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.

The State of Telehealth Today

The pandemic changed many ways we function in today’s society, but the most significant changes came in the healthcare industry. Many of our doctor visits and consults were via the internet on one of many telehealth websites developed during the pandemic time frame.

The telehealth websites allowed physicians and other medical professionals to manage their patient’s health care services during a time when social distancing was necessary for the public’s health and safety. The internet brought medical care to patients who could remain in the comfort of their homes.

Advantages of Telehealth

There were many advantages to providing healthcare through telehealth technology. These advantages include:

  • Easier access to healthcare for rural communities
  • Easier access to healthcare for patients with limited mobility
  • Safer and easier access to healthcare for patients with compromised immune systems
  • Easier access to professional medical specialists
  • Easier access for patients for medical consultations or advice on self-management of healthcare
  • More immediate and easier access for mental health patients with mental health professionals
  • A physician’s ability to monitor “at-risk” patients more closely using devices that monitor blood pressure, heart rates, oxygen levels, blood sugar levels, and certain medications

 

The primary difficulty with the changeover to telehealth technology has been the acceptance by insurance companies to include exceptions for payments. In the past, Medicare has dictated trends for other insurance companies to follow.

To take advantage of telehealth technology, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services needed to adopt many Medicare healthcare policy changes during the pandemic. Most of the changes were temporary and scheduled to end when the pandemic was over.

 

Because of the significant benefits telehealth technology has brought to the healthcare industry, Congress has approved additions and extensions to  Medicare. These are a few of the extensions Congress supported:

  • Medicare will pay health care providers for telehealth services to patients who are at their homes, or any other location
  • Medicare pays health care providers such as physicians and nurses and will include paying qualified occupational therapists, physical therapists, audiologists, and speech pathologists.
  • Medicare will continue to pay for audio-only telehealth technology
  • Medicare will continue to compensate and provide support for rural communities dependent on telehealth technology

telemedicine

Even though the public has been made aware of how vital telehealth technology has become in filling gaps in the health care system, there are still concerns about payment and fraud abuse. Medicare and other insurance systems will be more accepting if programmers expand on advanced reporting and payment safeguards designed into the programs.

 

Even with the concerns insurance companies may have, the future looks promising to include telehealth technology in everyday healthcare. Patients and healthcare providers will continue to enjoy the convenience, the swift access to professional help, and the ability to remain safe from exposure to other illnesses.

 

In summary, telehealth technology will probably not go away, but demand will insist on expansion. In the future, we might see:

  • Patient care plans including some form of virtual service
  • Changes from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model of healthcare
  • Expansion of specialized physical health and mental health care options available using telehealth technology
  • Longer one-on-one healthcare professional-to-patient time talking and listening
  • It may become a solution to the projected shortage of healthcare professionals in the future

 

Presently, there is no continuity in the regulation of telehealth technology resulting in every state having different policies. It’s imperative to check with your health care insurance to evaluate coverage by your insurance policy.

Telehealth technology came to us out of necessity, but the benefits have given it staying power. The future for expansion in the field is limitless, allowing more freedom and productivity for providers and their patients.

tele-radiologist

Vesta Teleradiology

It goes without saying that Telemedicine is our specialty. In fact, healthcare facilities look to Vesta to support in full or part, their radiology departments. Our U.S. Board Certified radiologists work nights, weekends, and even holidays so you can continue to provide quality care for your patients. Even more, Vesta works with you in terms of the format and style of the interpretation report adapting to your interpretive mode.

Innovations in Cardiac Imaging

In 1895, Wilhelm Rontgen accidentally discovered X-rays. Since then, imaging technology has drastically advanced in all areas of healthcare, including cardiac imaging.

Medical professionals in the 1960s were using ultrasound imaging, and technicians developed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography in the 1970s. With these tools, the advancement of cardiac imaging escalated, creating real-time diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.

Advancing technology allowed cardiac physicians to perform diagnostic cardiac imaging like echocardiography and myocardial perfusion imaging in their medical offices. The trend for in-office imaging moved more to hospital settings because of the reduction of reimbursement rates in 2005 and the rapid technological changes in the industry.

