Tag: healthcare

Learning from the Pandemic

Radiology – the ‘gatekeeper’ specialty to unlocking the potential of digital health

Can radiology become the most important medical specialty in the field of digital health?

This was one of the questions posed as part of Fujifilm’s Healthcare’s Digital European Tour, a series of virtual events designed to highlight the contribution radiology has been making during – and after – the pandemic.

The event saw clinicians from across Europe share their experience of Covid-19, and the vital role radiologist have and can play in the fight. 

And according to Professor Thomas Vogl, Director of the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at Frankfurt University Hospital, radiology services will be vital to the future of healthcare. Citing the example of a network of hospitals across Germany sharing lung CT scans to help diagnose Covid, Prof Vogl believes the opportunities are enormous. He described how the potential of artificial intelligence when combined with innovations in radiology, could transform the way we approach diagnostics across a number of illness areas.

The central role of radiology in the evolving use of diagnostics was a recurring theme of the whole event, which heard reports from speakers based across Europe. 

And while advances in technology can never replace physicians – a point made by Ing. Giovanni Delgrossi, Director of Information Systems ASST Vimercate in Italy – it can transform the speed and effectiveness of our physicians; and radiographers could be the ‘gatekeepers’ to unlocking this potential. 

It is a development that Ing. Delgrossi believes could help move healthcare from being reactive, (even passive) to being proactive – to finding and treating more health problems, more quickly. This belief is fed by his experiences during the pandemic. 

In Vemercate, they were able to use artificial intelligence to scan an average of 80-90 chest x-rays per day and separate the Covid positive from the Covid negative; helping them to identify over 900 Covid patients. However, the importance of radiology doesn’t simply fit within the confinement of the height of the pandemic. 
(Read the full case of Vimercate Hospital downloading Take Away 17 here: synapse.fujifilm.eu/fujifilm-takeaway/ )

The problems of care and diagnosis backlogs threatens health systems across Europe. In Italy for example, 521,000 (12%) fewer new diagnoses were made, and the number of patients starting a new treatment fell by 277,000 (10%). This is a picture that speakers from across Europe shared; In Germany, half of surgeries have been postponed; In France, new diagnoses of cancer were down 23%, and 2.2m operations were canceled; and in the UK, 1.7m people were waiting more than 18 weeks to start a new treatment. This combines to create a Europe-wide tidal wave of patients waiting to be diagnosed and treated. 

The role of innovative radiological solutions in helping to work through these backlogs was highlighted as being potentially crucial. Fiona Thow, formerly of NHS Improvement in England talked about how Fujifilm’s Xair, a portable x-ray unit, was transforming the way in which care could be delivered. She described how, by taking care out to community diagnostic hubs nearer the patients, they could identify and triage patients more quickly, and help keep patients away from acute centres, allowing them to focus on the patients that require acute care. 

And in France, radiologists are collaborating across Europe to share data on breast imaging to help identify how big a backlog they are likely to face so that they can continue to identify as many cases of breast cancer as early as possible, giving patients the best possible outcomes. 

While there is much to be concerned about – the impact of Covid is profound and will be long term – there is enormous pride that radiologists can, and are, playing such a key role in helping to deal with the pandemic’s effects. For us at Fujifilm, there is a tremendous affirmation in that; what we do really matters. That by never stopping innovating, and producing new technologies, we have helped our health services across Europe cope with the pandemic. And that by continuing to produce the technologies that we do, we are helping to equip not just our radiologists, but the entire multi-disciplinary care team – with the tools they need to minimise the impact of the pandemic on patients and maximise the effectiveness of their care.

If we can collectively achieve that, then perhaps we will be able to say that radiology really is the gatekeeper specialty to unlocking the potential of digital health.

AT YOUR SERVICE – Anika Sand

Anika Sand, Application Specialist for Fujifilm Germany’s Medical Systems division, servicing hospitals in Germany, shares her experience and feelings during the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to the rapid developments of the Corona situation, we would like to point out that we conducted the interview in 2020.

