Digital Radiology Comes of Age

Sean Reilly

Sean Reilly, publisher, Imaging Technology News

Editor’s note:  This post first appeared on ITNonline.com’s  publisher blog. Re-posted with author permission. 

Murphy’s Law… One day before this year’s Super Bowl, my ten-year-old TV gave up the ghost.  Forced to go emergency shopping, the adage, “They don’t build ’em like they used to” came to mind as I gazed upon a wall of bright, ultra-thin LCD displays at the electronics superstore.  Gone forever were the bulky analog TVs of old.  Technology and consumers had moved on.

The same was evident with X-ray technologies on display at RSNA 2011.  While “workflow” and “dose” were much-discussed, and PET/MR technology captured a share of the spotlight, most surprising to this publisher was the buzz surrounding digital detector and mobile DR technology.  Vendors – including those who provide heavy-iron technologies that typically attract the greatest attention – placed heavy emphasis on their new or emerging digital X-ray solutions.  This was something I haven’t seen in years.

DR technology, like flat panel televisions, is hardly new.  Both have existed for years.  The challenge both initially faced was that of cost.  A decade ago, I just couldn’t justify laying out heavy green to view content offered by networks or cable providers on a state-of-the art screen.  Healthcare providers faced a similar challenge with DR.  Ten years ago, despite the promised benefits of improved workflow and PACS integration, transitioning from film to digital technology was cost-prohibitive.  For the most part, DR remained in the background, taking a back seat to lower-cost solutions like computed radiography.

But at RSNA 2011, the paradigm changed.  New DR solutions took center stage.  A spotlight shined on digital detectors that can be retrofitted to work with, and shared between, conventional X-ray systems.  Wireless detectors generated iPhone-like excitement.  Mobile X-ray systems – “meat and potato” technology – climbed to the top of the menu with the “secret sauce” of digital detectors.

Why the sudden shift?  Perhaps one reason is that vendors had not only listened closely to the needs and challenges of healthcare providers, but responded with solutions enabling them to transition from film to digital in a logical, economically feasible way.  From my perspective, I find it extremely gratifying to see those looking for solutions, and those delivering them, in sync.  The end result is a positive one.

Watch for a comparison chart with detailed specifications for all the leading models of DR systems in the April issue of Imaging Technology News.   You can also find news about the latest advances in digital radiography in the DR Channel of ITNonline.com.

RSNA Fun: Dancing with the CARESTREAM DRX-Revolution

A few weeks post RSNA 2011 and we thought we’d look back at two of the fun moments from this year’s meeting.

Dancing with the CARESTREAM DRX-Revolution*
Carestream’s Martin S. Pesce, RT, Applications Engineer, gets perfect 10s from the judges at RSNA for his pirouettes with the works-in-progress mobile x-ray system!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjBA6ig-P-8&w=560&h=315]

We weren’t the only ones dancing at RSNA.

RSNA Flash Mob 
Did you catch the spontaneous flash mob of “R-S-N-A” sung to the tune of “Y-M-C-A”?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDXFngxnUms&w=560&h=315]

Maybe RSNA should consider a “Radiology’s Got Talent” competition next year?

*Not commercially available

RSNA Research Scholar Grant Update: Gene Expression Profiling in Cancer Patients

Michael S. Gee, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Radiology, was the 2010 recipient of the two-year Carestream Health/RSNA Research Scholar Grant Award. He is studying “Evaluation of Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance (DMR) Technology for Molecular Characterization of Cancer Cells from Percutaneous Image-Guided Biopsy Specimens.”

At RSNA 2011, Dr. Gee discussed the progress his research is making in gene expression profiling in cancer patients, the human trials that will begin shortly and what that can mean for future treatments and care.

Since its inception, the R&E Foundation’s mission Foundation has funded nearly 900 grants totaling well over $34 million. Each and every day at institutions throughout North America and abroad, young investigators supported by the R&E Foundation are performing vital research aimed to improve clinical care and patient outcomes, and ensure the future of the specialty.

More detail – from the 2011 Foundation Booklet – about Dr. Gee’s research can be found below:

“The capability to perform real-time molecular analysis of human tumors is expected to enable rational treatment decisions in an era where molecularly targeted therapies are emerging. Attempts to profile cancer cells to date largely have been unsuccessful, as existing clinical technologies are either too insensitive to distinguish biomarker expression levels or lead to alterations in tumor cell phenotype, precluding accurate assessment. We have developed a novel, broadly applicable, point-of-care method of diagnostic magnetic resonance (DMR) that overcomes many of these limitations.

The technology utilizes magnetic resonance techniques confined within a chip-sized micro-NMR device to measure the relaxation time of tumor cell fine needle aspiration samples. The molecular specificity of DMR is achieved through magnetic nanoparticles that act as proximity sensors for specific molecular targets. We have used this exquisitely sensitive technology to measure DNA and mRNA, cancer cells, proteins, enzymes, metabolites, drug concentrations, and bacteria. In preliminary experiments, we have demonstrated the ability of DMR to profile expression of multiple biomarkers on individual cancer cells simultaneously, with molecular sensitivity reaching 10–14 M, better than conventional techniques such as flow cytometry. The overall goal of this proposal is to evaluate whether DMR can perform real-time molecular analysis of biomarkers on human cancer cells isolated from percutaneous image-guided fine needle aspiration, and to determine whether DMR can be used to determine tumor susceptibility to molecularly targeted treatments.”

Future of Radiology – The Student Perspective at RSNA 2011

At events like last week’s RSNA the exhibit hallways are packed with people rushing to their next educational session or vendor booth appointment. The buzz grows each day and hits fever pitch when new radiologic technology students arrive atMcCormick Place eager take it all in.

The Carestream booth had the privilege of being the first RSNA stop for a group of students from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The rad tech students, who study at Froedtert Hospital, shared their excitement with us about the opportunity to learn more about the profession from industry veterans and see the latest radiology advancements that are sure to change the way they care for patients in the future.

This group also got hands on with CARESTREAM’s DRX-Revolution* Mobile X-Ray System and shared their feedback with us on the system’s maneuverability.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f48y29BuTv0&w=560&h=315]

Did you meet any of these fabulous students at RSNA? Are you currently a radiologic technology student? What captured your attention from RSNA?

*Not commercially available

Ikazia Hospital in Rotterdam Improves Productivity with CARESTREAM Cloud Services

This year’s RSNA generated a lot of discussion about cloud-based services. Jannes Aman, Manager, Ikazia Hospital in Rotterdam, Netherlands, shares what drove his facility’s recent decision to move to the cloud with CARESTREAM Vue Cloud Services and the productivity gains this technology will unlock for radiologists.

Informatics, Advanced Visualization and Mobile Device Clearance Hot On AuntMinnie’s Radar at RSNA

Erik Ridley, Sr. Editor with Aunt Minnie, talks about what he thinks are the hot trends in technology at RSNA 2011 — informatics, advanced visualization and mobile viewers.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mOPqbEtqfA&w=560&h=315]

What healthcare IT trends are you watching for? 

Blessing Hospital Director of Radiology Services Talks DR, Dose and Mobile X-Ray at RSNA

Candace Tretter,  Director of Radiology Services, Blessing Hospital, Quincy, Ill. discusses her facility’s conversion from CR to DR systems; improvements in efficiency and dose reduction,  and shares her feedback on the preview of CARESTREAM’s DRX-Revolution* Mobile X-Ray System at RSNA 2011.

*Not Commercially Available