Pediatric Radiology Trends

Pediatric radiology covers a wide range of uses. From broken bones to dental exams to chronic conditions, it’s arguably one of the most important advancements in medical history. Even more impressive, the improvement hasn’t stopped there. Pediatric radiology has made multiple advancements over time, many of them in the past few years, including lower exposure techniques and non-invasive imaging.

One of the most influential advancements in pediatric radiology is the use of ionizing radiation. According to a 2021 article by Imaging Technology News, radiation is a big factor in medical imaging for children. Because their organs are still developing, they are more sensitive to radiation, and can develop illnesses, including leukemia or brain and thyroid cancer, if exposed to too much of it. To combat exposure, medical professionals use computed tomography, fluoroscopy, and the x-ray. All three imaging procedures use a form of ionizing technology which allows doctors to diagnose patients non-invasively. These life-saving advancements are incredibly useful, however, over time and with cumulative exposure, radiation is still a concern, according to the article.

In 2019, Business Wire wrote about a recently approved FDA technology that reduces the dose of radiation to pediatric patients while still producing a clear image. The S-Vue, produced by Samsung, “reduced x-ray dose up to 45% for pediatric abdomen exams, 15.5% for pediatric chest exams, and up to 27% for pediatric skull exams.” S-Vue uses noise-reducing technology to produce these clear images. As if this wasn’t extraordinary enough, Samsung also released an updated version of the S-Vue for adults earlier this year, said Design and Development Today.

For the smallest patients, a new MRI system recently became approved just last year and is being used in Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, and hospitals around the world, according to Forbes. The Embrace Neonatal MRI System accommodates newborns and infants for clear images while not moving the tiny patient, who may be in critical condition, to different parts of the hospital. According to their website, the Embrace is the first FDA approved neonatal MRI system for exclusive use inside NICUs for newborns.

In addition to technologies used for newborns, ultrasounds have become advanced as well. Usually, an ultrasound is the first record of a new life, producing that fuzzy, albeit beautiful image of a parents’ child. However, ultrasounds are used for many more reasons. According to Forbes, the ultrasound has gotten a bit of an upgrade, including 3-D and 4-D technologies, and an ultra-doppler advancement technique, among other innovations. According to the article, ultrasound elastography is a technique used to detect different stages of liver fibrosis. This technology reduces the need for young patients to undergo a biopsy where sedation and anesthesia may be required.

 

teleradiology pediatric

While the reason for these technologies may not be our favorite thoughts, it is a comfort and an uplifting notion that the innovators, scientists, and medical professionals behind these machines are working hard to help the youngest among us and to reinforce the idea that we are truly here to help one another.

How AI is Making an Impact on Radiology and Imaging

The fields of science and medicine are always progressing. This progression intends to help both patients and providers.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming common as a way to diagnose patients. It provides a more efficient way to collect and store information. The software can even analyze imaging to a high level of accuracy. This helps providers catch a problem that they may have missed before.

AI is a field that is advancing quickly. What progress have we seen in the past couple of years? What programs have we begun to put in place?

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence refers to highly advanced computers or computer-controlled robots. These computers are capable of performing incredibly complex tasks. Before, we thought these tasks could only be done by intelligent beings.

AI in imaging

These computers are often associated with human characteristics. They seem to be able to reason and learn from past experiences.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Used For Diagnostic Imaging & Radiation?

Using AI in radiology and imaging has been gaining traction in the medical world. We use it largely to store and analyze data, helping physicians to make a prognosis. AI can store and analyze all a patient’s records. It can then make a diagnosis based on those records. The analysis is often far more accurate than what a human counterpart can do.

The use of AI is also helpful because of its storage capability. AI can have large imaging biobanks to hold more images than standard computers.

It also makes the lives of physicians easier by filtering patients by need. It can recommend appropriate diagnostic imaging based on the patient’s current records. It can also sort patients by priority in the case of an emergency.

What Advancements Have Been Made?

AI means to eliminate problems associated with human limitations. Traditional imaging takes a team of technicians. They must take the imaging as well as interpret it. This can be time-consuming. Plus, AI is able to analyze images with far greater accuracy than the human eye.

Radiomics

Radiomics is a tool that performs a deep analysis of tumors down to the molecular level. AI can perform radiomics with far better accuracy than the human eye or brain.

AI can analyze a specific region and extract over 400 elements. It then takes these features and correlates them with other data to form a diagnosis. The AI can analyze features from radiographs, CT, MRI, or PET studies.