Innovative technology advancement has needed to be a conglomeration of industrial, government, and academic research for cardiac imagery development to advance. Engineers, industry clinicians, and scientists have all participated in any advancements.

Two technology areas in cardiac imaging have had significant development over the past 15 years–nuclear cardiology and echocardiography. 

Nuclear Cardiology

Nuclear Cardiology uses noninvasive techniques to assess and evaluate blood flow and define the internal location of a heart attack. 

Commonly called positron emissions tomography (PET scans) or Computed X-ray tomography (CT scans), physicians can use this technology to discover the extent of heart muscle damage and the heart’s pumping function. 

Nuclear Cardiology has proven to be a superior method for safe and cost-effective diagnosis. Technicians have upgraded cameras, giving physicians higher sensitivity and resolution views than the previous models used.

Echocardiography

Echocardiography uses sound waves to display moving pictures of how heart chambers and valves work. This process can define areas where the heart muscles are not receiving adequate blood flow.

Physicians use echocardiography to locate possible blood clots within the heart and problems with the aorta. Physicians can also detect fluid buildup in the heart’s surrounding sac using echocardiography.

Echocardiography helps detect pediatric heart conditions because of the painless efficiency of the study.

The Future of Cardiac Imagery

Specialists have improved every technological aspect of cardiovascular practice within the past 50 years. Superior refinements in resolutions, measurement processes, and efficiency improve existing processes.

As with most technology-based sciences, the miniaturization of electrocardiography equipment will be the trend. Pocket-sized devices and combining diagnostic modalities through apps and computer applications will keep pace with changing health care practices.

Software development to capture real-time cardiac function and define the health of myocardial tissue is part of the newer developments in the field. Technicians are also refining more affordable methods of Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) through research.

A shift in diagnostic technology is advancing in identifying and decreasing cardiovascular risk in patients. Improved imagery will better equip physicians in preventing adverse outcomes. Physicians can more easily define patients’ risk of cardiac issues during exercise and stress-induced blood flow issues.

 

Another benefit to early detection and assessment of the cardiac disease process through imagery will be a better understanding of all the cardiac elements involved, leading to the development of new pharmaceutical drugs to prolong patient lives. 

cardiac imaging tech

Cardiac Imagery will always be one of the best diagnostic tools available. Physicians and research teams assessing the cost-effectiveness and better patient outcomes will define the best approaches and safety in patient care management.

Outsourced Radiology

Vesta Radiologists are versed a cardiac imaging reading and a variety of other subspecialties. Further, we work nights and weekends so your staff can get the needed rest they require.

Please contact Vesta for outsourced radiology needs at 1-877-55-VESTA

What Cancer Patients Expect From Doctors

Having cancer is terrifying. No matter how brave a person can seem on the outside, inside they are scared. When an oncology patient goes to see their doctor, they are vulnerable and have deep expectations. 

Ultimately, patients expect their doctor(s) to help them. This pertains to emotional support, health and medical concerns, legal rights, and even spiritual needs. Establishing good patient-provider communication is the cornerstone of this important relationship.  

Many patients have taken the popular patient-directed approach to deal with a diagnosis with the patient doing their own research, not all patients view their role in this way though. Some patients are “old school” and expect their doctor to be the informed leader and wisely guide them through their journey, especially older patients. A combination of provider-directed and patient-directed approaches is reasonable. Through this process, a doctor’s ability to assist a patient through the stress and emotions of their diagnosis is critical. Reading verbal and non-verbal cues is one of the most important skills a doctor can offer their patients. Next, a doctor needs to offer what they know their patients need, providing comfort or knowledge or listening or other support. Last, an effective provider helps their patient share power by allowing meaningful involvement in care choices. 

 

patient expectations

In addition, cancer patients expect their doctors to tell them the truth. Hearing bad news is hard. Telling someone bad news is hard also, but it is a necessary skill that patients need their doctors to be able to perform well. Providers need to be capable within the role of informing their patients of uncomfortable and scary information. An appropriate balance as a compassionate, matter-of-fact communicator is important to affect positive patient outcomes. This includes the swift viewing capability to private electronic medical information, in-person consultation, and sharing information with the family. Keeping in mind that truth without compassion is cruelty, cancer patients want their doctors to allow them free access to the truth about themselves as they are ready to receive it, and that their information record is 100% private and secure. 

