Editor's Note: Toward Personalized Medicine
By Dave Yeager
Vol. 18 No. 9 P. 3
There's been a steady drumbeat in the past few years about personalized medicine, and, if you listen closely, it's getting louder. From lab tests to genome sequencing, the search for the holy grail of individualized treatment marches on. In that regard, medical imaging offers inherently personalized pictures of patients' anatomy, but, at the present time, imaging data contain much more information than radiologists can practically use. Although treating people based on their specific biology is still in its infancy, progress is being made in translating these data into useful clinical information.
One example is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to calculate a patient's risk of a cardiac event. In this month's cover story, Dan Harvey details a couple of AI-based technologies that are helping physicians determine their patients' individual risk levels in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
Another example is outlined in Beth Orenstein's article about the combination of ultrasound and optical imaging to potentially reduce the need for breast biopsies, help monitor breast cancer treatment response, and improve detection of ovarian cancers. Reducing unnecessary biopsies is a particularly enticing target, since they result in additional cost, pain, and anxiety. The technology illuminates the vascularity of lesions to help doctors determine appropriate action.
Also in this issue, Keith Loria takes a look at some ways to improve patients' care experience. That's a different kind of personalized medicine, but it's important. More patients are shopping around, and the comfort of the experience is often their most memorable manifestation of the care they receive. Increasingly, patient comfort will play a factor in business operations, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services even takes patient experience into account when determining reimbursement.
Finally, for another patient-centric look at medical imaging, we have a round-up of the latest and greatest research from SNMMI. We're highlighting a cross-section of studies that were presented at its annual meeting earlier this year. Studies that look at PET/MR, new imaging techniques, and novel tracers are just a few of the thought-provoking topics that were discussed at the meeting.
Enjoy the issue.