Rapid Brain-Imaging AI Software

Hyperfine is the manufacturer of portable MRI machines. They are now creating these machines with new AI intelligence software. They believe that this new software will be able to perform brain scans in under 3 minutes.

AI-Generated Drugs

In 2020, an AI-created drug went to human clinical trials. The drug intends to treat OCD, and was designed entirely by AI. Exscientia is the manufacturer of the drug. They say that it normally takes about 4.5 years to get a new drug to this stage of testing. With AI generation, the drug got to the human clinical trial stage in under 12 months.

Making A Diagnosis

We stated earlier that AI is being used as a way to more efficiently diagnose patients. Still, relying entirely on AI to do this can complicate things and may be unwise.

So, the researchers of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab worked to combat this. They created a machine learning system that analyzes the data and decides whether to diagnose.

If it “feels” it’s unable to make an accurate prediction, it will defer to a medical professional. It even considers whether to defer to an expert based on who in the medical team is available. It will consider each team member’s availability, level of experience, and specialty.

Conclusion  

AI in diagnostic imaging shows promise to truly advance quality of care for patients. We are excited to see more advancements in this arena. In the meantime, we don’t believe any machine can currently replace a trained human eye when it comes to interpretations. At Vesta, we provide US Board Certified radiologists who work to provide accurate preliminary and final interpretations. Learn how we can support your radiology department– contact us today. 

Hospital Supply Chain Challenges

The healthcare industry continues to experience supply chain challenges brought to the surface during the recent global pandemic. There are still medical supplies, equipment, devices, and labor shortages.

The shortages of supplies have had a domino effect on the stability of the healthcare system. The consequences of hospital supply problems have caused shortages in personnel, financial instability, and weakened the safety and quality of patient care.

Imaging

Imaging scans like x-rays, MRIs and CTs are vital to any healthcare facility. Unfortunately, there is currently a shortage of a crucial item needed for CT scans—the liquid called IV contrast. This contrast dye that assist doctors in diagnosing conditions from a scan has been in shortage since a Shanghai plant went into lockdown and as a result, hospitals are rationing imaging tests.

liquid called IV contrast

Hospital Personnel

Hospital supply chain disruptions have created shortages of personal protective equipment for the hospital staff. The situation forced teams of health care professionals to reuse single-use gowns, gloves, and protective masks during the pandemic because of the supply shortages.

The lack of protection added another layer of stress to the hospital staff’s jobs and eventually led to experienced health care workers leaving their hospital employment.

The expense of supplying the hospitals without the use of technology or other updated distribution methods has also caused a reduction of funds available to staff the hospitals adequately.

One example is the increased demand for medical imaging, with fewer active radiologists available for active patient care. To keep up with the market, many hospitals have turned to non-physician radiology providers despite many concerns about the quality of service. One solution to this is something Vesta provides: teleradiology. Our US Board certified radiologists are here to help fill in those gaps.

 

Hospital Financial Stability

The pandemic-induced demand for medical supplies created an imbalance of medical supplies in the supply chain and increased the costs. Hospital inventory procedures needed to change drastically out of necessity.

Instead of maintaining just enough reserves on hand to meet the hospital’s immediate needs, hospital administrators needed to address a change in supply priorities.

The administrators were required to manage specific supply-type demands and the expense of eliminating an increase in waste from expired stock that did not serve the present needs.

Patient Care–Safety and Quality

The delay of cargo ships transporting much-needed supplies, the lack of truck drivers to transport the supplies to the hospitals, and the rapidly decreasing personnel in the hospitals have greatly affected the care patients receive. Many hospitals have had to turn patients away because of their inability to provide adequate care.

 

hospital worker shortage

Possible Solutions

Hospitals are expecting that supply chain disruptions are not a temporary issue. There is a need to find solutions to the chain supply challenges through restructuring and designing more resilient systems for stable health care delivery.

One solution some hospital systems are implementing is to have more control over the delivery of supplies by making direct contact with manufacturers. These hospitals also use storage and distribution channels under their hospital control.

Multiple hospitals are also considering more system consolidation to increase the volume of supply purchasing to allow greater price bargaining. Some hospitals are working together to create a cooperative “just-in-time” model using a single distributor for many hospitals.

When the distributor delivers supplies daily to many hospitals, the hospitals are more efficient by reducing inventory to only the necessary items. Each hospital also eliminates much of the waste of outdated items.

The hospital’s financial gains overcome the financial risks of these changes by giving them more bargaining leverage with suppliers. The cost savings by system consolidation will also enable more available funds for additional personnel and direct patient care.

