Radiology speech recognition gets brainier

Speech recognition, which has long been seen as a valuable aid to radiology, is getting smarter. Recent months have seen increasing moves to couple speech recognition with artificial intelligence (AI) so machines don’t just hear what you are saying, but understand you, too.

Nuance, the speech recognition market leader whose Speechmagic software is bundled with platforms such as CDxN, has launched an AI-based system that it says can help automate many day-to-day radiology tasks.

And the clinical documentation services provider Saince has a product called Verbatim that is said to offer 99% speech recognition accuracy thanks to AI. The use of AI promises to further enhance a technology that has already been shown to offer major benefits to radiology.

In one study, voice recognition software was found to cut radiology report turnaround times from 28 to 12.7 hours, increasing the volume of verified reports by 5%.

Industry news: teleradiology by the numbers

If accuracy and efficiency are two of the most important requirements for a modern radiology service, new figures from Telemedicine Clinic shows teleradiology can offer them both in spades.

In 2017, the company was dealing with up to around 500 on-call scans a night, with up to 95% of readings being performed within an hour. The discrepancy rate was 4.4%, below Telemedicine Clinic’s 5% target and well under the 20% or so level seen in some studies.

Although the bulk of Telemedicine Clinic’s work was through on-call services provided via specialists in Sydney, Australia, 90% of elective cases were also completed within an hour.

Since Telemedicine Clinic pays its radiologists a fixed wage rather than on a per-scan basis, the high efficiency of the readings is thought to be down to highly efficient workflows and appropriately trained sub-specialists rather than radiologists chasing a premium for extra work.

Despite this, Telemedicine Clinic is still on the lookout for talented radiologists to fill vacancies arising from 17% growth in 2017.

If you would like to find out more about opportunities at Telemedicine Clinic, please check out our website on www.telemedicineclinic.com or click directly on the links below:

Career opportunities

 

Radiology lives: the ultimate spineless patient

A computer tomography (CT) team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) faced an unusual challenge as part of a nano-CT project discussed in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year: they had problems seeing the patient, let alone the scan.

That’s because the CT in question was of a velvet worm or onychophoran, an invertebrate that can be as small as half a centimetre long.

Zoologists from the University of Kassel enlisted TUM’s help in trying to analyse the worms, but first the TUM team had to come up with a new way of achieving high-resolution CT scans of objects so small.

The team invented a new x-ray source which, in combination with an extremely low-noise detector, “produces images that approach the resolution possible with a scanning electron microscope,” says TUM.

The investigators say the technology could help spot malignant tumours from tissue samples, for example. It is also pretty good for looking at very small worms.

 

It’s official: fatigue affects results in teleradiology

We all know the challenges of our profession.

We hold people’s lives in our hands every day, and clinical accuracy and excellence are vital in everything we do – there is too much at stake for it to be any other way.

That’s why TMC has always attached such great importance to its procedures, its training, its technology and its committed approach to double readings. It’s what our clients and our patients expect from us.

However, we also know that fatigue can be a great contributor to poor diagnostic results, something which is unacceptable in our line of work. So, we were interested to read a recent article published by Diagnostic Imaging Europe, which confirms this, based on a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

In the DI Europe article, they reported that radiologists are more fatigued and provide worse diagnostic performances following overnight shifts (ONS). This is something that we are well aware of and it is one of the reasons that TMC offers European radiologists the chance to relocate to Australia, where they can report on overnight cases in Europe during local daytime hours.

This leads to demonstrable improvements in accuracy and efficiency of readings using TMC’s leading edge technology and remote reporting systems. It also leaves plenty of opportunities to enjoy the lifestyle benefits of life down under, including weekends at the beach, sunny barbecues and a fabulous relocation service that takes all the pain out of the process. What’s not to like?

So, if you fancy a change of life, helping European health services get the clinical results they deserve, while making the most of the life you deserve, simply check out the careers page on our website or contact us at careers@telemedicineclinic.com for information about available roles.

And if you’d like to read the full article, just click on the link below:

http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/performance/overnight-shifts-negatively-affect-radiologists-performance?rememberme=1&elq_mid=392&elq_cid=1984328&GUID=9B417B4B-6F01-411D-9132-38305306D59E

Meet the kite-surfing TMC radiologist who’s “living the dream” on the Sunshine Coast

TMC’s flexible approach down under, now means radiologists have the option of swapping the big city for something more peaceful and quiet in some of Australia’s more remote, but stunningly beautiful areas. Technology is breaking down barriers and giving TMC radiologists better opportunities and more flexibility than ever before.

