Imaging technologies and analysis has greatly improved the field of diagnostics. Research and development in this field includes all aspects, from limitations due to the physics of tissue penetrating waves, data collection, analysis turnover time and patient care are always under improvement. The latest and greatest of integrated technologies is the PET/MRI scanner. As of March 2015 it has been installed at four locations and is thus far well liked by radiologists. Another technology that is avidly being pursued by researchers is cell specific fluorescent antibody binding and detection for early diagnoses, to track and treat different types of cancers. This area of research remains primarily in the pre-clinical stages still and while a few kinks still remain, the research looks promising and will be revolutionary.
With the increasing quality of data and diagnostic applications of radiological procedures, has come a need for increasingly better software systems and networking platforms to be sure the job is done right. Many hospitals opt to outsource IT and networking services to groups that specialize in these areas, since they can become quite costly to already stretched hospital budgets. For example, there is a patient in rural Oklahoma that receives a PET/CT scan looking for cardiovascular lesions due to a minor heart attack the patient had recently experienced. The attending radiologist looks over the results and sees nothing wrong. The hospital is a client of Imaging Advantage, the data is automatically uploaded to their cloud and in under one hour analysis is completed by three other attending radiologists at different hospitals. Positive results for arterial damage are found. That is not to say that M.D.s in Oklahoma are incompetent, it just so happened that this M.D. had never seen this type of damage and was unable to make the proper diagnosis. By using services offered by Imaging Advantage, the patient’s prognosis is known and can now undergo treatments to increase life expectancy. Imaging Advantage, backed by Goldman Sachs, is working to reform and democratize health care with cloud technology which will close quality gaps between areas of high and sparse population densities. They literally save hospitals millions of dollars each year and guarantee that with their exceptional networking abilities data will be analyzed by the appropriate M.D. in a short amount of time. One of the major concerns about putting this type of data in the cloud is security and that is where this company really shines. Before they took on the medical data sharing industry, they worked with data from the DoD in the cloud and hold encryption certification through the FDA, which ensures that data is shared in accordance with HIPAA standards.
Since its inception, Radiology has certainly come a long way and stands to go much further. Who knows, maybe in the near future, rather than a routine checkup, there will be an annual scan. No poking or prodding and be in and out in under thirty minutes; how great would that be?