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DAYTON, Ohio – March 6, 2013 – Sophisticated new software in use at McLeod Health in South Carolina is helping physicians detect potentially cancerous lung nodules and other serious medical conditions earlier by boosting the performance of one of the world’s most common imaging tests, the chest X-ray.
Through a grant from the McLeod Health Foundation, the regional health system has become the first in South Carolina to acquire Riverain Technologies’ ClearRead Bone Suppression software. The technology suppresses, or “removes,” the bones on conventional chest X-ray images, allowing radiologists to see nodules and other medical conditions commonly obscured by ribs and clavicles.
“This would seem to be the greatest advance in interpreting chest X-rays since we went from plain film to digital imaging, which gave us better images and more control over what we were looking at,” said Greg Cleveland, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Interventional Radiology at McLeod Regional Medical Center. “Lung cancer, pneumonia — any focal density on the chest – is more easily seen by removing the bones on the X-ray image.”
The McLeod radiology team already has spotted a suspicious mass on a bone-suppressed X-ray image that otherwise might have been missed.
“Even though we just started using the software, it’s already proved beneficial,” Dr. Cleveland said. “We’ve already detected an area of concern that resulted in a necessary biopsy within hours of the discovery that otherwise might have taken months. A patient was getting a chest radiograph for a cough. With flu symptoms and coughs this time of year, it’s not surprising if nothing significant appears on the X-ray image. But, when we reviewed that same X-ray image with the bone suppression software applied we saw a rather large nodule hidden under the first rib.”
More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer because it typically is not detected until the advanced stages, when fewer treatment options exist. This year in South Carolina, lung cancer is projected to account for approximately 16 percent of all new cancers diagnosed, yet the disease will be responsible for more than 30 percent of cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
ClearRead Bone Suppression software is now being applied to all adult X-rays at McLeod hospitals in Florence, Darlington and Dillon, S.C., and will be used at the McLeod Cancer Center when the new facility opens later this year.
Funding acquisition of ClearRead software through a foundation is something other hospitals should consider, according to Steve Worrell, CEO of Riverain Technologies. “Every health system in this country has X-ray machines, and this software can instantly improve the clarity and diagnostic potential of every conventional X-ray image, without any additional radiation exposure or cost to patients, and without the purchase of capital equipment. This benefits not only high-risk groups for lung disease, but the entire patient population in the community.”
“McLeod is dedicated to providing the highest quality care, and we feel this software provides an additional benefit to our patient care process,” said Jill Bramblett, Executive Director of the McLeod Health Foundation. “Now, physicians and radiologists trained in the McLeod Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) can access these enhanced X-ray images. Finding lung cancer and other conditions earlier means better patient outcomes, potentially adding years to patients’ lives.”
McLeod Health operates within fifteen counties to improve the overall health and well being of people living within South Carolina and eastern North Carolina by providing excellence in health care. McLeod physicians annually diagnose more than 1,000 new cases of cancer in the region. The McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research not only treats the patient and family after diagnosis of cancer, but also works to prevent the disease through education, prevention, detection and screening programs.
The McLeod Health Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, charitable foundation founded in 1986 to generate philanthropic and community support to perpetuate medical excellence at McLeod Health. The work done by the McLeod Health Foundation goes beyond the hospital walls and reaches straight into the heart of the community.
An industry leader and technology innovator, Riverain Technologies applies proprietary pattern recognition and machine learning technologies in the creation of software applications for use globally in the health care industry and beyond. The Ohio-based company has developed practical solutions to save and improve the quality of people’s lives through the early detection of disease. The company’s ClearRead software enhances the expert skills of radiologists to improve patient outcomes using standard chest X-ray, without additional radiation dose or procedures for patients.
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