Leading, Inspiring, Improving - the role of science in healthcare

'MPEC was a great opportunity to get exposed to different areas of medical physics
 and also network with other healthcare professionals'
– Damianos Christophides, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

MPEC 2015 took place at the Hope Park Campus of Hope University in Liverpool from the 8th - 10th September 2015. The MPEC gallery contains images from the event. A copy of the full programme can be found here.

Inauguration of new President

The incoming IPEM President, Professor David Brettle, gave a talk on Scientific Innovation for the Benefit of Patients. He stated that his vision was:

Health care, academia and industry working systematically and symbiotically together, with patients, to maximise the benefits of health innovation, with IPEM acting as a natural innovation catalyst

He described how patients are more empowered and better informed that ever before. He then described how recent innovations from smartphones to 3-D printing are revolutionising all aspects of healthcare and medicine.

David talked about the barriers to innovation that obstruct clinical delivery such as funding, long developmental cycles and the gap between expectation and actual benefit, also the resourcing issues that can occur.

David rounded off his keynote by saying:

I believe IPEM has a pivotal role bringing all parties together to both stimulate and translate innovation. We should also strive to be the place patients go to for authoritative advice and guidance in the rapidly growing health technology landscape.

One of David’s key points of science for patient benefit will form the basis of MPEC 2016.

'I especially enjoyed and was inspired by the innovation sessions.
Even presentations on more routine procedures benefitted 
from a focus on innovative approaches and new perspectives'
 – Emmanuel Akinluyi, Guy’s Hospital

MPEC 2016

It was announced at the conference that next year in addition to the MPEC scientific conference there will be a dedicated IPEM day exclusively for members. The IPEM Conference Day that will encompass the AGM as well as a series of CPD events will take place first. This will be free to attend for IPEM members, although places will be limited. The Medical Physics and Engineering Conference will follow immediately after with a full scientific programme.

The event will be held in Manchester to coincide with Manchester’s status as European City of Science in 2016. An announcement of the programme for both events will be made in due course.

Accredited Register status for the Register of Clinical Technologists
MPEC was chosen as the venue for the announcement that The Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT) has now been assessed, audited and meets all the criteria of the Professional Standards Authority to be an Accredited Register. The RCT was established in 2000 as a voluntary register, while a case was being made for statutory regulation of clinical technologists.

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA), is an independent body established by and accountable to Parliament. The PSA carries out assessments to ensure that registers set appropriate standards, apply them consistently when assessing applicants for registration, and take action to protect the public when necessary.

The RCT Management Panel made up of IPEM, IHEEM and ART representatives submitted an application for accreditation to the PSA. Successful completion of this process means that the RCT has met the PSA’s demanding standards in the areas of governance, setting standards, education and training, managing the register, providing information and complaints handling.

The RCT will now be able to describe itself as an accredited register and use the PSA Quality Mark, providing assurance to employers and the public alike that the RCT is well-run and provides a good standard of patient protection.

'The quality of the invited speeches, both of the Woolmer Lecture
and from the award winning paper, was excellent'
Paul Booker, City Hospital Nottingham

Keynote Speakers and Award Winning Papers
As well as welcoming David Brettle as incoming President the conference was opened with a farewell address from Professor Stephen Keevil the outgoing President. Stephen gave a history of IPEM back to its beginnings with the Hospital Physicists Association. He then gave an overview of the changes in the last couple of years at IPEM and in particular the organisational and administrative changes that have bedded in over the last couple of years. He also talked about the work that IPEM does on, ensuring the quality, safety and effectiveness of services.

Naomi Weir the Acting Director of the Campaign for Science & Engineering (CaSE) gave the opening plenary of the conference with a talk around CaSE’s policy advocacy and how a thriving science and engineering sector contributes to a strong, healthy and vibrant economy and society. Good interaction between the science community and Parliament and government benefits both. Mechanisms, forums and organisations, including CaSE, exist to facilitate this interaction but more broadly, better understanding by each group of the motivations and challenges facing the other is a place from which to start a fruitful discussion.

