A.I. in Radiology: What’s All the Fuss?

Mar 6, 2020

Are you wondering the same thing? Well, rest assured you’re not alone.

Industry chatter and fascination with A.I. in the news as of late is hard to ignore. The marketing machine around A.I. conjures up all manner of technological capabilities – particularly for Radiology. Buzzwords abound: “true A.I.”, “narrow A.I.”, “general A.I.”, “A.I.-powered” and “A.I.-enabled” pepper product release literature as well as industry and popular media outlets confounding the matter further. It doesn’t help that a rapidly expanding range of regulatory-approved, A.I. imaging applications and algorithms keeps adding to the myriad of technology options to choose from.

We are just now making big strides in Narrow A.I. applications.

We are a far cry away from A.I. replacing radiologists.

Making sense of what A.I. really means for Radiology can be just as difficult as understanding what is under the hood of A.I. solutions themselves. Is A.I. just for imaging data? Just for clinical diagnosis? Just for Radiologists? How do I implement A.I. in my practice? What clinical value does A.I. really bring to the healthcare delivery table? How much do I really need to understand about the A.I. “black box”? How do I critically appraise the A.I. technologies available in the market?

Lots of questions with few clear answers. Until now.

Envisioning A.I.

At Densitas, we are acutely aware of how challenging it can be to understand new technology, especially in the early days of market hype and hope. Vendors tend to focus on features and functionality rather than practical, real-world applications in healthcare. We want to change that dialogue.

We want to drive a more meaningful discourse on what A.I. is and the clinical value A.I. solutions can offer. It’s not just about embracing A.I. technology; it’s about envisioning what A.I. technology can do for you. We want to move beyond the customary technology adoption messaging and help you more fully understand the transformative potential of A.I. From Radiologists to Department Managers to QC Techs, we want to help you envision what A.I. could truly mean for you, for your practice and, most importantly, for your patients.

A.I. in radiology

Walk the Talk

Densitas began this knowledge-sharing journey in earnest last Fall. In October, we introduced you to how A.I. could positively impact your mammography quality assurance program. Direct from the customer experience, we described several critical change points in the mammography image acquisition process that an automated, A.I.-driven, image quality assessment algorithm could positively impact.

In November, we shared our knowledge and expertise on the evolution of breast density algorithms over the last few decades. We highlighted that A.I. learns to assess mammographic density in a way that aligns with how a radiologist actually visualizes breast density in a mammogram, and delivers much-improved mammographic density assessments upon which tailored, risk-based patient care depends.

the evolution of breast density algorithms

But we realize an even deeper dialogue is warranted.

Not about the technology. But about the need.

Follow the Leader

So, over the course of the coming months, Densitas is going to deliver.

In an era of unprecedented availability of digital patient data – from electronic health records, imaging studies and clinical data repositories to name a few – the healthcare industry already rapidly processes vast amounts of data, more than ever imagined. So, our series of commentaries will highlight the assistive, augmentative and actionable aspects of A.I. solutions and how we draw on A.I. to efficiently identify actionable insights into patient and process management.

As Gary Kasparov explains in his TED Talk in 2017, human and artificial intelligence working together is the way of the future.  His message is that there’s no need to fear A.I.

Rather, as Dr. Curtis Langlotz from Stanford University said at RSNA 2018, “A.I. won’t replace radiologists, but radiologists who use A.I. will replace radiologists who don’t”.

Much needed focus will be given to demonstrating the true clinical value of A.I. in Radiology while having frank and open discussion on its strengths, key use cases and current workflow challenges. Head on, we will tackle what A.I. really means to improve quality and reduce variability in diagnostic reporting, what critical measures actually improve patient outcomes and departmental efficiencies and, most importantly, how to shift the negative narrative from improving or replacing Radiologists to an emphasis on augmenting patient care.

Last but not least, we will dive into a discussion of the technical challenges that integrating these algorithms into existing systems and clinical workflows may present to you, and how that may impact not just your IT infrastructure but your overall A.I. investment strategy.

A tall order indeed. But Densitas sees the need.

A Look to the Future

A.I. continues to be one of the hottest topics in all of healthcare and it’s clear the industry is developing the next generation Radiology toolset. Only a few decades ago, Rads embraced first-generation technology footprints: PACS, CAD, advanced post-processing and 3D/4D algorithms, etc. to name a few. Digital imaging was embraced – gradually, over time. Looking back at those decades, it’s easy to see the transformative nature but, in the early days, it was difficult to really get or see the technology fit.

That’s why Densitas is engaging in the discourse.  We think that our extensive clinical, healthcare administration, imaging and data sciences expertise enables us to provide a valuable perspective on how healthcare providers and key decision makers can best select, purchase and implement A.I.-enabled, imaging applications and A.I. algorithms to help optimize their day-to-day workflows.

artificial intelligence in radiology

Curious about what the biggest hurdles are for imaging providers hoping to implement A.I.? How will all this A.I.-technology shake out? Will A.I. transform Radiology, or at least help improve it in significant ways? What steps can I take now to ensure my enterprise is A.I.-ready?

Come on a journey of discovery with Densitas. Join us over the coming months and learn about A.I. – what it could mean for you, for your practice and, most importantly, for your patients.

We would be delighted to share our perspective about what A.I. can do for you – request a demo today.

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