Innovation, disruption, utility

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

As I browse the plethora of ultrasound news and reflect on advances to be highlighted in a matter of weeks at RSNA, a few compelling adjectives spring to mind: innovation, disruption, utility.

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology annual meeting, held last month in Philadelphia, displayed the latest in handheld ultrasound technology. While the pocket-size gadgets pack a powerful punch, they have the potential to disrupt echo workflow. The systems diffuse ultrasound technology but also require physicians to consider new clinical models.

However, at the conference, Dr. Alfred A. Bove, past-president of the American College of Cardiology, told Health Imaging News that the iPod-like devices can help with the management of heart failure patients, in the office or at the bedside.

In general, ultrasound is being viewed in a new light as study after study explores the dangers of radiation dose. A number of researchers suggest clinicians consider ultrasound instead of modalities that produce ionizing radiation in indications where ultrasound is appropriate.

At the same time, interest in ultrasound contrast agents is on the upswing (again). Development and approval of ultrasound contrast agents could boost accuracy and encourage greater use of ultrasound in the triage model.

Additionally, advanced imaging techniques are creating new avenues of interest for ultrasound. For instance, the National Institutes of Health recently issued a multi-million dollar research grant, for researchers to assess combining ultrasound and MR methods for prostate cancer imaging.

Finally, better automation always fuels healthcare technology adoption. This is particularly evident on the breast imaging front but also could deliver improved guidance for needle biopsies.

As always, I’m eager to hear your take.

Lisa Fratt, Editor