Experts are claiming that AI will revolutionize major sectors of the world economy in the coming decades – from replacing human workers in carrying out menial tasks to improving products and services while simultaneously driving down costs.
Perhaps nowhere is the AI transformation more promising than in healthcare, where improvements can at times make the difference between life and death. While predictions of an AI future have caused some to worry that technology may one day replace health workers, the reality is that personnel in the field have skills which AI simply cannot replicate. In fact, AI will at most augment the skills that healthcare professionals bring to the table, helping them do what they do best.
Radiology is one of the key fields in healthcare which can benefit from the advantages of the medical AI age. In fact, radiologists find themselves on the frontline of AI innovation in the medical sector. Here are five examples of how artificial intelligence can augment radiologists’ productivity, accuracy, workflow, quantification and routine tasks.
A 130% rise in backlogs in the UK points to a growing challenge to the field of radiology, where the use of medical imaging is growing but the number of doctors has plateaued. This leaves patient care at risk and the industry as a whole at a crossroads. AI can augment radiologists’ workflow by helping highlight anomalies, thus enabling them to handle more cases with greater efficiency.
Gartner predicts that AI augmentation will recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity by 2021. In a field such as radiology which can mean the difference between life and death, this will prove critical.
While instinct and experience remain key factors in a radiologist’s day to day, AI can add a layer of precision and consistency to the search for anomalies that sometimes go unnoticed. Medical imaging AI can also augment the highest level of accuracy that may suffer during long or overnight shifts, giving radiologists the peace-of-mind knowing that they have an extra level of decision-support.
By utilizing AI systems that help radiologists address more urgent, time-sensitive cases such as strokes, treatment can be swifter. With 800,000 Americans experiencing a stroke every year (making it the US’s number three killer), AI can facilitate urgent care in such cases, and beyond – when every second counts. With the explosion of medical imaging and data, prioritization will become an increasingly essential feature of the radiologist workflow.
A big advantage of medical AI is that it can reliably take care of tedious and repetitive tasks, allowing radiologists to focus on more important work. . AI-based quantification enables us to measure lesions and anatomies over time, and in a highly accurate manner. Quantification companies (like the EU based Icometrix and Quantib), can enable us to achieve both a higher quality of care, as well as greater levels of efficiency dues to the reduction of time-consuming tasks.
Our days are often filled with routine responsibilities that prevent us from tackling tasks that require more know-how and finesse. Studies show that these administrative moments can take up almost 50% of our workdays. When industries incorporate AI to perform such tasks, professionals have more time to focus on more creative and meaningful missions and projects. For radiologists, AI can free up more time to focus on reading more scans, engaging in research, or simply enjoying a better work-life balance.
As noted in a recent analysis by Gartner, AI augmentation is slated to make millions of jobs more productive and efficient. According to Gartner, “…combinations of humans and machines will perform more effectively than either human experts or AI-driven machines working alone will.”
If leveraged right, AI can prove a unique and effective tool, helping bring radiology into the 21st Century to the benefit of both patients and radiologists.