Managing Health through Technology

The healthcare industry was forced to quickly lean more into technological thanks to the pandemic. Patient images have not changed, but modifications have made it possible to use consumer technology in new, unexpected ways. What are some of the novel workflow efficiencies and patient experiences that have cropped up since 2020? Here are some examples: 

Smartphones and Tablets

Providers can access images and reports virtually anywhere, thanks to smartphones or tablets. When it comes to commonplace technology, phones are ubiquitous. By using secure apps to access reports and images from anywhere, data breaches are not an issue since no information is stored on the device. Previously, physicians needed to sign in each time they wanted to check an imaging report. Now, these newer advancements allow the provider to sign in automatically. Text messages and alerts can be set up to notify the physician when reports are complete. With minimal effort, physicians can now transfer information to each other accordingly, seeing data in real-time.

QR Codes

First developed in 1994, these codes have made a comeback during the pandemic. Whether it’s for a restaurant menu, contactless payment, or essential information sharing, these scannable codes are seemingly everywhere. Now, physicians can use these codes to send reports to patients and providers instead of burning images to a Compact Disc (CD) or printout. QR codes allow for a more effective, efficient workflow. Patients can get images with ease, on their device of choice, without remembering usernames or passwords.

Web-based Viewer

Cloud technology allows web-based viewers to take a patient-focused methodology. It not only makes the Electronic Health Record (EHR) more effective, but it also consolidates information from different parts and gives a more holistic view of the patient’s record. Patients can also enjoy a web-based universal viewer to track their entire health story on a mobile device.

Old technology can be used in new ways. Today, imaging groups are using consumer-based technology to facilitate physician-patient relationships. COVID-19 accelerated the process; the innovations of the future might be the technology of today.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Five Tips for Radiology Fundraising

A growing number of academic institutions are relying on the generosity of others to implement otherwise too-expensive ideas or changes. Fundraising is an imperative aspect of many organizations, including the radiology field. Having a basic knowledge of fundraising is essential to your success.

President of Johns Hopkins University from 1996 to 2009 and radiologist William Brody, M.D., Ph.D., laid out some guidelines for successful fundraising in the April edition of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

“Whether you are a newly-appointed assistant professor of radiology, a dean of the medical school, CEO of a health system, or a university president, knowing how to raise funds is critical to your success and the success of the department or organization you represent. Fundamentally, fundraising is selling. I am not talking about your grandfather’s used car salesman. Selling is a universal skill that can be learned,” Brody said.

Relationships: Fundraising is also called friend-raising for a reason. To develop long-term relationships, make meaningful connections with donors who will support your departments or institution for the long haul. It is perfectly acceptable to return to donors who have contributed in the past, as they are most likely to donate again.  

Trust the process: Whether you seek a research grant, new building, or an endowed professorship, there are four key steps to achieve success: attention, interest, desire, and finalizing. Ensure you are following the process to attract donors.

Invest wisely: Use your own money to contribute to staff who can help cultivate donors, conduct background research, investigate prospects, develop brochures and other media, demonstrate, advertise, etc.

Speak out: When donors are looking to donate to a cause, radiology isn’t always top of mind. The lack of face-to-face contact radiologists have with patients makes it essential to be proactive. Don’t be intimidated – fundraising isn’t necessarily effortless. It is critical for your career, so try to learn the best you can.

Embrace technology: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an integral part of radiology. Many tech donors are drawn to the AI sector, so be sure to entice prospects from a wide range of fields, including other areas of medicine, technology leaders, venture capitalists, and even patients with relevant interests.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Four Ways Radiology Can Reduce Its Climate Change Impact

Typically, climate change (a.k.a. global warming) is associated with planes, trains, and automobiles using fossil fuels, hazy skies, and radioactive plants pushing clouds into the atmosphere. However, the radiologic industry plays a more significant role than you might imagine, and industry leaders say the time to reduce that impact is now.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, a team of industry experts, including Geraldine McGinty, M.D., MBA, president of the American College of Radiology (ACR), issued a call-to-action statement.