 Meet Dr. Rickard Bohnmark, TMC radiologist, family man, skydiver and part-time kite-surfer, who has recently made the move with his family from the bright lights of Sydney to the beautiful beach resort of Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where he reports from home and relaxes by cooling off in the family pool.

 Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 I’m 42 years old, married to Carolina, who’s a social worker and yoga teacher. We have two kids – Umbria, who will soon be turning 6 and Enzo, who will be 3 in a few months.

 What was it about TMC that attracted you in the first place?

 I’m from Sweden, so the possibility of working in a warm and comfy climate was very attractive. I actually chose to specialise in radiology rather than surgery with the specific idea of working from an offsite location. Back then, I had a Greek girlfriend and I imagined myself reporting for Sweden from a beautiful Greek Island.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

I’ll be doing exactly the same thing in Noosa as I was doing in the Sydney office, but with a different view. I still talk to my Sydney colleagues on a regular basis, either asking for (or giving) second opinions. Now, I simply use chat or phone instead of walking into the next room in the office

What did you do before TMC?

I worked as a consultant interventional radiologist at Linkoping University Hospital in Sweden.

What made you move to Australia and what is it that you find so appealing about the Noosa area?

I love warm climates, and have always wanted to learn to surf. Both were on offer working for ATMC. The decision to move from Sydney to Noosa was partly due to a never-ending quest for an even better climate and partly due to cheaper housing. In Sydney, we lived in a 2-bed apartment within walking distance of the ocean. Now we live in a 3-bedroom house with a swimming pool – and we’re still within walking distance of the ocean. And rent is only a little more than half of what we paid before. Also, we’re now living closer to nature and away from the big city

How easy did TMC make it for you to make the move?

 TMC made it very simple for us. We got good advice and assistance with a relocation agent both when we moved to Australia and after we moved to Noosa, so it couldn’t have been easier.

What are the lifestyle benefits of the new location for you and your family?

Coming from Sweden, winter here in Noosa is like the best Swedish summer day, every day for several months on end. Summer in Noosa is like living in Paradise

What do the kids like most about the new location?

I think the kids appreciate the pool the most. Now in the summer, we swim in it several hours almost every day. My daughter also loves animals and fetches garden skinks (lizards) regularly, so being able to live in a house with a garden is a big plus for us.

Would you recommend a similar move for likeminded radiologists?

Absolutely. I feel very lucky to be able to live and work here. A lot of Aussies would love to live here but have a hard time finding work outside of the big cities. If you love nature and a warm climate, this is the place to be.

From a professional perspective, what are the advantages of this new role?

With our new contract (6 hours instead of 8 hours per day with the possibility to do elective cases after work), the balance between work and family is much better than when I was working in Sweden doing hospital based work

Any interesting or unusual things you’d like to share with us about yourself?

 I’ve been skydiving regularly for around 10 years now but have now picked up kitesurfing and even surfing (to a degree). When I’m not playing with the kids, working or doing anything board-related, you’ll probably find me exploring the countryside on my motorcycle.

 

 

TMC audit confirms: quality is job one

At TMC, quality is job one.

That’s why we took the decision in 2015 to start working with external auditors to independently assess the quality of our radiology reporting services. Since then, as part of our quality improvement cycle, we have arranged regular audits in each section providing us with regular and valuable feedback on how well we are delivering our service.

 It is vital that our customers have complete confidence in the level of service and accuracy of our reporting. After all, lives may depend on it. That’s why we asked a team of highly regarded and independent external auditors, all leading experts in their fields, to review our services and to let us know how well we are doing against our own high standards.

 We’ve been working with independent experts such as Dr. Donald Collie, of Expert Radiology Ltd., who has recently completed his annual TMC audit for Neuro (UK) which had particular focus on clinical accuracy and language.

Dr. Collie said: “Our report recognised TMC’s commitment to remaining “ahead of the curve” in developing tools to improve reporting quality. It also noted the adoption of standardized reporting templates as innovative and progressing on the path to increased electronic integration and artificial intelligence. The report also said that the two TMC templates assessed in the audit are “comprehensive” and will “help to reduce discrepancies from typographic errors, omissions and interobserver variability.”

“These templates are likely to be widely adopted across radiology and we suggested some enhancements to the format of the conclusion section, which would improve communication of radiological findings. The audit summary and details are shared with radiologists across TMC to make sure that all learnings are captured and to confirm that each section is delivering against its own high quality standards.

