IDOR2018 Part 2: A Global Perspective on Future Developments in Medical Imaging
Part 2: Future developments in diagnostic imaging.
To mark the International Day of Radiology, we asked top thought leaders around the world to reflect on developments in medical imaging, past and future.
Last week, we published their thoughts on advancements in diagnostic imaging that had the biggest impact in the last decade. Today, we explore their views on the changes that will impact diagnostic imaging professionals in the near future.
Thank you to these leading contributors for sharing their insights:
- Patrick Eastgate, Past President of the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT);
- Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief, HealthCare Business News, US;
- Richard Evans, OBE; and Chief Executive Officer, The Society and College of Radiographers (SoR) (United Kingdom)
- Max Wintermark, MD, Chief of Neuroradiology at Stanford; and Chair of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Public Information Committee;
- Brian Casey, Editor in Chief, AuntMinnie.com, US;
- Luiz Carlos de Almeida, journalist specializing in radiology and image studies, and editor of the journal ID Interação Diagnóstica (Brazil); and
- Greg Freiherr, veteran healthcare writer and editor, US.
Which important developments will shape medical imaging in the future?
Not surprisingly, the most common answer to our question on the future of diagnostic imaging is artificial intelligence (AI). Several respondents cited its potential for increased efficiency. Others noted its potential to change the radiology profession.
Greg Freiherr cited AI as his answer to both questions – past and future developments. “Artificial intelligence stands out as having the greatest impact (in the past decade). AI has changed automation from repetitive to dynamic. Rather than automating procedures with set routines, AI allows continued learning improvements. This raises the potential for having an enormous impact on efficiency now and in the future. This is why the answer to both questions is AI.”
Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief of Healthcare Business News, is hopeful that AI and other software “will generate cost savings by helping radiologists prioritize urgent cases, locate abnormalities, and produce images with less dose exposure. We know there is no replacement for a critical-thinking human mind and no easy answer to daunting cyber security concerns. However, as algorithms get smarter, we will do more with less in unimaginable ways.”
AI’s influence on the practice of radiology
Max Wintermark of the RSNA foresees technological advances, like artificial intelligence, bringing “increased visibility of the role of the radiologists to the patients. This will result in radiology being more patient-centric.”
Richard Evans, Chief Executive Officer of SoR, hopes that AI will reinforce the value of the profession’s clinical credentials. “We have become justifiably anxious over the commoditization of our specialty, as increasing imaging capabilities and availability have accompanied dwindling clinical diagnostic capability among the referrer community. This has led in turn to risk aversion and an over-reliance on imaging services. Terminology has tracked this regression, as ‘referral’ for imaging became ‘request’ and ultimately ‘order’.
“Artificial intelligence tools offer enhancements such as referral support, workload management, prioritization, screening, and first line reporting. Working with these technologies will offer us the chance to reverse the commoditization process. Radiologists and radiographers will be able to regain their clinical credentials as the professionals that receive referrals for imaging and that then make the most appropriate onward referral in consultation with patients and clinical colleagues.”
However, getting to this state will require considerable study and time on the part of radiologists, emphasized Luiz Carlos de Almeida of Brazil. “(New technologies) demand a lot of study, research and work overload, with serious results in the professional conduct. Currently, image professionals are overloaded with the volume of exams, and they know that it (AI) can bring a lot of benefit to their routine. It has been said a lot about the subject, but I believe that it is the newest challenge to the medical class and the most promising. The biggest challenge is how to maximize the use of AI for the quality of life and the work routine.”
Perhaps Brian Casey of AuntMinnie.com summarized the future impact of AI the best: “Radiology is just beginning to learn how to use AI and to discover its future potential. It will be exciting – and perhaps a little scary – to see the impact that AI will have on diagnostic imaging in the years to come.”
AI is not the only change on the horizon. Patrick Eastgate of ASMIRT in Australia reminded us that, “dose reduction will continue to be a key driver to imaging in the future. I see more functional studies being developed in many modalities. Lastly, we are seeing already the hybridization of medical imaging, nuclear imaging and radiation therapy.”
Carestream’s view on the future of medical imaging
Carestream experts continually research emerging technologies that can help address the needs of medical imaging providers. Here are the developments that we see on the horizon in the short term.
- We agree that artificial intelligence is here to stay. Already, the technology is incorporated into our Workflow Orchestrator with the goal of helping imaging centers better meet service level agreements (SLAs), improve productivity, and help improve patient care. We expect that it will play a larger role in clinical decision making in the future.
- There will be increased adoption of interactive multimedia reporting to help boost efficiency and add value to traditional reports.
- Advances in mammography including digital breast tomosynthesis and emerging screening technologies like whole-breast ultrasound, and AI-powered applications. These advancements in digital mammography will help improve image quality and help make diagnosis more precise.
- Greater patient engagement enabled by self-service access to their healthcare data.
- Increased use of 3D imaging over 2D as 3D imaging gets closer to the dose, price, and workflows of 2D.
Did you miss Part 1 of our special IDOR2018 series?
Thank you to our participants for taking time to share their perspectives. Which developments do you think will have the greatest impact on medical imaging in the future? Please leave your comments below.
Katie Kilfoyle Remis is the editor of Everything Rad and Carestream Health’s social media strategist.