These system changes are possible through cooperative negotiations and the improvement of system technology. The hospital systems can take the challenges of supply chains experienced during the pandemic and improve their systems to avoid future problems and improve today’s health care system.

Are you Hiring Healthcare Staff The Right Way?

If you work in healthcare, there’s a good chance you’re currently hiring. The industry has been struggling with a labor shortage for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic caused the number of job openings to climb even more.

 

healthcare staffing

Across the country, hospitals and healthcare clinics are desperate for employees, and they are recruiting as hard as they can. But are you recruiting the right way? Here are a few tips to help you attract quality candidates.

Background Checks are Essential

 

Anyone working in healthcare knows that it is vital to conduct a thorough background check on all candidates during the hiring process. Checking up on a candidate’s criminal record, medical licenses, and other data is necessary to keep your patients safe and protect you from massive fines for non-compliance.

However, background checks can also help you select the quality hires that are more likely to stay with your organization — something that’s particularly important in healthcare, an industry with a 19.1% turnover rate. Thorough background checks can help you weed out unreliable candidates and ensure that you hire only the best.

 

Assess Soft Skills

Obviously, you want your ideal candidate to have the credentials and experience required to fulfill the position you’re hiring. But have you considered the candidate’s soft skills?

 

Qualities like empathy, teamwork, and communication skills are becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry. As healthcare becomes more of a consumer-driven market, patients expect medical professionals to be both courteous and qualified. Make sure you seek out prospective employees with both hard and soft skills.

 

hiring a radiologist

Stay Competitive

The healthcare industry is on the brink of a significant period of job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that healthcare occupations will grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, which amounts to about 2.6 million new jobs.

 

With so many vacancies in the field, medical professionals like doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and radiologists will have their pick of clinics. If you want them to pick you, it’s important to remain competitive.

 

Keep your eye on the industry to ensure your recruiting efforts measure up to other healthcare facilities. Make sure your salary offerings, benefits, and opportunities for work-life balance are comparable to other facilities in your area.

 

If you follow these tips, you’ll be much more likely to attract top talent — and that will lead to significant benefits for your clinic, you, and your patients.

Hiring Radiologists

When it comes to hiring for your radiology department, you might feel like this is the most daunting task. Luckily, teleradiology companies like Vesta offer US Board Certified radiologists who can remotely perform both preliminary and final interpretations for your PET, MRI, MSK, PIP and worker’s comp scans. To learn more, please contact Vesta at 877-558-3782.

Pillars in Radiology History, Past, and Present

Pillars in Radiology History, Past, and Present

Radiology is a phenomenal tool. Medical teams depend on it to guide diagnosis and treatments. As a product of the early twentieth century, it is hard to imagine how medicine functioned without it. Today, our world is a much better place thanks to the people who discovered and developed the powers of radiology.

The father of radiology is Wilhelm Roentgen. Beginning with an interest in cathode rays in October of 1895, he is credited with having detected electromagnetic radiation in a specific type of wavelength on November 8, 1895. From that point, Roentgen submitted his first publication titled “On a New Kind of Rays” on December 28, 1895. When Roentgen was asked what he thought when he made his discovery, he responded, “I didn’t think, I investigated.”  Encouraged to name his discovery Roentgen Rays, he chose the letter “X” to name the rays due to their mysterious and unknown nature. The famed X-ray picture of his wife’s hand shows her bones and wedding ring, clearly indicating the rays would not penetrate bone or metal.  Few discoveries have gained notoriety as quickly as Roentgen’s did. Within a year, X-rays had changed the fields of physics and medicine exponentially. It earned him the inaugural Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901and opened doors for Roentgen personally and professionally, some of which he appreciated and some he did not. While he did not accept the title leading to German nobility offered to him, he did agree to accept the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine his university extended to him.

first ever xray
First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife’s hand

In addition, he donated his Nobel Prize earnings to his university, Wuerzburg University in Germany. An indication of his impeccable character. He never took any patents on X-rays. He wanted the world to benefit from his work freely. Consequently, he died almost bankrupt during World War I, but his goal was achieved. The world has benefited greatly from his work.

After Roentgen’s discovery, other scientists soon followed with further exploration of the rays. The first scientists to extend Roentgen’s work were Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg. They are a father and son who earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915 together specifically, “for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays” soon to be known as Crystallography, the basis for analytic chemistry. “The diffraction of X-rays by crystals,” written in 1922 by William Henry Bragg, describes their beginning work. Credited with the creation of Bragg’s Law, learning the atomic structures of viruses, proteins, gemstones, and more has been possible.