For businesses like TMC, trust is vital and quality analysis can have a significant impact on patient outcomes. This audit tested our rigorous approach and will continue to build confidence in our methodology. Delivering quality and consistency is TMC’s most important goal and we’re delighted this review has endorsed our approach, especially since it was conducted independently by some of the most important and respected names in our profession.

TMC and Unilabs: building an exciting future together

As we recently announced, TMC has a new owner. Unilabs Pathologie SA, Geneva, Switzerland, purchased all TMC’s shares at the end of last year, giving us an even bigger opportunity to continue delivering against TMC’s core purpose: to bring quality healthcare to all people.

We can now do this on an even larger scale and together we will create the first truly integrated digital diagnostic company combining radiology, pathology and, in the future, genomic solutions. In the shorter term, the fact that we will have more doctors in our teams means that we can start to offer more flexible solutions, including increased access to day time emergency reporting services. Everyone will win from this new relationship. Our clients will get better services, our patients will get better outcomes and our colleagues will continue to operate within a company culture where talented people want to come to build their careers. 

Unilabs is one of Europe’s largest diagnostic service providers, active in Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom. It also runs laboratories in Dubai and Peru and while its main activity is laboratory testing, it has a strong and growing reputation in radiology, histopathology, drug development and clinical trials. It has recently added genomics to its portfolio

So why this deal between our two businesses?

Unilabs recognised that TMC has an outstanding quality assurance system, a high degree of sub-specialization and a strong reputation. Its leadership was particularly impressed by TMC’s achievements in these areas and wanted to use our skills and experience to transform these capabilities within the wider Unilabs organisation.

In the mid-to-long term, we believe that by being part of a larger organisation we can create a leading integrated diagnostic company with strong, interconnected services in radiology, pathology, labs and genomics, including advanced computer-aided diagnostics and artificial intelligence applications. This means we should be able to provide an even better service to our clients and patients.

On behalf of everybody at TMC, I’d like to thank you for your loyalty and support over the years. We remain committed to delivering unrivalled quality and we are grateful for all the positive reactions we have had from all our stakeholders to this news. We are looking forward to working with you, alongside our Unilab colleagues, as we build an exciting future for us all.

Best wishes

Alexander Boehmcker, CEO

 

Personal development: 150 books to make you a better person

It is fair to say that one of the defining characteristics of many radiologists is the desire for self-improvement. Radiology is a profession that demands constant learning and development to deliver the best possible results.

What of personal development outside the medical or scientific sphere, though? If you are interested in books that can help you be a better person generally, there are plenty of self-help volumes to choose from.

For the best of the lot, you could do worse than browse through the more than 150 titles chosen by experts for the website Self Development Secrets.

The list of recommendations, headed by the evergreen self-improvement bible ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, is bound to help you on your path to a better life… even if your immediate goal is just to find a few stocking fillers for Christmas.

TMC’s Hakan Jonsson plants flag on South Pole after epic adventure

Hakan Jonsson has ice in his veins: there can be no doubt of that.

We’ve been following TMC’s very own extreme athlete over the last year as he prepared for one of the toughest races on earth. TMC was proud to support him on his journey, helping him to raise funds for Kids Reach 5, a charity that he passionately supports as it tries to get young children under five back into school in the townships of South Africa.

We’re delighted to report that Hakan has now achieved his fundraising goal through this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Heartbeat caught up with him to find out how it feels to beat the odds at the bottom of the world. Here is an account of the last leg of his amazing journey.

We left Sweden on the 19th of November, by plane from Kastrup to Madrid and then on to Santiago de Chile and Punta Arenas in southern Chile. By November 21st it was time to board the big Russian military plane which would transport us to Union Glacier. The camp was located at almost the same elevation as the geographical South Pole, so now we were officially as far south as you can possibly come.

Even getting our boarding passes for the flight to Antarctica was an awesome feeling. When we got there, the trip to Union Glacier took about four hours. The few steps down to the cold, blue ice were truly surreal. We were greeted by an amazing view of an immense white landscape with only the occasional mountain top breaking the horizon’s solid line. Icy winds pushed us around mercilessly and we had to tread carefully not to slip and fall before our transport, a tracked vehicle that could more easily manoeuvre on the ice, continued.

