After COVID-19 put healthcare to the test, cutting-edge tools like artificial intelligence will power a future that benefits both doctors and patients.
COVID has spurred rapid changes in how clinicians deliver healthcare and how technology is enhancing everything from diagnostic imaging to data storage. It also changed the format for one of the world’s largest gatherings of radiologists, researchers and medical imaging providers who convene in Chicago for the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, attendees had the choice to join in person or virtually.
No matter how you experienced the show, one thing was clear, while some industries are struggling to rebound from a collapse caused by COVID, healthcare is experiencing a technology boom. Innovation in medical imaging has accelerated, not in spite of COVID-19 but because of it.
New AI-enabled products that meet the increased demand for access to data, streamline processes that improve care and help crunch vast amounts of information to reveal patterns that can improve diagnosis or prevent mistakes are coming to market at lightning speed. Here are some of the technologies and solutions that reflect this transformation launched by GE Healthcare at or in the runup to #RSNA21.
Of all the weapons deployed against COVID-19, one of the least heralded may be X-ray technology, which as it turns out, is a truly important tool in treating severe cases. Doctors treating a patient overwhelmed by COVID-19 frequently turn to an endotracheal tube and ventilator to supply needed oxygen. However, placing this tube can be an imprecise process. Now, a new artificial intelligence algorithm embedded in the latest X-ray scanners helps doctors assess endotracheal tubes placement. The AI quickly alerts caregivers helping them to prevent complications, such as collapsed lungs.
This AI technology, called Critical Care Suite 2.0, is one of roughly 60 innovations GE unveiled at #RSNA21. Among the other advances GE announced are a partnership with the University of Cambridge health system to make better use of patient and clinical data to help improve cancer treatment, and a pocket-sized ultrasound scanner that clinicians can use to diagnose patients outside of hospitals and clinics.
But wait, there’s more.
Up Close And Personal
Years before she began designing Critical Care Suite to make X-ray systems more intelligent, engineer Katelyn Nye experienced firsthand how medical devices can help save lives. Since she was a teenager, Nye has had an implanted defibrillator, a machine that has had to restart her heart more than once. When it comes to innovating technology to help doctors improve patient outcomes, for Katelyn, it’s personal. You can find the story here.
Collaborating To Make AI Work
One of the challenges healthcare providers face is making sense of the copious amounts of data they collect, data that is often difficult for different parts of an organization to access and use. A trio of new partnerships that GE Healthcare announced at RSNA aims to unlock these data silos and speed the application of AI to some of medicine’s most pressing problems. Starting with the University of Cambridge, GE will be partnering with doctors there who are working on how best to deliver cancer treatments. GE will work with clinicians to develop an application that brings together different sources of patient data into a single interface. The other partnerships are with Optellum, a U.K.-based company that helps clinicians diagnose the severity of some lung cancers, and SOPHiA GENETICS, which focuses on digital oncology and radiogenomic analysis. Read about the partnerships here.
The Heroes Among Us
Sometimes the most meaningful improvements make healthcare delivery easier on both patients and doctors. Enter the SIGNA Hero, GE Healthcare’s new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system named in honor of the world’s healthcare workers. This new system is designed to more easily accommodate patients of different shapes and sizes, allowing more patients to be scanned and in more comfort. The SIGNA Hero is designed to use AI to improve image clarity and speed up scanning times by 30% to 50%, which could be a lifesaver for hospitals and clinics facing a huge backlog of nonurgent care from the pandemic. Read more about the SIGNA Hero here.
A CAT Scan With Nine Lives
Computed tomography (CT) scanning has come a long way from the days when machines were too slow to make imaging a patient’s entire body practical. In fact, today, CT technology moves so fast that hospitals and other healthcare facilities have a problem: rapid obsolescence. Whereas new CT technology once arrived every four to five years, today advances come annually, making it challenging for those who purchase these lifesaving systems to plan ahead. Enter the Revolution Apex platform, a modular CT system that, an industry first, allows for upgrades with minimal hassle and that will mean these machines can stay in use longer. Revolution Apex is also fast — fast enough to capture a clear image of the heart in motion, something that CT machines have traditionally had a tough time with. The system’s launch couldn’t come at a more critical time as COVID-19 and other factors have ramped up the demand for such imaging while staffing shortages have become persistent. Read about the Revolution Apex here.
 The device has been verified for limited use outside of professional healthcare facilities. Use is restricted to environmental properties described in the user manual. Please contact your GE Healthcare sales representative for detailed information.
 SIGNA™ Hero is 510(k) pending at FDA. Not yet CE Marked. Not available for sale in the United States or the EU. Not commercially available in all markets.
 GE Healthcare data on file.
 GE Healthcare data on file.
 0.23sec and 19.5msec are 510(k) pending and not available for sales in all countries. 19.5msec effective temporal resolution is achieved by a 6x improvement of motion-blur reduction while maintaining high spatial resolution as demonstrated in cardiac phantom testing. The reduction in motion artifacts is comparable to a 0.039 equivalent gantry rotation speed with effective temporal resolution of 19.5 msec, as demonstrated in mechanical and mathematical phantom testing.