Many scientific fields were developed from Roentgen’s discovery of the X-ray. Major names of the time, such as Albert Einstein, who established matter and energy to be equal in 1903, were contenders in the study of unseen forces associated with Roentgen’s work as well. Considering the most evocative pioneering scientists, perhaps the most influential one was Marie Curie.

Intently studying Roentgen’s work, Marie Curie took an interest in uranium, the weaker ray, also called Becquerel rays. Studying its compounds, she eventually identified that the electrical effects of uranium rays are constant, which led to a monumental shift in the understanding of the structure of the atom, which led to the development of radioactivity. With this information, she determined radiation is a powerful tool with a wide range of potential applications, including diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Her continued work with her discovery of radium not only earned her a second Nobel Prize, but today we have vast benefits from her discoveries, including nuclear energy and radiotherapy (RT), a treatment for cancer.

Vesta Teleradiology

We truly applaud and honor these individuals for their immense contributions. As a teleradiology service provider, we understand that delivering accurate interpretations along with stellar support is how we can continue to contribute to the overall mission of helping others, ultimately the healthcare provider and their patients.

AI Advancements to Watch for in Radiology

Over recent years, radiology has seen many advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). Since medical imaging produces 90% of all healthcare data, radiologists have experienced a heavy workload for years. The COVID pandemic increased the backlog of radiologists, due to shutdowns and COVID regulations

new tech in radiology

Many have turned to AI as a solution to this problem, citing its numerous benefits in several aspects of imaging. AI allows radiologist departments to get more done in a shorter period of time by automating administrative tasks like paperwork, scheduling, and tracking follow-ups, while also prioritizing certain tasks for a more streamlined process. 

However AI is able to do much more than that. It can sort through data and images,  quickly giving physicians the best, most relevant information. Moreover, new AI algorithms also pick up on complex images and markers found in scans, findings that might not be visible to humans. This combination allows radiologists to run the information through an AI program for a second opinion and quicker analysis of the data.  

Examples of AI in Radiology at Work 

AI is currently being widely used in emergency medicine to alert physicians if a patient has a life-threatening condition, like a collapsed lung. The system will filter out unnecessary images and prioritize critical conditions. Additionally, physicians are using AI for stroke patients to reformat images, which allows for a faster processing time. Some of the same processes are being used for brain scans as well, choosing the most relevant images for doctors to save on overall processing time. 

 

Outside of critical care, AI is increasingly allowing physicians to work with other departments more efficiently. Hospitals in rural areas and less developed areas without radiology departments will be able to implement AI to flag certain images as well. 

Artificial intelligence is also playing a vital role in the field of oncology. Deep-learning methods have been employed to detect breast cancer in patients by teaching algorithms to draw connections between scans. Google is developing a CT scan that will produce 3D images of the lungs from 2D images, so cancer can be detected more efficiently. 

There has been talk of AI replacing radiologists, but many say that is not ever going to be the case. AI still has many limitations. As stated by Walach, an AI expert and developer, said “AI solutions are becoming very good at doing one thing very well. You typically have to have humans who do more than one thing really well.” 

AI developers rumor that AI will eventually replace radiologists, but Vesta has been in the radiology field long enough to know that AI, while very useful and complementary, it will never replace the keen eye and skills of radiologists. Vesta is a consultant of few AI developers and has been integrating the technology in its process, but does not rely solely on its findings.

 

radiologist

 

With the help of more research studies on artificial intelligence, the field of radiology will see continued growth, allowing for precision and efficiency. However, traditional radiology and teleradiology will still require trained experts to run the AI programs and discern using their expert knowledge to ensure patients are treated with the best of care. 

Vesta Teleradiology

With Vesta Teleradiology, our US Board Certified radiologists work with you to deliver customizable, and accurate reports. At Vesta, we treat AI as not Artificial Intelligence but Augmented Intelligence to help radiologists improve the quality and efficiency of their reads. How can we help your healthcare facility?

Prostate Cancer Awareness: Encouraging Patients to Get Screened

Prostate cancer kills 34,130 men each year. With screening, this number can be dramatically decreased. Early detection allows for more treatment options and increased efficacy of treatment. However, many men are reluctant to get screened. So, the question healthcare providers (and organizations that service them like diagnostic imaging centers, mobile imaging, wellness centers, radiology centers, hospitals) and advocates are left to ponder  is—how do we encourage men to get screened? 

prostate exam
How do you encourage men to get screened for prostate cancer?