“Radiology is well-positioned to spearhead climate change action in our practices and the healthcare system at large. Addressing climate change provides an opportunity to improve healthcare delivery and increase value of care using a different problem-solving approach,” said the team.

The Yale University School of Medicine released data that shows 10 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions (and nine percent of harmful non-greenhouse air pollutants) originate from the United States healthcare system.

Radiology is a significant contributor to each hospital’s energy use. In Switzerland, as the team pointed out, their three CT and four MRI scanners accounted for four percent of the hospital’s overall energy use. Being more environmentally conscious isn’t specific to the industry; it’s a patent priority as well. In the United Kingdom, a survey conducted showed that 92 percent of patients also consider sustainable healthcare operations vital.

Substantial energy use: Radiology utilizes an enormous amount of energy. In the span of a year, cumulative consumption from one CT scanner can equate to five four-person households. A single MRI uses nearly as much as 26 four-person residences. If at all possible, opt for ultrasound instead. Not only is it cheaper, but it also uses less radiation and has a lower environmental impact. Moreover, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to shorten MRI protocols can lower energy use. To further reduce the carbon footprint, implementing life cycle analyses can quantify the environmental impact of various modalities.

Standby mode: To reduce the amount of energy used by the imaging machines, use standby mode. Even when idle, they are consuming significant amounts of energy, according to the team. Cooling machines take an equal amount of energy to operate. The team recommends a 24-hour operating cycle, as well as exploring energy-efficient HVAC systems and imaging technique improvements.

Power down: Though leaving the PACS off overnight might be more convenient and efficient for workload management, the team suggests turning the machine off overnight. A hospital in Iceland left its systems on overnight and accumulated 25,040 kilowatts of energy, producing 17.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These levels are equivalent to the emissions produced by four passenger cars annually. To decrease costs and improve energy efficiency, powering down can be an easy way to accomplish these goals. Additionally, the team suggested reducing excess packaging in your procedures to drive down the environmental costs in production and disposal.

Opt for clean energy: The team said now is the time to shift from fossil fuels and lean toward renewable energy. As prices are dropping, several facilities are already making progress. For example, Kaiser Permanente has achieved carbon-neutrality, and Gundersen Health System is already net carbon positive.

To make these changes a reality, radiologists need to become activists, according to the team. Lobby local ACR chapters to join national efforts or reach out to specialty societies to further push environmentally sustainable radiology. Publishing carbon footprints can help other medical departments understand the environmental dangers associated with over-utilization.

Radiologists are urged to join the Medical Society Consortium on Climate Health, which includes 29 national medical societies, as suggested by the team.

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RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

 Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Disney and Philips Partner to Improve MRI Exams for Children

For the first time in its history, Disney will collaborate as part of a clinical research project. Children who undergo MRI might soon experience custom-made animation, including specially made Disney stories within Philips Ambient Experience. This solution integrates architecture and design to enable technologies such as dynamic lighting, video projections, and sound to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Six hospitals across Europe have been selected to begin trials this summer; the results will be compiled and released in the fall or winter. Philips will test its Ambient Experience program using animated stories showcasing some of Disney’s most beloved characters. Disney animators will create six pieces of original, stylized Disney animation for use in hospitals. The idea is aimed at reducing fear and anxiety often felt by children who undergo MRI.

Well-known characters such as Mickey Mouse, Ariel, and those from Marvel’s Avengers, Star Wars, and others will appear in a diagnostic setting for the first time. The results from the six leading hospitals in Europe will be analyzed to alleviate children’s anxiety, create bonds, and improve staff’s ability to carry out their MRI-related tasks.

