Category: Acceletronics

Study Finds Over 99% Of Knee X-Rays Following Replacement Surgery to Be Unnecessary

According to a new analysis, the healthcare system is losing millions of dollars due to unnecessary x-rays following total knee replacement surgery.

Experts from The Knee wrote that performing radiographs after surgery is common; however, there is not a lot of data supporting their usefulness.

To better understand, Brigham and Women’s scientists examined specific data for two level one trauma centers. The results showed that nearly 100 percent of scans that took place after total knee arthroplasty had zero impact on medical intervention following the procedure.

Despite not having any effect on clinical management, these routine x-rays cost roughly $1 million and exposed patients to 22.92 mSV of radiation for apparently no reason.

Aseal Birir, an MD candidate at Harvard Medical School, one of the co-authors, wrote, “Since the majority of postoperative radiographs didn’t change clinical management and constituted a significant portion of follow-up care costs, methods to circumscribe unnecessary postoperative radiographs may be an effective cost-saving alternative, while simultaneously increasing the quality of TKA follow-up care by limiting radiographs to nonroutine follow-up visits.”

Adult patients who underwent knee replacement surgery within two different hospitals in 2014 were analyzed. With an average age of 72, a total of 1,258 patients met the study’s criteria. The cost of the average Medicare reimbursement averaged roughly $282 each.

The authors stated, “Further work developing evidence-based guidelines using nonroutine visits for determining the appropriateness of radiographs after primary TKA may be helpful to limit healthcare spending and support virtual postoperative visits after TKA.”

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Ultrasound Gel Recalled by FDA

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled eight lots of Eco-Med Pharmaceuticals ultrasound gel, with contamination being the culprit. Confirmed bacterial infections affected 15 patients who were in contact with the Eco-Gel 200 ultrasound gel. Unconfirmed cases are also suspected.

Eco-Gel instructed customers to immediately halt the use of the gel and return it to the manufacturer if possible.

FDA officials said, “Eco-Med has initiated this recall and quarantine due to bacterial contamination in the affected loss of ultrasound gel with Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bxx). The source(s) of the bacterial contamination is currently unknown. Eco-med is conducting a comprehensive investigation to determine the root cause of this contamination and take all necessary corrective action.”

Patients who encountered the gel can be asymptomatic or develop severe toxicity, such as bloodstream infection, which can result in sepsis or death.

Eco-Med lot numbers included in the recall:

  • Lot number B029 – distribution: March 26, 2021
  • Lot number B030 – distribution: March 30, 2021
  • Lot number B031 – distribution: April 5, 2021
  • Lot number B032 – distribution: April 7, 2021
  • Lot number B040 – distribution: April 26, 2021
  • Lot number B041 – distribution April 26, 2021
  • Lot number B048 – distribution: May 7, 2021
  • Lot number B055 – distribution: May 26, 2021

These brand names were also tainted and are recalled:

  • Chattanooga Conductor USA – DJO Global
  • DJO Conductor – DJO Global
  • Liquasonic – Athena Medical Products
  • MediChoice Ultrasound Gel – Owens & Minor
  • MediChoice Ultrasound Gel – Mac Medical Supply Co.
  • Medline – Medline Industries
  • NDC Eco-Gel 200 Ultrasound Gel – NDC
  • Omni – Accelerated Care Plus Leasing

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Radiology Practice Data Breach Sparks Cybersecurity Implementation

A recently issued press release from Express MRI informed patients of a data breach, in which personal information was in jeopardy. The hackers infiltrated the Express MRI security system through e-mail addresses, exposing clients’ name, home address, e-mail, date of birth, referring physician, body part scanned, and information regarding workers’ compensation or accident investigations. Express MRI stressed that no Social Security numbers, financial or insurance information, or patient images were accessed.

The data breach highlights the importance of implementing cybersecurity in information technology systems. Data breaches are only one aspect of hackers’ skillsets. Ransomware attacks have been exponentially rising worldwide. A type of malware, hackers use ransomware to hold the victim’s information “hostage” until they fork over monetary funds, usually in the form of cryptocurrency.

According to the FBI, losses resulting from ransomware are estimated to total $18 million, and could be higher. Between 2019 and 2020, ransomware attacks soared by 62 percent worldwide – 158 percent in North America alone. The FBI’s annual Internet Crime Report showed their ransomware complaints increased by 20 percent from 2019 to 2021. In 2020, the combined total ransomware attacks equaled roughly $29.1 million, rising more than 200 percent from 2019.

