Lugnegård, director of product management at Sectra has written an interesting article about the role of Radiology in the future of Healthcare. Radiology, according to him, is a “natural hub and is in an excellent position to help coordinate the best care”. Through better integration of the clinical process and implementing smart workflows that help save time and money, he believes Radiology can play a key role in making Healthcare more efficient and improving care quality.

For more information, click here.

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Faster MRI?

May 15, 2012

 

Researchers from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C (principal researcher: Stanley Fricke) have recently published a study in Medical Physics where they show that ultra-fast magnetic gradients (pulse sequences with rise times 100 times faster than conventional MRI) do not produce nerve stimulation or muscle twitching. According to the researchers, MRI limiting speed should be revisited taking into account the new developments, and they expect MRI to allow imaging of small children in seconds rather than minutes.

I wrote in my previous post about smart phones and how they are getting more and more common among Radiologists. Well, tablets are not far behind. Actually, the new iPad’s Retina display, which has raised the tablet’s resolution to the level of a 3-megapixel PACS monitor, is generating a lot of expectation, especially for reading Digital Radiography images. The new iPad offers 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch, up from the iPad 2’s 1,024 x 768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch. This, together with the easy-to-handle features, such as zoom and scroll, make this device very suitable for checking images on the fly.

However, this increased resolution is only beneficial when the images also have a high resolution. This is not the case for tomographic images such as CT, MRI, SPECT or ultrasound, which have a much lower resolution. Nonetheless, the portability of the device, together with the new speed capabilities (e.g. the new iPad utilizes the A5X chip, with quad-core graphics processing capability), make the tablet a very attractive tool for Radiologists.

Last February, a group of Canadian researchers presented at the American Academy of Orthopeadic Surgeons (AAOS) a new study about the interpretation of MR images on the iphone.

Smartphones are becoming part of every activity of our lives, and this is also true for physicians and hospitals. The advantage is that they are portable and most of the time on the pocket or handbag, but the question is whether they are good enough for a medical diagnosis.

According to Dr. John Theodoropoulos, an orthopedic surgeon from the University of Toronto, “iPhone interpretations showed high sensitivity and specificity for medial meniscus and cruciate ligaments injuries with lower sensitivity for lateral meniscus tears and lower specificity for cartilage injuries.  And compared to much larger the PACS workstation interpretation on a flat screen, the iPhone showed excellent agreement for medial meniscus and cruciate ligament injuries and good agreement for cartilage injuries”. However, Dr. Theodoropoulos said that the iPhone app missed two cartilage tears versus the full-sized workstation.

Maybe we are not there yet, but the smartphones and tablets certainly look promising for medical image interpretation and have many features that make them very attractive, specially for emergency cases.

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Cloud-based services

February 23, 2012

Each day we are hearing more and more about cloud services. However, a critical issue comes to mind: data security.

Some are comparing this reaction to the first reactions to Internet banking, consumers being afraid of fraud, identity theft and so on. As Internet banking, cloud-based services are a reality nowadays. However, you must choose your provider wisely. Suppliers must have the optimal technologies to ensure patient data is protected at all levels.

For more information,  Carestream has created a white paper about cloud-based services.

The use of mobile medical apps on tablets and smartphones is becoming more and more common in healthcare. Therefore the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has included medical imaging applications in a new draft guidance document. It is not yet final. Comments and suggestions may be submitted to the FDA until October.

An MR scan in 5 minutes?

September 1, 2011

Imagine you could do an MR scanner in 5 minutes and get all the image types that you need.
SyntheticMR offers a product called SyMRI that does just that: “On the MR scanner a special sequence is introduced that results in the measurement of the absolute MR parameters.Based on these parameters T1- and T2-weighted image can be generated without rescanning. As each tissue has its own unique combination of parameters, the anatomy can automatically be segmented into various tissue components”.
The quantification scan is a multi-slice, multi-echo, multi-saturation delay sequence that is able to retrieve T1 and T2 relaxation, proton density and the B1 field in one scan.
Whether this is the future of MRI, only time and clinical studies will tell, but it looks promising.