Side Gigs Common Among Radiologists and Other Doctors During Pandemic

According to a recently published survey by Medscape, roughly 40 percent of radiologists and other physicians have side jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. These second gigs allow physicians to create an additional income stream or pursue a creative passion project. More than 2,500 United States physicians were surveyed about their jobs, how much they are currently earning, and what they hope to achieve in the future.

Partly due to the COVID-19 income-related loss, more doctors and medical professionals began looking for side gigs. Roughly one in four doctors have a side job in 2021, though the interest in a second job began rising throughout 2020. Nearly 45 percent of those surveyed who picked up a side job during the past year cited pandemic-related hardships.

David I. Beran, DO, emergency physician and writer, said, “I have seen physicians pursue side gigs more and more in recent years. Sometimes they are clinical jobs (moonlighting), sometimes they are not clinical but medical (file review or expert witnessing), and sometimes they are neither (business, investing, real estate, etc.).”

About twice as many men in the medical field have a second job (65 percent) than women (33 percent). Nisha Mehta, MD, a radiologist, founded Physician Side Gigs, a Facebook group with over 80,000 verified physicians interested in pursuing creative ventures or different revenue sources. The group regularly discusses jobs, business skills, financial topics, life in medicine, and physician burnout.

Mehta said, “The data are actually very encouraging when you consider antiquated stereotypes of male and female physicians. To me, it states that despite the challenges that female physicians traditionally face in finding the bandwidth to balance work, family and a side gig … women physicians are finding innovative ways to create fulfillment and flexibility in their careers.”

Between March and May, when the survey was conducted, approximately 75 radiologists were included. Of those, roughly 37 percent said they are working a side job compared to 63 percent who are not. Medical activities such as consulting, expert testimony, chart reviews, and moonlighting are popular alternatives.

Mehta said, “In a healthcare landscape that’s increasingly challenging, the side gig offers physicians an opportunity to do something on their own terms as well as use a different part of their brains. This leads to new skill sets, networks and mental breaks from the stress of their day jobs, all of which can be tremendously fulfilling and ultimately counter burnout.”

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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Low-Cost Imaging Reporting Can Help Lower Unnecessary Opioid Prescriptions

A new report published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology suggests radiologists can help drop unnecessary opioid prescriptions by using a low-cost reporting change.

Healthcare providers on the West Coast have experimented with improving patient care by including pertinent information in their reports. Providers can notate treatment options that do not include pain pills, or opioids, in patient files based on prior cases or experience. For example, patients who visit their provider for lower back pain and show no acute injury (normal wear-and-tear) will have a detailed report written in their file by the radiologist, which will significantly reduce the possibility of physician-prescribed opioids.

Lead author Brian Bresnahan, PhD., from the University of Washington’s Department of Radiology, wrote, “Systematically adding age-based prevalence information on imaging reports would require a low level of resources, including a small amount of personnel time for an IT programmer, a manager, and a radiologist.”

This simple yet effective intervention method has proven effective at decreasing opioid prescriptions. The start-up cost is roughly $5,000, which includes pilot-testing with providers. The costs are made up of small amounts of time from a radiologist (six to 12 hours) and imaging ordering providers (one to 8 hours each). One or two days was all it took to implement and involved a radiology IT specialist, with variability depending on the number of clinics, level of experience in imaging departments, and interconnectivity between sites.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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Richard Ernst, Inventor of MRI, Dies

Richard R. Ernst, a Swiss physical chemist, and Nobel Laureate, died on June 4. He was 87. Ernst won the Nobel Prize for inventing specific methods to analyze the chemical properties of atoms, which created the foundation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI. He helped improve MRI sensitivity, which was first tested in the 1940s to create images of body organs. 

Born in the same city where he died, Winterthur, Ernst graduated from the federal technology institute ETH Zurich. He spent his entire career there, receiving numerous honors, including the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1991), the Wolf Prize for Chemistry (1991), the Horwitz Prize (1991), and the Marcel Benoist Prize (1986).

In 1963, Ernst began working for Varian Associates as a scientist. During that time, he invented Fourier transform NMR, noise decoupling, and other approaches. In 1968, he returned to ETH Zurich as a lecturer, gradually working his way up to Assistant Professor in 1970, Associate Professor in 1972, and full Professor of Chemistry in 1976 and the years thereafter.

A research group dedicated to magnetic resonance spectroscopy was led by Ernst, director of the Physical Chemistry Laboratory at ETH Zurich. Two-dimensional NMR and several pulse techniques were developed by Ernst, along with magnetic resonance tomography and the NMR structure determination of biopolymers in solution. He also studied intra-molecular dynamics and retired in 1998.

