For market leaders in imaging, there is a responsibility to support the demand for the utilization of smart contrast injector platforms that provide efficient, easy to use, uniform and centralized data management of contrast media protocols. The focus on effective contrast delivery while delivering superior patient care, cost-reduction opportunities, and reduced radiation dose, is paramount.
Bracco and Applied Radiology recently co-hosted an expert forum exploring the future of advanced technology in radiology. A panel of radiology thought leaders discussed how smart contrast injectors are leveraging data and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline workflows while improving patient care. Their knowledge and expertise provided insights into important clinical factors, including safety and quality requirements necessary to support an investment into such integrated informatics platforms. The forum highlighted Bracco’s SmartInject Solutions, a series of interconnected technologies to help clinicians monitor and manage patient safety, keep up-to-date patient records, manage compliance, and track performance in real time.
“Bracco is well-positioned to support the imaging community in navigating the many changes that are occurring in the industry. The company continues to invest in businesses and add products and solutions that complement our core strengths in contrast media, with a focus on optimizing patient care,” said Cosimo DePinto, Vice President of Marketing at Bracco Diagnostics Inc.
The SmartInject Solution
The SmartInject Solution centers on the NEXO® Contrast Management System, a networking product that provides contrast delivery tracking and protocol management for innovative decision support. Focusing on automation of all aspects of contrast delivery, NEXO® also provides key performance indicators that streamline data documentation by tracking and measuring productivity which may help clinicians maintain compliance and support quality of care.
“The NEXO® Contrast Management System is the software that drives the contrast management for our injector portfolio. It helps drive the daily data documentation and automations for radiologists, administrators, and technologists,” said Chad Durling, Senior Manager, Devices Marketing.
The SmartInject Solution also includes the EmpowerCTA®+ Injector System, which optimizes imaging capabilities, streamlines workflow, and enhances patient care when and where technologists and radiologists most need it.
The SmartInject Solution Network incorporates a radiation dose software platform that monitors dose for ionizing radiation modalities and delivers important reports for improved patient safety. With NEXO[DOSE]® the complete SmartInject Solution portfolio supports quality, standardization, and safety throughout the department. It helps deliver on accuracy, drives compliance, and supports QA and QC measurements, giving radiologists and administrators customized reporting analytics and safety data. This data is directly transferred into the dictation reports, ensuring that each patient’s medical record is up to date with the most recent contrast and radiation dose information.
“Quality measures across every IV contrast protocol and every scanner protocol and providing that data in a timely way. NEXO® and NEXO[DOSE]® are the software tools that provides the data to give our customers the means to educate their staff and provide great patient care,” said Pete Nardell, Senior Manager, Informatics and Device Marketing at Bracco.
“SmartInject Solutions is the essence of what our customers are demanding from a vendor. Our goal is to provide all of our products, contrast solutions, devices, and software, to empower our clinicians and radiology administrators, physicists, and radiologists the most optimal images at the most cost-effective ways,” said Nardell.
Streamlined workflow and patient safety
Bracco’s power injectors focus on safety and offer advanced, easy-to-use automated features designed with the technologists and patients in mind.
The EmpowerCTA®+ provides automated injector documentation, which captures the programed injection protocol and any deviations, including the amount of contrast loaded and delivered, pressure injection graphs and extravasation information, all supporting a more streamlined workflow.
“With the automation of the SmartInject Solutions, technologists can save time reporting additional information about the contrast injection and it minimizes the potential for risk and errors,” said Durling. Enhancing quality and compliance, the platform standardizes and streamlines workflow efficiencies with improved protocol management tools. When implementing SmartInject Solutions, customers who manually perform protocol modifications across their injector fleet can rely on the remote programming for these system-wide operations.
With respect to radiation dose management, physicists in the radiology department also benefit from automated reporting features. “Having radiation dose information automated into the reports is key for performance in each department. NEXO[DOSE]® provides readily available reports and alert notifications so they can quickly address concerns and ensure great patient care throughout an entire health system,” said Nardell.
Smart Injection. Smart Investment.
The SmartInject Solutions portfolio is part of Bracco’s continued commitment to the company’s customers and the entire radiology community.
By offering a Capital Cost Avoidance Program, Bracco enables customers to apply their capital budget typically used to purchase injectors, towards the company’s NEXO® Contrast Management Solution. Both the NEXO software and the EmpowerCTA®+ injector can be installed with this program, which helps drive down costs across the radiology department and throughout an entire network.
“We’re helping customers drive down capital costs with this program by increasing the efficiency in contrast and saline protocols. We've been successful in reducing CT operations spending annually with our customers by 12.5%,” Durling explained. In addition, he says one customer reported saving $1.8 million by upgrading its Power Injector fleet under the Capital Cost Avoidance Program.
“We focus on building a partnership with our customers. Their experience is really designed around delivering integrated solutions, contrast devices, informatics, service and support,” said John Gutauskas, Director, Devices Marketing. “We start with dedicated account managers and then follow that through with best-in-class clinical applications, and over 100 service personnel in the field to give the absolute best customer experience.”
AI and the future of smart injectors
Bracco expects AI to play a large role in its injector platform, as seen in its SmartInject Solutions. Chris Clark, Head of Informatics North America, said the solutions will lay the groundwork for the next evolution in precision health care. “At Bracco, we're doing cutting-edge research using machine learning algorithms where the injector plays a key role at the point of care. Smart injectors will get even smarter down the road,” he said.
But these advances do not stop with smart injection technology. “The amount of data that injection devices can collect and analyze today brings us closer to true, personalized, contrast-enhanced imaging. Whether it's predictive protocoling, protocol standardization, or workflow enhancements and support of value-based care, I think we've only scratched the surface. And the future looks really bright,” Clark said.
DePinto says expert forums like the one co-hosted by Applied Radiology help Bracco keep pace with advancing technology and customers’ needs, setting the course for future investments and technologies. In the future, these devices will be a driving force behind the move to personalized contrast-enhanced imaging.
“Our industry is going through true radical changes. To say the next few years are going to be transformational would be an understatement. The balance between providing value-based care while keeping up with technology enhancements can be daunting for our customers,” said DePinto. “We believe at Bracco we're in a good position to support them in that endeavor. We remain 100 percent committed to the imaging sector, and we look forward to rolling out more products and Smartinject Solutions in the near future.”
Editor’s Note: Bracco Diagnostics, the U.S.-based subsidiary of Bracco Imaging SpA, and part of the Bracco Group, is a leader in innovative contrast imaging agents in the U.S. The company is committed to providing unique, innovative, and futuristic products to expand the development of the CT and MR markets, including those that meet the growing requirements for increased throughput, improved patient satisfaction and safety, and compliant data management. In recent years, Bracco has penetrated the Device and Informatics market by delivering products including: ISOVUE®® Imaging Bulk Package, SmartInjectCT® with NEXO®, plus NEXO[DOSE]These products are establishing Bracco as a true contender in this market, thus finding itself in the unique place for further strategic market development.
SmartInject Solutions Deliver Advanced Patient Care with Cost-effective Capital Investments. Appl Radiol.
McKenna Bryant is a freelance healthcare writer based in Nashotah, WI.