 

Upholding the Patients’ Bill of Rights and HIPAA is another expectation a cancer patient has of their doctor. Although the right to access and affect their medical records and who sees them belongs to the patient, the doctor’s awareness and voice to ensure they remain protected can strengthen trust between the patient and doctor. Privacy and confidentiality are extremely important to many patients. When a doctor upholds a federal law designed for protecting patients at a time life may seem bleak, the horizon can seem a little brighter. 

Vesta Teleradiology works with doctors, hospitals, and all types of healthcare facilities in order to bring superior radiology support. Our radiologists work nights, weekends, and holidays. Look to Vesta for a radiology company that is focused on helping you provide optimal care to your patients.

Patient Comfort During Diagnostic Imaging

The role of the radiologist has changed over recent years. The health care world once thought of these professionals as sitting in a dark room interpreting imaging data and writing reports.

Today, diagnostic imaging is used by physicians more, and the radiologist’s role has become more centrally involved with patient care. There are opportunities to connect to the patients during the diagnostic imaging process that other health care providers don’t have.

Patient comfort during any healthcare procedure provides a series of activities that gain trust and provide emotional security in the process. Diagnosticians’ communication with their patients must convey that the staff is dependable, empathetic, and knowledgeable.

Environment

When patients first arrive for their appointment, they may be apprehensive and anxious about what their diagnostic imaging may reveal about their health and future.

The waiting room is where the patients not only wait for their appointment, but it is a place where they can talk with family members. Giving the seating lots of space allows areas with quiet corners for people to speak and express anxieties they may be experiencing.

A waiting room with plants, windows, and possibly waterfalls and nature scenes provides space for relaxation, gathering thoughts, and exploring possible questions about the procedure.

Physical Comfort

Diagnosticians performing a baseline assessment of the patient’s pain levels before, during, and after any invasive procedure is essential. It is also necessary to educate staff on any pain control protocols.

Patients appreciate simple office organization like short wait times in scheduling to minimize stress. Patients also appreciate comfortable procedure gowns, comfortable room temperatures, and warm blankets, along with sheets and pillows covering the procedure tables.

By reducing the technology sounds like beepers and overhead speakers, patients can have an easier time relaxing.

Communication

Effective communication can begin with the diagnostician partnering with the patient and their families to ensure that needs and preferences are being met. By involving the patient and their family, decision-making becomes more straightforward and more confident.

Patient-centered communication skills encourage the patient to talk about psychosocial issues that may affect their health or procedures. Through this communication process, the diagnostician can respect their patient’s requests and values and address or provide counseling and resources for patient support.

patient doctor communication

The top priority in the patient and health care provider relationship is maintaining an open and honest relationship. Diagnosticians can be sure the patient understands the procedures and the results of the processes by spending time, and using any tools that can assist is most valuable.

Tools like questionnaires, pamphlets, and visual aids can help the health care provider explain the benefits, risks, procedures, and processes or what is happening with the patient’s health.

Paying attention to the patient’s emotional concerns and using their own words when encouraging them to express themselves builds their trust with their health care providers.

Imaging diagnosticians can use the time spent with the patient as teachable moments. For example, during mammography appointments, staff can inform and educate patients about the importance of colon screening and bone density tests.

It is also crucial for health care providers to practice restraint and allow quiet time for their patients. There is sometimes a tremendous amount of information to process, and it takes time for patients to deal with their feelings and formulate essential questions they may have.

enhanced patient experience

 

The importance of diagnostic imaging will continue to expand in the health care field. Advancements in cancer treatments, diagnoses, and disease prevention rely heavily on the professionalism of diagnostic imaging.

These health care professionals can experience positive relationships and trust with their patients by providing needed emotional support and conveying a genuine sense of caring.

Vesta Teleradiology wants to help you make your patients’ experience as streamlined as possible. That’s why we offer tools and customizable reports that work WITH your current workflow. We also offer 24x7x365 radiology reading services so your radiologists can have a better work life balance.