MRI scans and other medical exams can be challenging for some adults, and especially for children who are anxious, claustrophobic, or naturally wiggly. The Philips Ambient Experience currently has 2,000 installations worldwide. Its goal is to mitigate those difficulties by creating an engaging, multi-sensory imaging environment that is welcoming and relaxing for children and adults alike.

Patients can select a theme of their choice, personalizing the room’s lighting, video, and sound. Ambient Experience Patient In-bore Connect supports feelings of empowerment and control, as it lets patients relax, follow directions, and minimize motion once they are within the MRI. For younger pediatric patients, this is important to explain scan duration, helping them remain still, and reduces the need for repeat scans.

This new collaboration unifies Philips’ vast clinical knowledge and expertise with Disney’s masterful, engaging storytelling. A sense of familiarity, control, and comfort will surely result from the joint effort.

Jan Koeppen, President, The Walt Disney Company, EMEA, said, “At Disney, we look forward to complementing Philips’ MRI experience with our stories and characters. We are excited to see the results of the clinical research and to quantify the impact our characters can have in this environment.”

Through Aladdin and Jasmine on a magical carpet ride or Spiderman carefully swinging through skyscrapers, each story is customized and designed to support children in their MRI experience.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

COVID-19’s Body Self-Attack is Evident through Imaging

Recent radiology findings published in Skeletal Radiology by a Northwestern Medicine team pinpointed the causes of COVID-19 symptoms. CT, MRI, and ultrasound images unmask the virus’ pathways within the body and how it prompts the immune system to attack itself.

Sore muscles and achy joints are common symptoms of COVID-19 in some people. For others, the virus can spark otherwise dormant (or managed) rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune myositis, or swollen and discolored toes, called “COVID toes.”

Corresponding author Swati Deshmukh, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine, said, “We’ve realized that the COVID virus can trigger the body to attack itself in different ways, which may lead to rheumatological issues that require lifelong management. Many patients with COVID-related musculoskeletal disorders recover, but for some individuals, their symptoms become serious, impacting the quality of their life, which leads them to seek medical attention and imaging.”

Patients admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital between May 2020 and December 2020 were examined with CT, MRI, and ultrasound. Their results were analyzed and used to discover why certain people have lingering musculoskeletal symptoms post-COVID-19. 

Edema, inflammatory changes in tissues, hematomas, and gangrene were all expressed in the patients; additionally, some images showed enlarged nerves which indicate injury or blood clots.

With these scans, radiologists can better direct patient care by steering them to a rheumatologist or dermatologist for further treatment. Radiologists could also suggest a COVID-19 diagnosis in patients who might have been unaware they had the virus. Overall, radiologists can use this information to improve patient outcomes. If a radiologist is familiar with the rheumatoid arthritis-prompting effects of COVID-19, they can send a patient with visible joint inflammation to a rheumatologist for further evaluation.

The study explores several types of musculoskeletal abnormalities, including visual samples of what radiologists should look for. Imaging providers should be alert and note the likelihood that pertinent findings are lurking in those images. This was (and is) not standard practice, because many radiologists were unsure what they were looking for. Now, with the results from this study, there is a clearer picture and understanding of the COVID-19’s progression.

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RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.


Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:
www.cpsmi.com.

Researchers Better Understand Sleep Patterns with MRI

Stages of deep sleep can significantly change our consciousness, just as it does in a coma or under anesthesia. Scientists have hypothesized that brain activity declines when we sleep, using research conducted with electroencephalography (EEG), a process that uses electrodes placed along a patient’s scalp to measure brain activity.

Anjali Tarun, a doctoral assistant at EPFL’s Medical Image Processing Laboratory within the School of Engineering, decided to investigate brain activity during sleep using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.) Dimitri Van De Ville, lab lead, said, “MRI scans measure neural activity by providing important information in addition to EEGs.” Tarun used EEG to identify when study patients fell asleep, pinpointing the individual sleep stages. The MRI images were later used to produce spatial maps of neural activity, specifying brain states.