– We are at your service. During the current Coronavirus pandemic our technicians and application specialists are working on the front line alongside healthcare professionals to make sure patients can be diagnosed and treated. These are their stories. –

Fujifilm: When the Coronavirus pandemic reached Germany, what were your first thoughts?
Anika Sand: At the beginning, when Corona reached Germany, I was probably concerned about whether and how the pandemic would affect my work – not only for Fujifilm but especially for doctors, nurses and patients. The facilities, like hospitals or doctor’s practices, had to prepare for the situation within a short time. Life outside of hospitals also became more difficult for everyone.

Fujifilm: We would like to get to know you better. You are Application Specialist for Radiography for Fujifilm in Germany. Can you describe your role?
Anika Sand: My job is to look after our customers immediately after installation of our Medical Systems on site. I do the briefings with the operating staff, set up the software according to the customer’s wishes and needs. Also, I change the image processing in cooperation with the doctors, if this is desired. At Fujifilm, we work as one team, so I accompany demos to support my sales colleagues, too.

Fujifilm: What motivates you to go to work every day?
Anika Sand: I have been working for Fujifilm for almost 7 years now. Previously, I had worked as an MTA in a radiology practice and was looking for a new challenge. At Fujifilm, I never have the feeling of “stopping” due to our extensive product portfolio and the constant new developments. I look after our digital X-ray systems, mobile and portable radiography solutions, the field of mammography and our CT. Naturally, during COVID-19 we have experienced a shift in demand, especially of our mobile X-ray devices. So, the customers I look after are mixed. This can range from a radiological, gynecological or surgical practice to a university clinic. It can be very enriching to work with customers and being able to show the latest technology to them.

Fujifilm: How do you support the hospitals, doctors and nurses in the current situation?
Anika Sand: During this time, our workload has increased because appointments on site must be carefully planned and prepared. Overnight stays in hotels have also become more difficult, since the rules for protection must also be observed there. My actual job I do the same way as before. Only the “how” has changed – and it has changed a lot. The support is not much different either. Certainly you need to do certain things by phone or online, but working directly with customers usually would be the most efficient way of working – interaction is easier and more direct, you can explain and show face-to-face. I still can, and need to, go to the clinics for my work. I am responsible for radiology operation working smoothly on our devices, regardless of whether it is about the operation or the setting of the images.

“I have hoped from the start that we as society overcome this crisis and everyone can quickly get back to “normal” while learning from this experience.”


Fujifilm: What has changed on site – in hospitals and doctor’s practices – for you?
Anika Sand: I always have a facemask or face covering with me. I also bring disinfectant with me, but it is available at the customer’s sites in all departments. Even before COVID-19, the entrances to the clinics were equipped with disinfectant dispensers. It is good to experience well-managed crisis management in hospitals with all German clinics that I have worked with being well prepared. However, the uncertainty about what the future holds is there. In the meantime, however, the clinics are back in relatively normal operation, which until recently had been severely shut down. I feel safe working at home and at hospital appointments. And for sure, working with a facemask is necessary and can be lifesaving, but is a bit difficult because the air underneath gets quite thin after a lot of talking. A “regular” workday therefore can get quite exhausting.

Fujifilm: What has changed at home and at work?
Anika Sand: Not that much has changed for me. I would normally work at home. So, this is nothing new for my partner and me. At work the situation is very different though. Personal meetings and training cannot take place. Nevertheless, the team has worked out how to exchange information in the home office via regular web meetings to keep everything going as best as possible.

Fujifilm: What have you learned during your recent work in the Coronavirus pandemic?
Anika Sand: My job includes a lot of travelling; I often need to be on site with the doctors and nurses to support them as best as possible. Therefore, possibilities of travelling and overnight stays are heavily necessary to do my job. At the beginning the problem was that many hotels and all restaurants had to close and it was difficult to find something to stay overnight let alone find something to eat after a whole day of work. It was good to experience that problems can be seen as challenges and big and small ones can often be solved according to rules and thinking creatively at the same time. For example, a colleague and I simply had a socially distanced picnic at our hotel one evening. I have hoped from the start that we as society overcome this crisis and everyone can quickly get back to “normal” while learning from this experience.