Healthcare Quality Week: Thank you Radiology and Imaging

This week, your mind might be on the upcoming Halloween holiday and fall festivities that come around this time of year. But did you know that October 17-23 is actually Healthcare Quality Week?  This week of observance is “a dedicated time to celebrate the profession and raise awareness of the positive impact healthcare quality professionals have in their organizations and communities.”

Since Vesta has a team of dedicated radiologists as well as clients in healthcare facilities across the nation, we want to take time to acknowledge these amazing people and the processes they expertly and caringly carry out in order to provide quality healthcare.

Radiology and Imaging: A Game Changer

Radiology and imaging is one of the greatest inventions of the late nineteenth century. This powerful tool has been studied and developed, enabling millions of lives to be saved and an array of scientific discoveries in the fields of physics and biology.

 

xray radiologyGoing back to the beginning, the first X-ray picture in 1895 by Wilhelm Rontgen led to many scientific discoveries, ultimately earning Rontgenthe Nobel Prize in physics in 1901. Since then, the field of Imaging and Radiology has grown exponentially. The mystery of how matter converts energy became the focus of study as Albert Einstein furthered the exploration in 1903, allowing the world to begin to understand how these powerful rays demonstrated what our senses could not detect. Subsequently, fossils, art masterpieces, the earth, solar systems, and the universe were radioactively dated, and in 1953 the double helix of DNA was captured. From these and many other discoveries, multiple fields of study have evolved in Radiology and Imaging.

Cancer

Using radiation instead of chemotherapy to treat cancer is advantageous because radiation can be directed to the infected cells and avoid surrounding cells to a large degree. Benefits to radiation and the way it works is described in the following quote:

Radiation works by making small breaks in the DNA inside cells. These breaks keep cancer cells from growing and dividing and cause them to die.”

Utilizing radiation to treat cancer minimizes symptoms and preserves healthy cells, as opposed to chemotherapy. In some cases, chemotherapy drugs can weaken cells making them more sensitive to radiation. Ultimately, the ability to direct radiation can effectively kill specific cancer cells. This is a powerful phenomenon, especially when faced with a deadly disease.

Working as a medical imaging technologist combines a wide array of skills. Patient care, technological aptitude, data analysis, and people skills allow for a challenging and rewarding multilayered career, one that is only possible due to the discovery of electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range over one hundred years ago. Saving lives and improving quality of life due to what we all commonly call the “X-ray”, it is only appropriate to marvel at the work of Wilhelm Rontgen and thank him.

More Notable Imaging Methods that Changed the World

Fluoroscopy is a medical imaging test that uses an x-ray beam. It passes continuously through the body to create a projected image on a monitor which allows doctors to see the movement of internal organs in real-time. This is extremely helpful during surgery. Other ways fluoroscopy benefits patients are with barium X-ray enemas to examine the gastrointestinal tract, catheter insertion to direct a catheter through blood vessels, placing devices in the body such as stents, and in orthopedic surgery with joint replacement.

Ultrasound, also called sonography, uses sound waves to create internal images of the body. It is commonly used to confirm and date a pregnancy. It is also used in diagnosing a wide variety of other conditions. Diseases affecting the organs and soft tissues can be diagnosed with the help of ultrasound.  This includes the heart, blood vessels, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterus, ovaries, eyes, thyroid, and testicles.

3D ultrasoundFun Fact: the 3-D ultrasound actually takes thousands of photos at once to create a 3d image that is extremely clear.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound imaging, has aided many women in avoiding having a hysterectomy. Many times, the cause of bleeding is a fibroid and a uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is needed instead. An interventional radiologist can perform this minimally invasive treatment for women with symptomatic fibroids which can be assessed through an (MRI) and then also offer further assessment and counseling.

Transvaginal ultrasound lets most women with malignant gestational trophoblastic disease be cured. Without this procedure, the cancerous and potentially cancerous cells of the pregnancy would continue to thrive putting the mother’s life at risk. Through early detection, partial and complete molar pregnancy can be detected and treated by removing it from the uterus and reproductive function can be preserved.