Deep sleep is reasonably challenging to achieve while undergoing an MRI, as the machines are quite noisy. Despite the hurdle, Tarun was able to leverage simultaneous MRI and EEG data from roughly thirty people. “Two hours is a relatively long time, meaning we were able to obtain a set of rare, reliable data,” she said. “MRIs carried out while a patient is performing a cognitive task usually last around 10 to 30 minutes.”

The data Tarun collected was surprising. “We calculated exactly how many times networks made up of different parts of the brain became active during each stage of sleep. We discovered that during light stages of sleep – that is, between when you fall asleep and when you enter a state of deep sleep – overall brain activity decreases. But communication among different parts of the brain becomes much more dynamic. We think that’s due to the instability of brain states during this phase.”

Van De Ville said, “What really surprised us in all of this was the resulting paradox. During the transition phase from light to deep sleep, local brain activity increased and mutual interaction decreased. This indicates the inability of brain networks to synchronize.”

Neural networks might be linked to our introspection process, memory, and spontaneous thoughts, all associated with consciousness. “We saw that the network between the anterior and posterior regions broke down, and this became increasingly pronounced with increasing sleep depth. A similar breakdown in neural networks was also observed in the cerebellum, which is typically associated with motor control.” At this point, the researchers aren’t sure why this happens; their findings are a novel step toward a better understanding of our sleep consciousness.

“Our findings show that consciousness is the result of interactions between different brain regions, and not in localized brain activity. By studying how our state of consciousness is altered during different stages of sleep, and what that means in terms of brain network activity, we can better understand and account for the wide range of brain functions that characterize us as human beings,” said Tarun.

For further reading, find the original article from EPFL.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.  

MRI Providers: Watch for Patients with Metal Face Masks & Magnetic Eyelashes

Technologists are well-aware of the possibility of metal burns from MRI machines. Due to the components of an MRI, all metal must be removed prior to patients entering Zone III, the space before entering the scanner room. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to wear face masks in public indoor areas, including medical procedures. Also, of recent fashion trends, women have become more prone to use magnetic eyelashes, a beauty product that is easier to apply and remove. Both have resulted in MRI patient injuries.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement warning health care providers that patients might be injured if they wear face masks with metal parts during a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam. These small metal parts are usually found within the nose area or throughout the mask fabric. Nose clips, wires, ultrafine particles, or antimicrobial coating (silver or copper) can become hot and burn MRI patients.

This note of caution comes as a patient received burns from donning a face mask during an MRI. “The FDA is reminding patients and providers that patients should not wear any metal during an MRI,” according to the statement issued.

The Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics issued a report explaining how magnetic eyelashes are unsafe in an MRI; some lashes can rapidly become moving projectiles. False eyelashes are placed onto magnetic eyeliner (applied to eyelids) or discreetly clamp around natural eyelashes. Patients might forget to mention the eyelashes and MRI technicians might not notice them.

All medical providers should screen patients for MRI safety. Tiny metallic objects within face masks or fake eyelashes can easily slide past an initial assessment. If patients experience burns while wearing face masks, providers are encouraged to report the incident to the FDA. Gathered reports help the FDA improve patient safety.

For more information regarding the FDA’s warning, read the full report. The complete journal article pertaining to magnetic eyelashes can be found here.

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RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Technologists Celebrated during National Radiologic Week

Radiologic technicians have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic more than most people. These technicians have taken a front-seat approach and made a direct impact on the virus outbreak. They work extremely close with coronavirus patients daily, unlike many people throughout the world.

National Radiologic Technology Week (NRTW) marks the centennial celebration for the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT.) It also exhibits and honors those who perform thousands of X-rays, MRIs, CTs, mammograms, nuclear medicine, cardiac and vascular international, and ultrasound procedures weekly. The vital work of radiologic technologists across the nation are celebrated annually during NRTW. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the x-ray on November 8, 1895, which is commemorated by NRTW.