To download the interview in our Whitepaper format (pdf) please have a look at our AT YOUR SERVICE homepage here.

Fujifilm Donates Anatomical Markers to Zambia

In Zambia, there is limited healthcare provision, and in particular a great need for radiology equipment, accessories and services. Brigitte Kaviani, Deputy Operations Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, has been working in collaboration with Zambian radiographers since 2017.

Brigitte works closely with Sydney Mulamfu, Head of Radiology at Livingstone Central Hospital, and together they have helped educate radiographers with a library of books donated from the UK.

The response from the UK radiology community to this project has been wonderful. Both radiology staff and UK companies have donated books, markers and equipment, but there is still a considerable need for further donations. I’m very grateful to Fujifilm for their contribution, every donation makes a huge impact.”

 Brigitte Kaviani

As well as helping to advance their radiology skills,the project also trains radiographers in basic first aid, so they can support their communities in emergencies. Anatomical markers and other medical devices are in short supply in the country, and over the last few years Brigitte has sourced hundreds of markers and radiology books, and has also helped supply crucial items healthcare equipment.

Fujifilm recently donated 100 anatomical markers to the project, and Brigitte delivered them to Sydney and his students earlier this year.

“We are delighted to have been able to help in a small way with the donation of anatomical markers for Zambia. We understand the desperate need in the country for healthcare equipment, and Fujifilm will be looking at how else we can support Zambian radiographers in the future.”

Steve Leatherland, Modality Business Unit Manager at Fujifilm

International Day of Radiology

Fujifilm wants to dedicate this day to all radiologists and radiographers supporting patients during COVID-19.

On November 8, radiologists and healthcare professionals across the world celebrate the International Day of Radiology (IDoR 2020). Let’s celebrate together!

The International Day of Radiology (IDoR) is an annual event promoting the role of medical imaging in modern healthcare. It was introduced in 2012, as a common initiative of the European Society of Radiology (ESR), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and the American College of Radiology (ACR). 

IDoR was launched to develop greater awareness of radiology and the vital role radiologists play in patient care. Since 2012, every year the associations chose a theme for the day, in 2019 sports imaging has been chosen as the main theme of the day. This year International Day of Radiology will be dedicated to all imaging professionals and their indispensable role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic making a vital contribution to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

But let’s see why the associations chose November 8. 

That’s the day that Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the existence of x-rays in 1895. 

Roentgen’s experiments at Würzburg focused on light phenomena and other emissions produced by discharging electrical current in “Crookes tubes”.

On November 8, 1895, Roentgen learned the fluorescence was produced by invisible rays originating from the Crookes tube he was using to examine cathode rays (later known as electrons), which punched the dark black paper wrapped around the tube. The earliest photographic plate from his experiments was a shot of his wife Bertha’s hand where her wedding ring clearly visible. After Roentgen plunged into seven weeks of meticulous planned and executed experiments to verify his observations and enhance his scientific data, on December 28, he presented his “temporary” communication, “On a New Kind of Rays,” in the Proceedings of the Würzburg Physico-Medical Society. The world and the medical society recognized very quickly the importance of Roentgen’s discovery. Only two months later the x-rays were finding their first clinical use in the US. 

His discovery allowed Roentgen was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1901. When questioned what his feelings were at the moment of discovery and experiments, he simply replied: “I didn’t think, I investigated.” We would like to remember that Roentgen never sought honours or financial profits indeed he never took out any patents on X-rays, to guarantee that the world could freely serve from his work. 

Let’s confirm that 8th November is the perfect time to celebrate radiologists and a great scientist by sharing the stunning medical, scientific and artistic possibilities of medical imaging and highlighting the essential role radiologists play.