Women are the cornerstone of families, communities and economies and deserve the highest quality of care when breast cancer is detected. Hologic, a global champion of women’s health, is driven to improve women’s breast health journey through its innovative, integrated medical technology, which it calls the Breast Health Continuum of Care. This focuses on delivering integrated technologies that seamlessly work through the cycle from screening to diagnosis to treatment.
Today’s imaging challenges
There are a number of challenges facing breast screening programmes today. The first is caused by the pandemic, which has delayed millions of women from being screened in a timely manner. This has resulted in an increase of advanced cases and caused a backlog of women waiting to be screened. Consequently, the pressure to catch up with screenings is being felt by healthcare systems globally. This pressure is compound by the decreasing number of qualified radiologists, which is increasing the burden on healthcare professionals to manage their workloads.
Improving workflow is one way that could help address this. Hologic’s suite of integrated technologies could potentially deliver a more streamlined approach that improves workflow efficiencies and saves time per patient. For example, a woman can be screened using high resolution tomosynthesis in combination with 3DQuorum™ SmartSlices, allowing radiologists a faster reading of the 3D mammogram to ensure an accelerated diagnostic process. If she subsequently undergoes an ultrasound, those files can also help inform her diagnosis and help a clinician isolate a lesion during breast biopsy.
Time remains a critical element as patients undergo treatment. Flexibility in scheduling can be beneficial from both a patient and healthcare professional’s perspective. It can also support hospitals in making the optimum use of their facilities. An example of a technology that can facilitate this is Hologic’s LOCalizer™ localization system that can help decouple the marking and breast surgery procedures in order to provide scheduling flexibility for patients, radiologists and surgeons.
Workflow is not only about how quickly the technology processes information though. It is also about how intuitive and easy it is for the user to use the equipment. An intuitive system and interface with software-driven controls, such as Hologic’s Faxitron® Trident® HD Specimen Radiography System, enables improved workflow efficiency in the OR and radiology department, minimizing the steps at the point of care.
By assisting clinicians with workflow efficiencies, they can engage patients in a more personalized pathway that treats their unique needs in a timely way. Innovation is the key to improving efficiencies between screening and diagnosis, so imaging is high quality and accurate, and treatments can be administered at the earliest stages.
As techniques and technologies continue to advance though, medical technology companies need to innovate based not only on addressing current challenges, but also those that might arise from improvements.
The future of breast imaging
With the continuous evolution of imaging technologies as well as the growing number of women to be screened, radiologists have increasingly more images to interpret. Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a unique solution to this challenge, as it can efficiently evaluate images and flag areas of concern, as well as help prioritize high-risk patients. Recent research suggests AI can augment radiologist performance and aid their interpretation of most scans, helping to improve cancer detection by analysing images using advanced and diverse datasets. For radiologists, this could help reduce reader fatigue and assist with interpretation time. For women, this could mean earlier cancer detection and better treatment options.
As the technology advances, AI will be able to assist with more than image reading and interpretation. If a facility utilizes integrated technologies like those in Breast Health Continuum of Care, AI will one day help streamline data sharing between devices so a mass catalogued on the 3Dimensions® 3D mammography system could then assist in quality control of sample gathering on the Brevera® biopsy system, and enable a quicker, more efficient pathology review.
While this is not possible today, it is anticipated that the accuracy of an AI-assisted biopsy process could also improve patient outcomes and comfort, while reducing the time of the procedure. AI could also provide a unique opportunity to systematically support the radiologist in their day-to-day workflow, while also benefiting patients by reducing anxiety.
As breast imaging continues to improve, Hologic is at the forefront of innovation – delivering technology and techniques that address today’s challenges and plan for the needs of tomorrow. By encouraging early detection through regular screenings and advancing diagnostic and treatment care, Hologic is delivering life-changing and lifesaving products for patients so women on the breast cancer journey can have the best chance of survival.
A global company
Hologic is headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA. The company has locations in over 15 countries and more than 5,500 employees globally. As a global medical technology company, Hologic offers cutting-edge solutions that enhance and save lives with products that encompass diagnostics, breast and skeletal health and gynaecological surgical health, with an emphasis on early and accurate detection and treatment.