Advanced visualization: maximizing assets in place
If it wasn’t for bad luck, diagnostic imaging practitioners may feel they would have no luck at all. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 knocked down reimbursement levels, and was followed by back-to-back Medicare payment hikes far below cost-of-living increases. Top this sad state of affairs off with a global economic meltdown that has frozen credit for most new capital equipment acquisitions, and it is easy to forgive those who feel medical imaging has a bleak outlook.

However, innovation is the mantra for diagnostic imaging in terms of modalities, information systems and workflow; a corollary is its ability to maximize these assets in place by delivering new procedures and protocols that improve patient care. Advanced visualization technology is leading the way, allowing clinicians to expand the capabilities of their existing diagnostic toolkit.

For example, airway stents are used to treat patients with an airway obstruction from a variety of malignant and benign disorders; unfortunately, patient complications from airway stents are common

Invasive bronchoscopy is the most commonly used procedure for detecting and treating these complications, but a recent study by Boston-based researchers indicates that virtual bronchoscopy with CT may be a preferred, non-invasive method for stent surveillance.

Researchers performing virtual bronchoscopy reported that the procedure correctly identified 97 percent of the complications in their study cohort, as well as three of four stent fractures.

To find out more about their research, and other possible benefits of virtual bronchoscopy, please go here.

In related news, the utilization of 3D power Doppler ultrasound may hold promise to reduce or eliminate some biopsies for patients with suspected breast cancer.

Researchers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor put the technology through its paces and report clinically impressive results. The team demonstrated a sensitivity of 100 percent in identifying cancerous tumors and a specificity of 86 percent in excluding benign tumors in its study.

If your group is interested in finding out more about the capabilities of advanced visualization technology, head over to our Healthcare TechGuide and check out the variety of systems available.

In related news, our RSNA 360 technology previews are now available.

We’re showcasing the latest offerings in 18 product categories of diagnostic imaging and information technology scheduled for display and demonstration at this year’s RSNA conference in Chicago, including Advanced Visualization.

Lastly, if you have a comment or report to share about the utilization of advanced visualization technology in your practice, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Web Editor