnostic accuracy (60.9% vs. 46.1%) and interreader agreement (Fleiss κ 0.47 vs. 0.32).
  • vRad Ups the Ante: vRAD announced that it will introduce “the largest pay hike” in the company’s history, increasing radiologist compensation by up to 25% in January 2022 (it’s fourth increase since early 2019). We don’t typically cover pay increase announcements, but that’s because we’ve literally never seen an announcement like this, illustrating the hiring/retention pressures vRAD and other rad/telerad practices are facing.
  • Radiation Unawareness: A new JAMA survey (n = 2,866 patients in Italy, 2019-2020) revealed a long list of patient misunderstandings about medical radiation (e.g. 55% didn’t know chest CT exams have more radiation than CXR), which makes sense considering that 44% admitted to having an inadequate knowledge of radiation risks. The patients largely preferred to be informed about radiation risks by medical staff (80% agreed), and a corresponding editorial agreed with this approach, calling for a “systemic and seismic shift” in how physicians educate patients about radiation.
  • MSU’s Contrast Process: A team of Michigan State University scientists are using a $2.2m NIH grant to create new MRI contrast agents that use biocompatible peptides and proteins to target specific body parts. That’s pretty cool on its own, but MSU placed the greatest emphasis on the fact that this project is run by a multidisciplinary team. The project’s computer scientists built/operate a machine learning system to identify promising molecules, and the team’s biomedical engineers run lab experiments on the ML-vetted molecules, potentially making their contrast discovery process far more efficient. 
  • 2022 ICD-10 Code Impact: With 2022’s ICD-10 codes now public, Healthcare Administrative Partners detailed how the 159 new codes (and many cancelled codes) will impact radiology. The good news is relatively few are important to radiology (most are just more specific versions of previous codes), although practices still need to carefully review the codes and adjust their templates and EHR systems, paying particular attention to deleted codes (can’t bill for those…). The 2022 ICD-10 also brings new codes for post-COVID patients and a greater emphasis on complete and consistent documentation.
  • Mount Sinai AI: The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai announced the opening of its new Department of Artificial Intelligence and Human Health, the first department of its kind within a US medical school. The new Mount Sinai AI department aims to drive healthcare transformation through AI research, leveraging data from the health system’s eight hospitals to build AI-enabled healthcare tools.
  • RAYUS Acquires Again: RAYUS Radiology (formerly CDI) continued its nationwide expansion, acquiring South Florida’s Diagnostic Centers of America (DCA, 8 imaging centers). The acquisition comes with DCA’s existing partnership with Boca Radiology Group (BRG, a Mednax/RP practice), and BRG will continue to read studies performed at DCA’s imaging centers. RAYUS/CDI has been an active acquirer since its own PE acquisition in 2019, and has become even more aggressive since June with acquisitions in Washington, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and now across South Florida.
  • COVID’s Abnormality Plateau: A new Radiology Journal study found that 25% of once-hospitalized COVID patients still have abnormal chest CTs a year after recovery. The study analyzed a series of chest CTs from 209 patients, finding that lung abnormalities resolved at a slower rate after three and seven months (at discharge = 0%, 3mo = 61%, 7mo = 73%, 12mo = 75%). Patients with persistent lung abnormalities were more likely to be older or have acute respiratory distress syndrome. 
  • New Interoperability Standards: The ONC is partnering with CMS and the CDC on updated interoperability standards that build upon the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) initiative. The new program, aptly titled USCDI+, will work towards interoperability on datasets, certification criteria, and implementation specifications for hospital IT teams and federal partners.
  • PSMA PET/MRI Superiority: A new Weill Cornell study found that Ga-68 PSMA-11 PET/MRI is far superior to multiparametric MRI for monitoring men with biochemical recurrent prostate cancer (n = 108), achieving far higher sensitivity (95.5% vs. 63.6%), PPV (87.5% vs. 84.9%), and detection rates (82.4% vs. 54.9%). Although PSMA PET/MRI was more effective than mpMRI across all patients, it was particularly effective among men with PSA values below 0.2 ng/mL (40% vs. 9% detected).

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-- The Imaging Wire team