3 technology elements transforming orthopedics

Orthopedic

Technology that is portable, modular and artificial intelligence-enabled has the potential to transform orthopedics, according to one orthopedic surgeon. 

Gregory Kolovich, MD, co-founder and chief medical officer of OXOS Medical, connected with Becker's to answer, "What technology is slated to be the next big thing in orthopedics?"

Note: This response has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dr. Gregory Kolovich: Portable, modular, and AI-enabled imaging technology is going to be transformative for orthopedics at large. By bringing safer imaging directly to the point of care and improving usability and accuracy through AI, we stand to not only dramatically improve access to safe care, but ease the strain on radiology departments via devices that are easier to use. There are a few key elements of the technology that will improve quality of care, enhance patient experience, and reduce strain on radiology departments. 

Portability: The form factor of cutting-edge portable X-ray devices allows them to be used anywhere. Battery-powered, portable X-ray devices are already being used at the sidelines of NFL games, on mission trips to developing countries and on visits to VA patients. In the near future, we can expect this technology to proliferate, making in-office imaging — as well as home visits and other outcall use cases — quick and easy. We also expect to see widespread adoption of portable imaging technology in settings like nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities. 

Modular configurations: Providers will increasingly seek out imaging devices that are modular. The utility of next-generation imaging devices is compounded when they can also be mounted on a more traditional C-arm configuration, attached to a table or other surface, or just in the hands of an orthopedic surgeon or other practitioner. 

AI-enabled: Although the use of AI in imaging and orthopedic diagnostics remains a nascent field, there is real and immediate utility for AI in calibrating imaging devices, ensuring lower radiation doses, reducing reshoots and maintaining imaging quality. The AiLARA system that we at OXOS Medical have adopted, for example, uses computer vision and machine learning to automate radiation dose selection, opting for the lowest dose possible considering position, anatomy and more. AI-enabled viewfinders, meanwhile, use real-time computer navigation to ensure that devices and extremities are positioned correctly to achieve diagnostic alignment, eliminating the need for reshoots due to misaligned images. We also anticipate further developments in imaging safety by leveraging detector physics data to improve signal-to-noise ratios and improve image quality without having to increase radiation.

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