Featured Story | April 2018
West Feliciana Hospital (WFH) has been serving patients in the small town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, since 1970, but its imaging capabilities were limited for a long time. As a result, the hospital gained a bit of a reputation among referring physicians in the area—when in doubt, they would just avoid WFH altogether and send patients more than 30 miles away to Baton Rouge.
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Facebook, the most popular social media platform in the United States, offers radiologists numerous ways to develop their brand, according to a new commentary published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
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While three-dimensional printing has been used in various industries for more than three decades, it took medicine just three or so years to catapult the technology into the popular imagination. Among burgeoning areas of healthcare innovation, probably AI alone has made more headlines in that short a span. And life-size models of individual patients’ organs, which allow surgeons to carefully plan complex procedures and consult with patients and families, are just the start.
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Seven years after the FDA approved the first tomosynthesis device for breast cancer screening, adoption rates for digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) remain on an upswing. Earlier this year the agency reported a nearly 30 percent increase of certified mammography facilities offering DBT—aka “3D mammography,” aka “tomo”—over just the past year (from 3,178 facilities in March 2017 to 4,074 in March 2018).
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With few exceptions, the most attention-demanding discussions about how and when artificial intelligence will transform radiology have been led by—and largely held within—the academic sector. That’s not surprising, given that teaching radiologists are the ones doing the research, blazing the trails and comparing the notes.
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When it comes to achieving price transparency for patients who are intent on minimizing out-of-pocket pain for medical services, radiology practices face a stark choice: Innovate or perish.
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The Institute of Medicine’s 2015 report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care revealed the persistence of diagnostic errors in all settings of healthcare that continued to harm an unacceptable number of patients. Numerous factors contribute to hindering the diagnostic process, such as workflow limitations, poor implementation of technology, the medical liability system, current reimbursement models and organizational culture. Nonetheless, the authors conclude that improving the diagnostic process is “not only possible, but also represents a moral, professional and public health imperative.”
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Since the introduction of the concept of an interventional radiology ambulatory surgery center (“irASC”) in 2016, there’s been an explosion in the number of billing codes that permit irASCs to collect for outpatient interventional procedures.
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The profession of radiology may rightly regard 2017 as an extended coming-out party for AI within the specialty. At ACR’s annual meeting in May, the keynote speeches all revolved around the changes AI will bring. AI occupied an entire quadrant of space, including a dedicated stage, at the RSNA annual meeting in the fall. Seemingly dozens of startups, along with numerous established companies, lined up in vendor booths ready to dazzle you with the next generation of radiology technology.
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Here’s a twist on that old philosophical mind game about a tree falling in a forest when no one’s around to hear it. If a medical journal gets published and no one bothers to read it, does it do anything meaningful for medicine?
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As the sheer volume of medical imaging data across U.S. healthcare continues to soar, and as burgeoning technologies like AI and enterprise imaging continue to gain altitude, imaging informatics professionals working in healthcare find themselves challenged to keep up. For this reason, many repeat attendees of the annual meetings of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine are likely to find SIIM 2018 among the most consequential in memory. Cheryl K. Carey, MBA, the organization’s new executive director—installed last November—took questions from RBJ during the runup to the event.

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