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CT trends from four angles

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | November 26, 2019
CT X-Ray
From the November 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“Radiologists may miss small tumors easily; this is the nature of the perceptual errors (bias) in radiology rooms," Dr. Ulas Bagci, principal investigator at UCFCVRC and lead researcher told HCB News. "Our lung cancer detection study is able to recover small tumors less than 3 mm. In clinical practice, some of these tumors may not be even undergoing biopsy, but they have to be controlled with follow up scans. If missed, that opportunity goes too."

Their work was first published in advance of last year’s Medical Imaging Computing & Computer Assisted Intervention conference. According to Bagci, the S4ND AI platform makes significant progress in reducing false positives often associated with AI research and currently has the highest tumor detection score of any known system.

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"What is significant about S4ND, is the abandoning of multi-step, multi-stage, or multi-scale processing and the complete removal of any post-processing, while producing even higher accuracy detection results ... In short, it's much faster and more accurate," he added.

Bagci said that UCFCVRC has also developed a state-of-the-art AI diagnostic tool for early MR detection of pancreatic cystic tumors. He said that while there is still much work to do, his team believes it can significantly aid radiologists in tumor detection, speeding up read times and delivering an earlier diagnosis.

"Early detection is an important factor in survival rates of patients, and this is an area of radiology that we think AI can help significantly," said Bagci.

ACR pursues legislation to get Medicare coverage for CT virtual colonoscopy
One of the most significant barriers to new medical protocols is getting reimbursement approval from payers. It can be a fine line between what payers see as experimental versus what has been shown to have money saving benefits and provide better outcomes. Getting Medicare coverage for CT virtual colonoscopy, or colonography (CTC) has been an ongoing challenge along these lines.

Nearly 40 states require private insurers to cover virtual colonoscopy and any insurers who take part in federal exchanges under the ACA are also required to cover the exam. For screening advocates, the next step is coverage under Medicare.

A bipartisan bill has been introduced to Congress that would accomplish this and is currently in the House Ways and Means and Energy Commerce Committees, according to Shawn Farley, the director of public affair for the ACR. The bill, which is backed by the US Preventative Services Task Force, would give seniors the same coverage as the privately insured.

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