On Wednesday morning Professor John Bayouth, the Chairman of the Board of the American Association of Physicists, gave some fascinating insights into the current state of image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and the future roles of imaging in radiotherapy. Imaging to provide biomarkers for normal tissue avoidance was discussed, along with IGRT as a methodology to enable off-line and on-line adaptive radiation therapy.

Roberts Award for best paper published in Physics in Medicine and Biology
After John’s talk Dr. Jean Provost of the ESPCI, Paris presented the Roberts Award winning paper from Physics in Medicine and Biology ‘3D ultrafast ultrasound imagining in vivo’. In the article, by Mathieu Pernot, Jean Provost, Clement Papadacci, Juan Esteban Arango, Marion Imbault, Mathias Fink, Jean-Luc Gennisson, and Mickael Tanter demonstrated the use of 3D ultrafast ultrasound for several potential applications. These included 3D mapping of stiffness and tissue motion, as well as real-time imaging of blood flowing through the chambers of a human heart.

The paper represents a first important step in developing the foundations of a new ultrasound imaging modality. The next step, and one that the team is now actively working on, will be to develop clinical and preclinical applications of 3D ultrafast imaging, such as shear wave elastography, ultrafast Doppler imaging, and functional imaging of the brain.
They envision that in the future, 3D ultrafast imaging will provide a more effective, more rapid, and operator-independent, diagnostic tool.

'The enthusiasm of every speaker was infectious and eye opening to areas of 
medical physics I haven’t always considered'
Antonia Bryan, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds

Woolmer Lecture
This year’s Woolmer lecture was given by Professor Anthony Barker on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – the first 30 years. As well as giving an overview of the development of the technique from the 1970s at Sheffield Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Professor Barker also covered the ways in which transcranial magnetic stimulation is being used, or evaluated, in areas as diverse as creating 'virtual lesions' in the human brain; treatment of depression and schizophrenia; aiding the diagnosis of disease or mechanical damage in central and peripheral nerve pathways. Before going on to demonstrate TMS on a number of willing volunteers from the audience.

Martin Black prize for best paper published in Physiological Measurement
Professor Lionel Tarassenko CBE of Oxford University presented his paper on Non-contact video-based vital sign monitoring. 
The paper by Tarassenko, Villarroel, Guazzi, Jorge, Clifton and Pugh describes how they have been developing novel methods for non-contact vital sign monitoring using a webcam. The webcam measures the light reflected from one or more regions of interest in the patient’s face. Previous work by others had shown that photoplethysmogram (PPG) signals could be remotely acquired from the human face with normal ambient light as the source. A problem with making this work in a real-world setting, however, is the presence of aliased components from artificial light, e.g. fluorescent light, found in most indoor environments outside daylight hours and often within daylight hours as well.

They have developed and patented a novel method of cancelling out the aliased frequencies caused by artificial light, based on auto-regressive modelling and shown how accurate maps of the spatial distribution of heart rate and respiratory rate can be constructed from the coefficients of the auto-regressive model. The vital sign data has been acquired from patients in the Oxford Renal Unit, who are double-monitored, rather than from healthy volunteers as is usually the case.

'A very accomplished event, providing a real insight into a variety of exciting and innovative work within our field. I particularly enjoyed the excellent guest speakers, and the sessions run by the IPEM Trainee Network'
Thomas Taylor, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

You can read the full report from our Trainee Network in their own October Trainee Network Newsletter.

Key points from the IPEM Annual General Meeting
The full minutes of the meeting can be viewed in the members area of the IPEM website but the key decision made at MPEC was that it was proposed and accepted that there should be no increase in subscriptions for IPEM members in 2016.

In addition, all IPEM one day conference rates will also be staying the same in 2016.

'I was only able to attend one day of the conference 
but I very much enjoyed the day. I plan to attend all days and social events of MPEC 2016'
Rebecca Ealden, National Coordinating Centre for the Physics of Mammography

A big thank you to the 2015 exhibitors
• Bayer Healthcare
• Fluke Biomedical/Raysafe
• Imaging Equipment Ltd
• IOP Publishing
• MediScientific
• Oncology Systems Limited (OSL)
• Southern Scientific
• Vision RT
• Walters Medical

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