Because of the heavy winds we were told at around 10am that we would be running by noon, November 24th. The weather forced the organisers to rearrange the lap route, resulting in a four-lap race with a shorter track distance instead of the planned two-lap race. By this point, everything became a rush, changing into the proper clothes and equipment and making all our other preparations. When the race finally began, it was truly amazing.

The first lap went smoothly on the fresh track, but after running about 15km my expedition partner Andreas got a cramp in his calf, which marked the beginning of our problems. At times, we needed to stop completely, or walk instead of running, which just made the cold bite even harder through our layers of clothing. Between laps 2 and 3 we even took a break inside the heat tent to regain some warmth before continuing the race. This pit stop might have lasted almost 30 minutes.

Despite the poor conditions, we pushed on to the finish. Because of the harsh weather, low temperature and fairly regular walking periods, our total race time was not impressive. Around seven hours after we started, we crossed the finish line with the temperature at minus 25ºC, and wind to boot. We were among 53 runners in the marathon and six runners in the half-marathon.

At the start of this adventure, we only had one clearly defined goal: to complete the race and enjoy the experience while it lasted. We did our best, but the last laps in particular were made more difficult by the snow build-up, forcing us to wade through the drifts and battling the constant winds. But all the hard work, training and sacrifice were worth it. As of today, we have collected more than 150,000 SEK to benefit our campaign and, as you can imagine, we met a really interesting group of people along the way

This race is not for everyone. We were a striking gathering of oddballs from all over the globe, including a group of American marines who ran together with the widow of a fallen soldier for the benefit of veterans’ rehabilitating programmes. There were also two runners who completed the Grand Slam, meaning they had run a marathon on the North Pole and were members of the Seven Continents Marathon Club.

Without a doubt, the biggest experience of the journey was passing the finish line. I carried the Swedish flag and Andreas carried another flag emblazoned with the words: ‘TO FIGHT CHILD MORTALITY.’

We had finally done what we had lived, breathed, prepared for and even partially feared for the last two and a half years. It was a feeling of indescribable happiness and joy. We had done something not many had before us. Never in my life have I felt so I proud of myself, or of what we had accomplished together. I feel privileged to, through my running, be a part of something bigger than myself; an important work that tries to create better conditions for children and young mothers to help them gain the opportunity for a better, longer life.

All of our collected money is being invested to the international aid work of the Swedish Church, specifically the Philani project in the townships of Cape Town. Philani was founded by Swedish Dr Ingrid Le Roux and its work with mentor moms is making a huge difference to the most vulnerable children.

We’d like to thank everyone who supported us, including TMC, which was with us right from the beginning of this extraordinary adventure.

Now we look forward to new challenges. My current goal is to run a marathon on the roof of the world, Tibet, by September this year. I plan on topping it off by running on the North Pole and finally get the Grand Slam medallion myself.

 

Interactive Radiology Sessions go “bi-weekly” for radiology departments and individuals

We’re delighted at the continued success of TMC Academy’s highly regarded Interactive Radiology Sessions and are pleased to announce that these ”live” webinars are now being conducted bi-weekly with some of the profession’s most highly regarded sub-specialist radiologists leading the courses. We’ve been running these sessions for a couple of years now after holding individual sessions with Hudiksvall hospital in Sweden. This made us think about how we could make them available to a wider audience and we’ve been constantly listening to our participants and used their honest feedback to evolve and refine our approach.

So, while these sessions were predominantly designed for hospital departments to get collective training in an easy and time efficient manner, the sessions have been adapted so that individual radiologists can now enjoy the same experience from the comfort of their own homes.

This also reduces time away for the individual radiologists, who can join by simply registering for a full year (22 courses) at a time for only 300 euros. The courses now take place every other Thursday at 11:00 CET (there is a short set-up time, 50 minutes lecture and 10 minutes active case discussion) and to make it even easier, all sessions are recorded .

These bi-weekly sessions now offer a rotation of topics throughout the year, so there is something for everyone, whether you’re part of a fully-fledged radiology department (with an unlimited number of participants) or just a passionate professional with an appetite for learning.

Either way, the courses are packed with useful information and there are plenty of chances for participants to use the ”live” chat facility to ask lecturers direct questions during each session.

Plus, even if you’re busy, there’s no need to miss out – all sessions are recorded and can subsequently be streamed via our website.

The first session of 2018 is already under our belt and was well received. We’re looking forward to kicking the next one off already.

For more information please click here for the full annual programme or email the Academy team directly on academy@telemedicineclinic.com

Additionally, visit our website for more information.