Ernst was a member of the following:

  • Estonian Academy of Sciences
  • US National Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Academy of Sciences, London
  • German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Russian Academy of Sciences,
  • Korean Academy of Science and Technology
  • Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Society
  • World Knowledge Dialogue Scientific Board

Ernst’s awards included:

  • John Gamble Kirkwood Medal (1989)
  • Marcel Benoist Prize (1986)
  • Wolf Prize for Chemistry (1991)
  • Louisa Gross Horowitz Price of Columbia University (1991)
  • Tadeus Reichstein Medal (2000)
  • Order of the Star of Romania (2004)

Ernst had several honorary doctorates including those from:

  • Technical University of Munich
  • EPF Lausanne
  • University of Zurich
  • University Antwerpen
  • Babes-Bolyai University
  • University Montpelier

A 2009 film called Science Plus Dharma Equals Social Responsibility was produced by Carlo Burton and takes place in Ernst’s hometown.

Survivors include his wife, Magdalena Kielholz, and their children Anna Magdalena, Katharina Elisabeth, and Hans-Martin Walter.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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Radiation Could Be Less Damaging and More Effective with Trial Drug

An experimental drug has shown the ability to shield healthy tissue from radiation and enhance its ability to eradicate tumors. The study is published in Science Translational Medicine by UT Southwestern scientists. The pharmaceutical, named avasopasem manganese (AVA), has already been shown to prevent acute mucositis (a condition seen in head and neck cancer patients) in clinical trials. For the drug to become a routine part of clinical care, its ability to protect healthy – not only cancerous – cells from radiation needs to be tested.

Study leader Michael Story, Ph.D., professor of radiation oncology at UTSW and member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Experimental Therapeutics Research Program, worked with colleagues to treat cancerous cells with AVA prior to exposing them to radiation. After drug treatment, the cancerous cells were not protected from radiation and appeared to respond more to the adiation than those who did not receive AVA. This was especially true when high radiation doses were administered.

In mice, cancerous cells were allowed to grow into tumors. Before radiation treatment, AVA was administered, and the tumors shrank after being treated. Some of the tumors disappeared completely. Several different tumor types (lung, pancreatic, neck, head) also experienced positive results in animal trials.

Story noted that AVA is currently being tested in phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. “With this drug, the radiation doses we deliver could be profoundly more effective, while at the same time contribute to protecting adjacent normal tissues,” Story said.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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Low Doses of Radiation Might Help Severe Alzheimer’s Patients

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed remarkable improvements in behavior and cognition in patients with severe Alzheimer’s following low-dose radiation treatment.

Morris Freedman, M.D., scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute, and head of the neurology division, and senior author of the study said, “The primary goal of a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease should be to improve the patient’s quality of life. We want to optimize their well-being and restore communication with family and friends to avoid social isolation, loneliness, and under-stimulation. Although the study was a small pilot and should be interpreted with caution, our results suggest that low-dose radiation therapy may successfully achieve this.”

In 2015, a case report suggested a patient in hospice with Alzheimer’s disease showed signs of improvement after being treated several times with low-dose radiation to her brain. Her cognition, speech, movement, and appetite were all improved. The patient was eventually discharged from hospice and admitted to a long-term care facility for seniors.

While high doses of radiation are known to create harmful effects on our health, low-dose radiation used in CT scans, for example, can help the body protect and repair itself.

Jerry Cuttler, Ph.D., a retired scientist of Atomic Energy in Canada, has been studying the effects of radiation on health for over 25 years. “Numerous neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, are thought to be caused in part by oxidative stress that damages all cells, including those in the brain. We have natural protection systems to combat the damage, but they become less effective as we get older. Each dose of radiation stimulates our natural protection systems to work harder – to produce more antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage, to repair more DNA damage, and to destroy more mutated cells,” he said.

In the study, four individuals suffering from severe Alzheimer’s disease were treated with three low doses of radiation spaced two weeks apart. The researchers utilized standardized tests in addition to observation to record patient changes in communication and behavior following treatment. They also collected personal artifacts such as photos, videos, and descriptions from the patients’ family members.

Within one day of the first treatment, three out of four individuals showed improvements such as increased alertness and responsiveness, recognition of loved ones, mobility, social engagement, heightened mood, and more.

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Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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Cancer Patients Can Be Protected from Radiation Using a 3D-Printed Shield

Cancer patients could soon be donning a personalized protection shield giving them an extra level of armor against radioactive toxicity while undergoing radiation therapy. More than 200,000 patients in the United States report injuries to healthy tissue from radiation exposure annually. A large portion of the damage occurs in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract leading to oral mucositis, esophagitis, and proctitis.