6 Tips to Make the Most of Your RSNA Trip!

The top radiological minds meet every year at RSNA. Will you be one of them next month? If you plan to join Vesta Teleradiology and other key radiology thought leaders pioneering the field, take note of these attendee tips below to make the most of your trip!

  1. Secure your bed!

Chicago is a big city, but hotel rooms nearest McCormick Place (the show’s site) sell out fast. And who wants to walk far in the cold weather? If you haven’t booked your room, don’t waste another minute! Click here to see the recommended hotels by RSNA and get your RSNA rate before Monday, November 25.

  1. Bust out your calendar

What’s your purpose for attending? There will be exhibitors, plenaries and other sessions, tons of opportunity to network, or you may even be exhibiting yourself. Regardless, look at your big blocked commitments and immediately start to schedule in the blanks. Even checking the show floor’s hours (Hint: no hours on Sunday, Dec. 1 or after 2 pm ET on Thursday, Dec. 5) is a good idea to make sure your floor time can actually be floor time.

  1. We all have a Type A side

Is part of that newly created plan to have a few important meetings with clients, potential clients, or maybe even industry allies? Where will you go? In the past, there have been few spots in McCormick Place to “grab a chair,” so we recommend booking a conference room at a nearby hotel, reserving a restaurant dining space, or even scout out the nearest coffee shops.

If you have a clearly defined location, you can make the most of your meeting agenda time! We also encourage sending an invitation via Google or Outlook with the location articulated and be sure to add buffer travel time to get to and from!

  1. Not sure what to do with free time?

Have an hour or two in between business development meetings and sessions? Our favorite way to spend free time is walking the show floor to gather competitive intel and notice incoming industry trends. Feel free to schedule a meeting with us to learn about teleradiology, if it’s new to you, or if it’s not, to learn about some of what we’ve picked up on during the show, too! 

  1. Cross your Ts

Who from your group is attending? What are their individual objectives, and can you divide and conquer to make the most of your holistic organization’s attendance? Attending this show can be extremely fruitful if you plan accordingly (and you want to make the most of the registration fee!) so even making time at the end of each day, or the end of the show, to document your findings and make more informed plans for next year, can help you benefit from the RSNA annual meeting experience.

  1. And, as always…

Get those feet ready. If you’ve attended any type of tradeshow or conference you know this, but RSNA is huge, and you will do a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes, take any chance you get to grab a seat and be sure to rest your feet in the evenings. Don’t forget to turn on your fitness tracker to at least get credit for all those steps!

 

Want to connect at RSNA? Contact us today to coordinate.

Vesta Teleradiology Announces Industry’s First Rate Guarantee

Vesta Teleradiology, is pleased to announce the industry’s first ‘Three Year Rate Guarantee.’

Imaging facilities are facing tremendous financial pressure with falling reimbursements, stricter billing requirements and consumerism of healthcare. In this environment of reduced profit margins, Vesta is announcing the industry’s first, ‘Three Year Rate Guarantee’ to all current and new clients.

radiology company
Vesta’s Guarantee

Vesta’s Three Year Rate Guarantee: All Vesta clients will never pay more than the initial agreement rate, for a minimum of 3 years.

 

Hospitals, Urgent Care Centers, Imaging Centers and Mobile X-Ray providers are seeing reduced profit margins, in part due to reductions in insurance reimbursements. In an effort to provide these service providers with price stability, we are pleased to offer the industry’s first rate guarantee,” stated Vijay Vonguru, President of Vesta Teleradiology.

“In addition, to this Industry First Rate Guarantee, Vesta is reviewing additional ways for our clients to contain costs while we continue to provide the high level of service our clients receive,” Vijay added.

About Vesta Teleradiology:

Vesta brings you teleradiology solutions and services, providing 24x7x365 access to our highly qualified Board Certified radiologists through a secure PACS. At Vesta, we offer comprehensive, affordable radiology solutions for our partners. Vesta has been a pioneer in supportive diagnostic workflow technology and quality diagnostic services. We are steadfast in our passion to remain at the forefront of innovation in healthcare. We offer night and holiday coverage.

Prospective clients are offered a free test drive of Vesta’s teleradiology service. Please contact us to schedule a demo.

Outsourcing radiology