Most Popular Medical Imaging Blogs
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A mid-year review of Everything Rad’s top blogs.
What are the most popular blogs on medical imaging? Everything Rad reviews which blogs written this year in the first half of 2019 were opened the most by our 15,000 monthly visitors. The most popular blogs are about advances in medical image capture and reporting.
It is not surprising that the most popular blogs – and the topics we published the most – are about advances in medical image capture and reporting. Likewise, it is not surprising that medical imaging professionals also were interested in blogs about the impact of technology on their profession, and on patients. Our blogs during the first half of 2019 fell into 3 categories:
- Developments in X-ray imaging and reporting
- Radiologists’ views on technology adoption
- Keeping patients at the center of care
Developments in X-Ray imaging and reporting
Until the discovery of carbon nanotube technology, introduced worldwide by Carestream, X-ray devices used a vacuum ampoule. This is a device similar to a bulb with tungsten filaments that are heated to more than 1,000 degrees Celsius to generate the electrons necessary to produce the X-ray image.
Carbon nanotube technology, on the other hand, is a “cold” technology. The production of electrons is not achieved by heating a filament, but rather by the application of an electric field. Also, electrons are focused at the tips of the carbon nanotubes. There is a much higher percentage of electrons used toward the creation of an X-ray image. Finally, unlike vacuum ampoules, CNT does not need to be cooled, thus contributing to a much smaller, lighter-weight tube. In fact, carbon nanotube technology yields 80 percent weight reduction.
Another popular blog discusses radiology reporting. Interactive, multi-media reporting is readily available within radiology workstations today – yet many diagnostic imaging reports remain text based. In fact, the format of medical imaging reports created by most radiology departments has not changed much in over 100 years.
Multi- media reports, hyperlinks, key images, and other productivity-enhancing features are available today in Carestream’s Vue Reporting module.
The reporting module provides comparative data that is interactive and has rich multimedia content providing access to the report and associated key images. For locations that do not have access to an enterprise viewer (e.g. a GP surgery), we provide an encapsulated PDF with this content, with interactive links to a patient portal. The interactive report can help facilitate communication between stakeholders, enabling clinicians to collaborate interactively with reporters.
In the future, the module will be able to support Knowledge Base. Based on the content in the report, it could include links to related online reference materials.
Mobile chest X-rays are often performed on acutely ill patients who are too critical or unstable to be transported to an X-ray imaging room. For these patients, bedside mobile X-rays can be the only option for medical imaging. Yet, mobile chest imaging has some potential drawbacks.
One of them is the potential degradation of image quality due to radiation scatter. This phenomenon occurs most frequently when imaging thicker areas of the body – such as the chest – particularly if collimation is not in close enough proximity. Specifically, when the X-rays penetrate the chest, a percentage of the photons engage in Compton interactions and cause radiation to scatter. This compromises image quality by introducing a noise-laden, low frequency background signal that creates a haze. The result is an image with reduced contrast and detail, creating the potential for obscured vasculature, infiltrates, and other pathology.
Recently, Carestream introduced software that reduces the damaging effects of scatter radiation in an image – helping to improve the contrast of the image when a physical anti-scatter grid is not used. Carestream’s software, called SmartGrid, uses an advanced algorithm that estimates low-frequency scatter distributed throughout an image and reduces it.
New forms of technology are introduced constantly in medical imaging, often leading to enhanced diagnostic and therapeutic options. However, new technology also can be a source of frustration, especially when it is not working properly or not well understood. Overcoming these hurdles takes involvement from the entire radiography department － the individual healthcare professionals as well as their managers. The widespread impact of technology made this article one of the most popular medical imaging blogs so far this year.
In April, Everything Rad published a blog on a study about radiologists’’ ideas, views and perceptions of technology; and opportunities to increase its adoption. The study, conducted by Sil Aarts, assistant professor, Department of Health Services Research, the Netherlands, lays out recommendations for the radiology department, and individual radiologists, to take to increase adoption.
The radiographers, nuclear medicine technologists, and radiation therapists in the study all said they value technological developments not only to perform the core business of their work, but also regarding other aspects such as documentation, communication, and physical support.
According to the participants, all technological developments should be in the best interest of the patient. Participants also pinpointed a need to receive more training aimed at increasing knowledge related to technological developments and devices. This should, according to these healthcare professionals, be facilitated by the managers of their departments.
The European Congress of Radiology (ECR) is a forum equivalent to North America’s RSNA event. Although there were 80 sessions on artificial intelligence at ECR 2019, the topic that surfaced often in conversations and in the sessions I attended on day one was the very low-tech but all-important human factor. The “humans” being both the patients receiving the care and the radiographers who care for them.
“Keeping the patient and their care at the front of our attention is a focus for our association and for our radiographers. We have assured that the technology we use is the gold standard, but sometimes we leave the focus on the patient behind,” said Rodrigo Garcia Gorga, a radiographer and general secretary of Sociedad Espanola deGraduados y Tecnicos en Radiologia.
In the blog on Building Trust between the Patient and Radiographer in a Digital World, I capture recommendations for keeping the human touch. The suggestions are based on studies presented at ECR 2019. They include:
- Using/viewing the need for a signed consent form as a common courtesy to extend to the patient and as a way of building trust between radiographer and patient. The true purpose of informed consent is to ensure that patients and/or their representatives are provided with relevant information that empowers their health decisions.
- Continue to use/share patient information about radiology in paper form. Putting the information in writing enhances the transfer of information to the patients. It also acts as a memory aid for patient and carers.”
- Take patient’s values into consideration. Radiographers, like other healthcare providers, need to consider that a patient’s values are likely different from their own; and that their values will influence the patient’s decisions about their care.
Additional suggestions for radiologists to incorporate value-based practice are captured in a blog by Dr. Ruth Strudwick of The University of Suffolk.
“Patients lose their identity quickly when they come in to the hospital environment,” says Dr. Strudwick. “VBP reminds us that different people have differing values. In addition, one person’s values may vary from one encounter to another, depending on the situation and how they are feeling on that given day. Also, patients may value very different things from various practitioners. Therefore, it is important not to make assumptions about how a patient is feeling or what might be important to them. Each patient must be considered as an individual.”
Balancing technology advances with the human touch. I suspect this will remain a common theme on Everything Rad throughout the second half of the year.
What did you read or experience in radiology during the first half of the year that was interesting? Please comment below.
Katie Remis is the editor of Everything Rad. She is also Carestream’s Worldwide Social Media Manager. Reach her at Katie.Remis@Carestream.com