A team of researchers published a study in Advanced Science that outlines the personalized 3D-printed device that shields radiation from patients. The proof-of-concept was designed by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.)

James Byrne, M.D., Ph. D., a postdoctoral researcher at Brigham and Women’s and MIT; senior radiation oncology resident physician at Brigham and Women’s; MGH; and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said their testing showed “Promising results. When we treat patients with radiation, we do our best to minimize the area of healthy tissue that receives radiation and break up treatment into small doses, but it’s a fine balance. We want to administer the most dose we can to shrink the tumor without causing damage to healthy tissue. Our goal through this project was to find an innovative solution that could offer personalized protection for patients.”

To develop the shield, several types of solid and liquid materials were used. Eventually, substances that block gamma and X-rays were chosen to reduce radiation backscatter. Custom-made designs from CT scans were produced from 3D printers. Rats and pigs were used to test the devices, focusing on whether they impacted the mouth and gastrointestinal tracts. Patients commonly experience side effects of radiation in the esophagus, small intestine, or gastrointestinal tract.

The encouraging results shows that the 3D shield successfully protects healthy tissue in the mouth and rectum of rats. In humans, the device could reduce mouth radiation by 30 percent for head and neck cancer patients. A 15-percent drop in radiation exposure could also be noted for prostate cancer patients without any dose reaction to the tumor.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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False Positive Cancer Diagnosis Can Result from COVID-19 Vaccine

Several peer-reviewed literature and radiology societies have been sounding alarms that COVID-19 vaccines can cause temporary inflammation and swelling of lymph nodes in some patients. While this is normal, according to experts, it can be a massive cause of concern for radiologists who assume it’s a sign of infection or cancer.

When lymph nodes are abnormal in size or consistency, lymphadenopathy (also called adenopathy) occurs. It commonly produces swollen or enlarged lymph nodes and is causing alarm on mammograms of recently vaccinated women. Patients who undergo CT scans can also exhibit these swollen lymph nodes.

The swollen lymph nodes that result from being vaccinated for COVID-19 are signs that the body’s immune system is gearing up in response to the vaccine. Experts say the inflammatory response will eventually go away. The same reactions have been seen in other vaccines such as human papillomavirus and influenza.

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) journal Radiology: Imaging Cancer published an editorial on April 9 that addresses the concerns and diagnostic dilemma. The authors point out that widespread patient education is necessary. Side-effects such as swelling should be emphasized and normalized as an immune response initiated by the vaccine.

“We write this editorial as a public service message at a time where other countries are starting mass vaccinations programs with the goal of preventing unnecessary nodal biopsies and alleviating patient concern. Imaging studies, clinicians, and news media outlets should spread awareness to educate the public regarding this side-effect to minimize patient anxiety,” the report states.

Recommendations are in place which suggest women should be asked if they have received a COVID-19 vaccine prior to imaging exams. The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) swiftly issued recommendations for how long to wait before imaging women who receive the vaccine.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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GE Healthcare Releases Vscan Air, a New Wireless Handheld Ultrasound

A cutting-edge, wireless handheld ultrasound device called Vscan Air provides crystal clear image technology, whole-body scanning capability, and intuitive software.

In 2010, GE Healthcare announced the first color pocket-sized ultrasound called Vscan and has since continued to provide innovation in terms of clinician-patient relationships. Today, over 30,000 Vscan family systems are in use worldwide, impacting more than 50 million patients.

The Vscan Air is GE Healthcare’s latest product that facilitates and transforms the clinical exam by making it easier to acquire high-quality ultrasound images.

Kyle Leonard, M.D., family medicine clinician at Hudson Headwaters Health Network in Upstate New York, said, “The first time I fired up the Vscan Air it did feel a little bit like stepping into the future. Many of us are pressed to see patients, to give patients that access to care, so the more time something takes, the less patients I can provide access to in a day. With the portability and ease of use of the Vscan Air, I can bring it with me throughout the day in each exam room and spend more time with my patients.”

Handheld ultrasound has become an essential tool for clinicians worldwide, as they are treating many critically ill patients with limited staff, time, and resources. The Vscan Air will allow clinicians to rapidly collect images and triage patients while also providing the benefits of portability, cleanliness, and efficiency.

Yale Tung-Chen, M.D., Chief of the Division of Ultrasound in Internal Medicine at Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro, Majadahonda in Madrid Spain, said, “Time is one of the most valuable resources in this pandemic-challenged world, where so many patients need care. Now, I can carry Vscan Air in my coat pocket, take it out, and start to scan. With this powerful tool in my pocket, I can perform a complete examination on my patients and make decisions quickly right at the bedside. The images you can get of the heart on this handheld device are similar to what you’d get from a full-sized, high-end ultrasound. Vscan Air is a well-designed, powerful tool that’s easy to clean and easy to use.”

