Technology has been the backbone for the radiology industry since a long time. But today is the age of digital technologies. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Internet of Things and more have transformed and enhanced imaging technologies such as CT, MRI, PACS etc. through features such as image quality and data storage. But, what impact does this have on the overall practice of radiology and how much will this union bring this profession to the epicentre of healthcare delivery?
Indeed, the answers remain in its application, the investment in it and its impact on healthcare costs.
Radiologists across the country are still contemplating how growth in digital technologies can be utilized to improve efficiencies, increase better patient outcomes and consolidate data which can be utilized for further research. They are yet bracing themselves to handle the overall explosion of data now available in medicine which will address some of the current challenges faced in radiology today.
Here are some thoughts on the same matter.
The enrichment of radiology research
With advances in computer technology, many technologies in the science of radiology piggyback very easily on these modern mediums for restoration, storage and doing things and it is this development that has developed imaging techniques such as CT, MRI, PET-CT and ultrasound to provide a safer, faster and more precise diagnosis. One such technology that will take radiology to the next level is AI and machine learning. This technology would do two main things: help radiologists improve their practice by helping them rapidly obtain a more definitive diagnosis at a lower cost. Secondly, if the AI algorithm were able to distinguish between regular and abnormal diagnosis in several cases, radiologists will then spend more time concentrating on the abnormal.
AI, radiology and medico-legal tangles
While most radiologists seem upbeat about the digital wave, there are some risks involved which need urgent attention.
AI has the potential to provide diagnosis which might differ from the diagnosis given by the radiologists, this could lead to a difference of opinion and cause further confusion. therefore it will be a need to look at the medico-legal aspects involved in the application of AI.
The legal aspects on the applications of advanced technologies should be studied further.
Costs of healthcare
Next is the challenge of the cost factors involved. The question raised by most radiologists is that how much investment will it entail and what impact will it have on the cost of diagnostics on patients?
Digital technologies such as AI will bring down the cost. It will help radiologists to provide better, faster and accurate imaging results in a short span of time, allowing them to earn in volumes.
Thus the experts affirm that technology is catalyzing a revolution in the radiology sector. But, moving forward, if technologies such as AI, machine learning and more need to get mainstream in radiology both government and industry will need to focus on bringing in the required regulations for quality, costs and practice.
Radiologists on the other hand will need to upgrade themselves continuous education on digital technologies and its application in future.