Nearly every industry is affected by hackers, who are targeting municipalities, businesses, medical industries, financial businesses, and educational institutions worldwide. Medical industries, specifically, are an ideal target for hackers, as they store sensitive health and financial data – precisely what hackers are looking for.

Protecting your patients and company is imperative. Being proactive rather than reactive is the best tactic, enabling proper cybersecurity and thwarting threats before they occur.   

Want to protect your healthcare company from cyberattacks and ensure hackers cannot access your patient data? Contact the experts at Creative Programs & Systems today. We can help prevent and manage cyberattacks, giving you peace of mind for your business.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Side Gigs Common Among Radiologists and Other Doctors During Pandemic

According to a recently published survey by Medscape, roughly 40 percent of radiologists and other physicians have side jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. These second gigs allow physicians to create an additional income stream or pursue a creative passion project. More than 2,500 United States physicians were surveyed about their jobs, how much they are currently earning, and what they hope to achieve in the future.

Partly due to the COVID-19 income-related loss, more doctors and medical professionals began looking for side gigs. Roughly one in four doctors have a side job in 2021, though the interest in a second job began rising throughout 2020. Nearly 45 percent of those surveyed who picked up a side job during the past year cited pandemic-related hardships.

David I. Beran, DO, emergency physician and writer, said, “I have seen physicians pursue side gigs more and more in recent years. Sometimes they are clinical jobs (moonlighting), sometimes they are not clinical but medical (file review or expert witnessing), and sometimes they are neither (business, investing, real estate, etc.).”

About twice as many men in the medical field have a second job (65 percent) than women (33 percent). Nisha Mehta, MD, a radiologist, founded Physician Side Gigs, a Facebook group with over 80,000 verified physicians interested in pursuing creative ventures or different revenue sources. The group regularly discusses jobs, business skills, financial topics, life in medicine, and physician burnout.

Mehta said, “The data are actually very encouraging when you consider antiquated stereotypes of male and female physicians. To me, it states that despite the challenges that female physicians traditionally face in finding the bandwidth to balance work, family and a side gig … women physicians are finding innovative ways to create fulfillment and flexibility in their careers.”

Between March and May, when the survey was conducted, approximately 75 radiologists were included. Of those, roughly 37 percent said they are working a side job compared to 63 percent who are not. Medical activities such as consulting, expert testimony, chart reviews, and moonlighting are popular alternatives.

Mehta said, “In a healthcare landscape that’s increasingly challenging, the side gig offers physicians an opportunity to do something on their own terms as well as use a different part of their brains. This leads to new skill sets, networks and mental breaks from the stress of their day jobs, all of which can be tremendously fulfilling and ultimately counter burnout.”

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Low-Cost Imaging Reporting Can Help Lower Unnecessary Opioid Prescriptions

A new report published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology suggests radiologists can help drop unnecessary opioid prescriptions by using a low-cost reporting change.

Healthcare providers on the West Coast have experimented with improving patient care by including pertinent information in their reports. Providers can notate treatment options that do not include pain pills, or opioids, in patient files based on prior cases or experience. For example, patients who visit their provider for lower back pain and show no acute injury (normal wear-and-tear) will have a detailed report written in their file by the radiologist, which will significantly reduce the possibility of physician-prescribed opioids.

Lead author Brian Bresnahan, PhD., from the University of Washington’s Department of Radiology, wrote, “Systematically adding age-based prevalence information on imaging reports would require a low level of resources, including a small amount of personnel time for an IT programmer, a manager, and a radiologist.”

This simple yet effective intervention method has proven effective at decreasing opioid prescriptions. The start-up cost is roughly $5,000, which includes pilot-testing with providers. The costs are made up of small amounts of time from a radiologist (six to 12 hours) and imaging ordering providers (one to 8 hours each). One or two days was all it took to implement and involved a radiology IT specialist, with variability depending on the number of clinics, level of experience in imaging departments, and interconnectivity between sites.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Richard Ernst, Inventor of MRI, Dies

Richard R. Ernst, a Swiss physical chemist, and Nobel Laureate, died on June 4. He was 87. Ernst won the Nobel Prize for inventing specific methods to analyze the chemical properties of atoms, which created the foundation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI. He helped improve MRI sensitivity, which was first tested in the 1940s to create images of body organs. 