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Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.


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www.cpsmi.com.

Four Ways Radiology Can Reduce Its Climate Change Impact

Typically, climate change (a.k.a. global warming) is associated with planes, trains, and automobiles using fossil fuels, hazy skies, and radioactive plants pushing clouds into the atmosphere. However, the radiologic industry plays a more significant role than you might imagine, and industry leaders say the time to reduce that impact is now.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, a team of industry experts, including Geraldine McGinty, M.D., MBA, president of the American College of Radiology (ACR), issued a call-to-action statement.

“Radiology is well-positioned to spearhead climate change action in our practices and the healthcare system at large. Addressing climate change provides an opportunity to improve healthcare delivery and increase value of care using a different problem-solving approach,” said the team.

The Yale University School of Medicine released data that shows 10 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions (and nine percent of harmful non-greenhouse air pollutants) originate from the United States healthcare system.

Radiology is a significant contributor to each hospital’s energy use. In Switzerland, as the team pointed out, their three CT and four MRI scanners accounted for four percent of the hospital’s overall energy use. Being more environmentally conscious isn’t specific to the industry; it’s a patent priority as well. In the United Kingdom, a survey conducted showed that 92 percent of patients also consider sustainable healthcare operations vital.

Substantial energy use: Radiology utilizes an enormous amount of energy. In the span of a year, cumulative consumption from one CT scanner can equate to five four-person households. A single MRI uses nearly as much as 26 four-person residences. If at all possible, opt for ultrasound instead. Not only is it cheaper, but it also uses less radiation and has a lower environmental impact. Moreover, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to shorten MRI protocols can lower energy use. To further reduce the carbon footprint, implementing life cycle analyses can quantify the environmental impact of various modalities.

Standby mode: To reduce the amount of energy used by the imaging machines, use standby mode. Even when idle, they are consuming significant amounts of energy, according to the team. Cooling machines take an equal amount of energy to operate. The team recommends a 24-hour operating cycle, as well as exploring energy-efficient HVAC systems and imaging technique improvements.

Power down: Though leaving the PACS on overnight might be more convenient and efficient for workload management, the team suggests turning the machine off overnight. A hospital in Iceland left its systems on overnight and accumulated 25,040 kilowatts of energy, producing 17.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These levels are equivalent to the emissions produced by four passenger cars annually. To decrease costs and improve energy efficiency, powering down can be an easy way to accomplish these goals. Additionally, the team suggested reducing excess packaging in your procedures to drive down the environmental costs in production and disposal.

Opt for clean energy: The team said now is the time to shift from fossil fuels and lean toward renewable energy. As prices are dropping, several facilities are already making progress. For example, Kaiser Permanente has achieved carbon-neutrality, and Gundersen Health System is already net carbon positive.

To make these changes a reality, radiologists need to become activists, according to the team. Lobby local ACR chapters to join national efforts or reach out to specialty societies to further push environmentally sustainable radiology. Publishing carbon footprints can help other medical departments understand the environmental dangers associated with over-utilization.

Radiologists are urged to join the Medical Society Consortium on Climate Health, which includes 29 national medical societies, as suggested by the team.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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FDA Authorizes New Device That Protects Athletes’ Brains During Impact

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently authorized a novel product that recent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) shows might protect athletes’ brains from traumatic injury.

A c-shaped, non-invasive device dubbed the “Q-Collar” goes around the neck and applies compression, which increases blood volume, therefore reducing brain movement.  

Several FDA studies proved the effectiveness and safety. One such study included a long-term analysis of 284 participants, age 13 and older. A total of 139 athletes wore the collars, and 145 did not; both underwent head MRI before and after the season.

To compare structural changes after a season of play, researchers also generated diffusion tensor imaging of the brain. Significant differences were noted in the deep tissue involved in transmitting electrical nerve signals in 73 percent of the collarless group. Those who were equipped with the Q-Collar showed no change in white matter throughout 77 percent of the group.

“These differences appear to indicate protection of the brain associated with the device use. No significant adverse events were associated with device use,” The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health reported.

An estimated 3.8 million sports-related traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States yearly, according to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Along with the Q-Collar manufacturer Q30 Sports Science, FDA officials hope the device will lower this number, reducing “slosh” by creating a tighter fit of the brain in the skull through increased blood volume.

The Q-Collar should not be used in place of helmets or other protective devices. Athletes with a history of seizure disorders, brain blood clots, or problems with blood clotting, in general, should not use the device.

For more information, read the full FDA report.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

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