Education is the most important factor to increase the rate of screening among men. Numerous studies have found that men educated on the topic of prostate cancer are more willing to get screened. In particular, one study found a significant correlation between education and whether or not a man agreed to screening. 

 

That same study found that many men do not get screened if there are no symptoms present. As is well known in the medical community, prostate cancer in its early stages often presents with no symptoms. Educating men on this single fact would be very helpful, but it is equally important to inform them about the risk factors, symptoms, screening procedures, early detection, and treatment options. So, what approach is best for educating reluctant men? 

It’s a Digital World

Brochures are things of the past. In today’s world, the best way to get information out there is through the digital mediums ever present at our fingertips. The good news is there are a variety of them. Below are some ideas for spreading information effectively online. 

 

cancer screening
A man reads information about the importance of healthcare screenings

 

  • Social Media: Men and women are constantly scrolling Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media campaigns with eye-catching infographics and videos help spread the word. Ads can target men and women, as women play a vital role in spreading awareness and educating their partners.
  • Newsletters: Informational newsletters sent via email to both general practitioners and patients are another avenue for educating patients at a relatively low cost to healthcare providers.
  • Virtual Events: Through the COVID pandemic, virtual events have become increasingly popular. Providers should take note of this cost-effective trend. These events give providers a platform to provide in-depth education about prostate cancer and screening. They can also open lines of communication with patients, allowing men to ask questions and voice their concerns, while giving insight into areas where information strategies can be improved. Additionally, some men, reluctant to attend an in-person event, might be more willing to attend a virtual event.
  • Personal Stories: Whenever possible, it’s important to put a face to the statistics. The number above represents fathers, brothers, husbands, and uncles. With the popularity of sites like TikTok and YouTube, video is being looked to as one the most successful mediums for information-sharing. Through video, personal stories can be told in an effective and meaningful way that will both educate and connect with at-risk men. People often do not remember statistics, yet  they do remember feelings. 

 

If this country, as a whole, has learned anything throughout this past year, it is to be flexible. Experimenting with different messaging styles and mediums is important. Don’t be too rigid with any one approach. See what kind of response you get from a particular message or campaign and adjust accordingly. Just remember, you can never go wrong by getting creative.

Teleradiology

Our radiologists at Vesta are trained in all modalities including reading scans for prostate cancer. When your radiologists are not available such as nights, weekends or holidays, our US Board Certified radiologists are here to help fill in those gaps. 

A device recently approved by the U.S. FDA made extremely precise images of a postmortem sample

A 100-hour MRI scan captured the most detailed look yet at a whole human brain

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/mri-scan-most-detailed-look-yet-whole-human-brain

A device recently approved by the U.S. FDA made extremely precise images of a postmortem sample .
BY

Over 100 hours of scanning has yielded a 3-D picture of the whole human brain that’s more detailed than ever before. The new view, enabled by a powerful MRI, has the resolution potentially to spot objects that are smaller than 0.1 millimeters wide.

“We haven’t seen an entire brain like this,” says electrical engineer Priti Balchandani of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who was not involved in the study. “It’s definitely unprecedented.”

The scan shows brain structures such as the amygdala in vivid detail, a picture that might lead to a deeper understanding of how subtle changes in anatomy could relate to disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

To get this new look, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and elsewhere studied a brain from a 58-year-old woman who died of viral pneumonia. Her donated brain, presumed to be healthy, was preserved and stored for nearly three years.

Before the scan began, researchers built a custom spheroid case of urethane that held the brain still and allowed interfering air bubbles to escape. Sturdily encased, the brain then went into a powerful MRI machine called a 7 Tesla, or 7T, and stayed there for almost five days of scanning.

The strength of the 7T, the length of the scanning time and the fact that the brain was perfectly still led to the high-resolution images, which are described May 31 at bioRxiv.org. Associated videos of the brain, as well as the underlying dataset, are publicly available.

Researchers can’t get the same kind of resolution on brains of living people. For starters, people couldn’t tolerate a 100-hour scan. And even tiny movements, such as those that come from breathing and blood flow, would blur the images.

But pushing the technology further in postmortem samples “gives us an idea of what’s possible,” Balchandani says. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first 7T scanner for clinical imaging in 2017, and large medical centers are increasingly using them to diagnose and study illnesses.

These detailed brain images could hold clues for researchers trying to pinpoint hard-to-see brain abnormalities involved in disorders such as comas and psychiatric conditions such as depression. The images “have the potential to advance understanding of human brain anatomy in health and disease,” the authors write.