Born in the same city where he died, Winterthur, Ernst graduated from the federal technology institute ETH Zurich. He spent his entire career there, receiving numerous honors, including the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1991), the Wolf Prize for Chemistry (1991), the Horwitz Prize (1991), and the Marcel Benoist Prize (1986).

In 1963, Ernst began working for Varian Associates as a scientist. During that time, he invented Fourier transform NMR, noise decoupling, and other approaches. In 1968, he returned to ETH Zurich as a lecturer, gradually working his way up to Assistant Professor in 1970, Associate Professor in 1972, and full Professor of Chemistry in 1976 and the years thereafter.

A research group dedicated to magnetic resonance spectroscopy was led by Ernst, director of the Physical Chemistry Laboratory at ETH Zurich. Two-dimensional NMR and several pulse techniques were developed by Ernst, along with magnetic resonance tomography and the NMR structure determination of biopolymers in solution. He also studied intra-molecular dynamics and retired in 1998.

Ernst was a member of the following:

  • Estonian Academy of Sciences
  • US National Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Academy of Sciences, London
  • German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Russian Academy of Sciences,
  • Korean Academy of Science and Technology
  • Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Society
  • World Knowledge Dialogue Scientific Board

Ernst’s awards included:

  • John Gamble Kirkwood Medal (1989)
  • Marcel Benoist Prize (1986)
  • Wolf Prize for Chemistry (1991)
  • Louisa Gross Horowitz Price of Columbia University (1991)
  • Tadeus Reichstein Medal (2000)
  • Order of the Star of Romania (2004)

Ernst had several honorary doctorates including those from:

  • Technical University of Munich
  • EPF Lausanne
  • University of Zurich
  • University Antwerpen
  • Babes-Bolyai University
  • University Montpelier

A 2009 film called Science Plus Dharma Equals Social Responsibility was produced by Carlo Burton and takes place in Ernst’s hometown.

Survivors include his wife, Magdalena Kielholz, and their children Anna Magdalena, Katharina Elisabeth, and Hans-Martin Walter.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Radiation Could Be Less Damaging and More Effective with Trial Drug

An experimental drug has shown the ability to shield healthy tissue from radiation and enhance its ability to eradicate tumors. The study is published in Science Translational Medicine by UT Southwestern scientists. The pharmaceutical, named avasopasem manganese (AVA), has already been shown to prevent acute mucositis (a condition seen in head and neck cancer patients) in clinical trials. For the drug to become a routine part of clinical care, its ability to protect healthy – not only cancerous – cells from radiation needs to be tested.

Study leader Michael Story, Ph.D., professor of radiation oncology at UTSW and member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Experimental Therapeutics Research Program, worked with colleagues to treat cancerous cells with AVA prior to exposing them to radiation. After drug treatment, the cancerous cells were not protected from radiation and appeared to respond more to the adiation than those who did not receive AVA. This was especially true when high radiation doses were administered.

In mice, cancerous cells were allowed to grow into tumors. Before radiation treatment, AVA was administered, and the tumors shrank after being treated. Some of the tumors disappeared completely. Several different tumor types (lung, pancreatic, neck, head) also experienced positive results in animal trials.

Story noted that AVA is currently being tested in phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. “With this drug, the radiation doses we deliver could be profoundly more effective, while at the same time contribute to protecting adjacent normal tissues,” Story said.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Low Doses of Radiation Might Help Severe Alzheimer’s Patients

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed remarkable improvements in behavior and cognition in patients with severe Alzheimer’s following low-dose radiation treatment.

Morris Freedman, M.D., scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute, and head of the neurology division, and senior author of the study said, “The primary goal of a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease should be to improve the patient’s quality of life. We want to optimize their well-being and restore communication with family and friends to avoid social isolation, loneliness, and under-stimulation. Although the study was a small pilot and should be interpreted with caution, our results suggest that low-dose radiation therapy may successfully achieve this.”

In 2015, a case report suggested a patient in hospice with Alzheimer’s disease showed signs of improvement after being treated several times with low-dose radiation to her brain. Her cognition, speech, movement, and appetite were all improved. The patient was eventually discharged from hospice and admitted to a long-term care facility for seniors.