More than 340,000 radiologic technologists have completed chest X-rays, CT scans, and cardiac ultrasounds for COVID-19 patients. These lifesaving procedures have been crucial in detecting and handling virus advancement. When dealing with pandemic patients, proper ventilation placement and ensuring patients receive appropriate care is paramount.

To learn more about NRTW, check out the American Society of Radiologic Technologists website. For more information about purchasing radiologic parts, contact RadParts for all your needs today.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Problematic Body MRI Discrepancy Rates and Errors

Previous studies have outlined disagreement between radiologists and inconsistent secondary interpretations of MRI scans. Researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of Southern California Medical Center have recently published the first study to focus on secondary interpretations of body MRI evaluated by type of likely error. According to the journal article, up to 70 percent of body MRI interpretations have at least one discrepancy. Since most of these errors are cognitive, a push for sub-specialty trained providers to read these studies is crucial.

Interpretation errors, especially those in radiology, are particularly common with MRI scans. Pelvic and abdominal imaging are the most easily misread. These mistakes commonly lead to delayed or improper treatment plans. Discrepancy rates can range from two percent to six percent. Secondary interpretations can be as high as 56 percent, according to existing research.

Researchers retrospectively reviewed 357 secondary body MRI reports captured between January 2015 and December 2018 to determine the actual discrepancy rate. Initial reports were analyzed, and those with discrepancies were divided.

At least one discrepancy was identified in 246 cases, or 68.9 percent. A secondary discrepancy was found in 54 of those cases. Most differences were attributed to cognitive errors (68.8 percent), and secondary discrepancies, considered perceptual errors, accounted for 59.3 percent.

To thoroughly examine the reasons behind these discrepancies, researchers found that faulty reasoning (misclassification of the abnormality) was responsible for 34.3 percent of all instances, including 37.8 percent of primary discrepancies. Additionally, search satisfaction occurred with 37 percent of second discrepancies and 15 percent of overall discrepancies.

The team hypothesized that MRI scans were ordered to answer a specific question. Once that question was answered, the radiologist likely did not examine the rest of the scan for other abnormalities. The discrepancy rates are higher than what was previously reported due to several factors. General radiologists might be unaware of the MRI’s high sensitivity and ability to determine specific diagnoses. Body imaging frequently has the highest error rates, and double-reading by sub-specialists also increases the discrepancy rate.

Read the full article in the American Journal of Roentgenology for more information regarding discrepancy rates and errors. For all your radiation equipment repair needs, contact RadParts today. We have a vast selection of innovative repair solutions that can save you up to 50 percent or more.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

PET/MRI Outperforms PET/CT in Cancer Scanning

German researchers conducted a study in an effort to investigate the difference between combining Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with (MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging compared to PET with Computed Tomography (CT).

The scientists published their findings in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, where they concluded that pairing (PET) with (MRI) is more effective at detecting lesions. This discovery yields a quicker, more effective use of centralized and whole-body staging in a single step. Moreover, it reduces the level of radiation exposure, making them ideal for younger patients.

PET/CT is typically the customary route in oncology imaging and staging due to its high sensitivity and resolution. However, PET/MRI offers higher soft-tissue distinction with lower radiation exposure. This combination has been prevalently dampened because there have not been enough significantly conclusive studies to exhibit both functionality and advantages.

The analysis was conducted by board-certified nuclear medicine physicians and radiologists who determined that PET/MRI made the process of discovering lesions and classifying them easier. Researchers noted that reduction in radiation exposure was perhaps the most significant advantage of PET/MRI over PT/CT.

Further studies are needed to improve the detection of nodules with PET/MRI; however, the scientists’ conclusions highlight the increasing potential of hybrid imaging with oncology diagnostics.

Read the entire study here. Looking to upgrade your linear accelerator or radiation equipment? The specialists at RadParts can answer your questions – contact us today.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.