Annual screening substantially reduces the risk of breast cancer mortality, but 35% of women who should get mammograms skip them, according to the ACR, which has developed a toolkit to help clinicians discuss the issue with patients. "We can't ignore the fact that lives could be saved if more patients and healthcare providers understood this data," said Dr. Dana Smetherman, who chairs ACR's commission on breast imaging.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology found that 65.8% of nearly 3,000 women surveyed in 2017 were aware of how breast density relates to cancer risk, compared with 57.5% in a prior survey, and awareness was higher in states that have density legislation, as well as among white women. Researchers also stressed the importance of patient-provider discussions, development of consensus about the need for supplemental screening and identifying which supplemental screening tool offers the best benefit.
Several recent ACR studies have shown that burnout is continuing to increase among radiologists, which could lead to patient errors and debilitating stress, and a 2018 ACR study found that "radiology professionals are at greater risk for burnout than most other physicians." To combat burnout, the ACR suggests curbing stressful processes, focusing on efficiency and offering support to radiologists to help them "find joy and meaning in their work." Imaging Technology News (11/20)
A study published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine found that ultrasound-visible biopsy clips together with ultrasound guidance are cost-effective, significantly reduce patient discomfort and are more effective than conventional wires for localizing breast cancers. Using data from 2,209 patients, researchers found that ultrasound-visible clips led to a 13% increase in ultrasound use during tumor resection, and the volumes of biopsy specimen were not greater with the clips, compared with wire localization.
French researchers recruited 41 patients with inoperable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and found that three months after receiving a combination of chemotherapy and selective internal radiation therapy, 98% had tumors that were smaller, remained stable or disappeared. The findings, published in JAMA Oncology, also showed that the median progression-free survival among these patients was 14 months when measured at 36 months, and 22% experienced enough tumor shrinkage to allow for surgery.
The CDC gave interim guidance in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for health care professionals treating patients with suspected e-cigarette or vaping-related lung injury, recommending influenza tests and the influenza vaccine; the use of evidence-based methods to help them avoid using these products; chest imaging or pulse oximetry; and caution when prescribing corticosteroids to outpatients. Most patients with the condition were men and most were younger than 35.
The CMS' final rule for the 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule "finalizes the realignment of evaluation and management (E/M) codes beginning in 2021 that has the potential to significantly reduce reimbursement to radiologists due to the Medicare program's budget-neutrality provision," writes Sandy Coffta, vice president of client services at Healthcare Administrative Partners. Radiologists could face payment reductions for E/M visits of 6% for interventional radiology and 8% for diagnostic radiology, Coffta writes.
Dr. Stephan Hahn, a radiation oncologist and President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the FDA, said he plans to uphold the agency's approval standards for drugs and devices and supports the use of patient-focused endpoints to expedite drug and medical device clinical trials. "I believe strongly in the importance of science, data and the law that have guided and should continue to guide the decision making at the FDA," Hahn said.
All e-cigarette and vaping products that are not approved as smoking cessation tools should be banned for sale in the US, according to the American Medical Association, which also called for the adoption of diagnostic codes for e-cigarette and vaping-associated illness and for policies requiring retail pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products. President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with vaping industry representatives and public health advocates as he considers a proposal to ban flavored e-cigarettes.
A method called "ensembling," or combining several machine learning models, reduced the generalization error of predicting bone age among pediatric patients from a mean absolute deviation of 4.55 months to 3.79 months, researchers reported in Radiology: Artificial Intelligence. This method could help hasten skeletal maturation assessment done by radiologists in children with various conditions, researchers wrote.
Health IT expert John Halamka, executive director of the Health Technology Exploration Center at Beth Israel Lahey Health, says ambient listening technology is untethering health care professionals from keyboards and automatically populating EHRs. Machine learning technology is also alleviating clinical workload, for example, by accelerating review and analysis of medical images, Halamka says.
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