While high doses of radiation are known to create harmful effects on our health, low-dose radiation used in CT scans, for example, can help the body protect and repair itself.

Jerry Cuttler, Ph.D., a retired scientist of Atomic Energy in Canada, has been studying the effects of radiation on health for over 25 years. “Numerous neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, are thought to be caused in part by oxidative stress that damages all cells, including those in the brain. We have natural protection systems to combat the damage, but they become less effective as we get older. Each dose of radiation stimulates our natural protection systems to work harder – to produce more antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage, to repair more DNA damage, and to destroy more mutated cells,” he said.

In the study, four individuals suffering from severe Alzheimer’s disease were treated with three low doses of radiation spaced two weeks apart. The researchers utilized standardized tests in addition to observation to record patient changes in communication and behavior following treatment. They also collected personal artifacts such as photos, videos, and descriptions from the patients’ family members.

Within one day of the first treatment, three out of four individuals showed improvements such as increased alertness and responsiveness, recognition of loved ones, mobility, social engagement, heightened mood, and more.

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Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

Cancer Patients Can Be Protected from Radiation Using a 3D-Printed Shield

Cancer patients could soon be donning a personalized protection shield giving them an extra level of armor against radioactive toxicity while undergoing radiation therapy. More than 200,000 patients in the United States report injuries to healthy tissue from radiation exposure annually. A large portion of the damage occurs in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract leading to oral mucositis, esophagitis, and proctitis.

A team of researchers published a study in Advanced Science that outlines the personalized 3D-printed device that shields radiation from patients. The proof-of-concept was designed by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.)

James Byrne, M.D., Ph. D., a postdoctoral researcher at Brigham and Women’s and MIT; senior radiation oncology resident physician at Brigham and Women’s; MGH; and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said their testing showed “Promising results. When we treat patients with radiation, we do our best to minimize the area of healthy tissue that receives radiation and break up treatment into small doses, but it’s a fine balance. We want to administer the most dose we can to shrink the tumor without causing damage to healthy tissue. Our goal through this project was to find an innovative solution that could offer personalized protection for patients.”

To develop the shield, several types of solid and liquid materials were used. Eventually, substances that block gamma and X-rays were chosen to reduce radiation backscatter. Custom-made designs from CT scans were produced from 3D printers. Rats and pigs were used to test the devices, focusing on whether they impacted the mouth and gastrointestinal tracts. Patients commonly experience side effects of radiation in the esophagus, small intestine, or gastrointestinal tract.

The encouraging results shows that the 3D shield successfully protects healthy tissue in the mouth and rectum of rats. In humans, the device could reduce mouth radiation by 30 percent for head and neck cancer patients. A 15-percent drop in radiation exposure could also be noted for prostate cancer patients without any dose reaction to the tumor.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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

False Positive Cancer Diagnosis Can Result from COVID-19 Vaccine

Several peer-reviewed literature and radiology societies have been sounding alarms that COVID-19 vaccines can cause temporary inflammation and swelling of lymph nodes in some patients. While this is normal, according to experts, it can be a massive cause of concern for radiologists who assume it’s a sign of infection or cancer.

When lymph nodes are abnormal in size or consistency, lymphadenopathy (also called adenopathy) occurs. It commonly produces swollen or enlarged lymph nodes and is causing alarm on mammograms of recently vaccinated women. Patients who undergo CT scans can also exhibit these swollen lymph nodes.

The swollen lymph nodes that result from being vaccinated for COVID-19 are signs that the body’s immune system is gearing up in response to the vaccine. Experts say the inflammatory response will eventually go away. The same reactions have been seen in other vaccines such as human papillomavirus and influenza.

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) journal Radiology: Imaging Cancer published an editorial on April 9 that addresses the concerns and diagnostic dilemma. The authors point out that widespread patient education is necessary. Side-effects such as swelling should be emphasized and normalized as an immune response initiated by the vaccine.

“We write this editorial as a public service message at a time where other countries are starting mass vaccinations programs with the goal of preventing unnecessary nodal biopsies and alleviating patient concern. Imaging studies, clinicians, and news media outlets should spread awareness to educate the public regarding this side-effect to minimize patient anxiety,” the report states.

Recommendations are in place which suggest women should be asked if they have received a COVID-19 vaccine prior to imaging exams. The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) swiftly issued recommendations for how long to wait before imaging women who receive the vaccine.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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