Ayden Jacob, MD, MSc

Radiology as the Cockpit of Tomorrow’s Healthcare

Medicine changes. Perhaps not rapidly, but over time, new ideas force the delivery of medicine to change, thereby meeting the needs of a healthier tomorrow. The skeletal structure of the healthcare system, from government agencies and health insurers to hospital administrators and physicians, creates an ecosystem inundated with concrete obstacles when attempting to generate real change. As a specialty that serves the needs of every clinical subspecialty in the hospital, the radiologist is uniquely positioned to understand both the technical and clinical landscape governing the healthcare system. The radiologist of the future is the fighter pilot in the cockpit of the “Healthcare System Jet,” navigating the unforeseen terrains of artificial intelligence, big data science, finance and economics, clinical innovation and technical informatics.

  1. Clinically: A specialty that serves the continuum of healthcare
  2. Technologically: From the physics behind each image to the data tied to each patient’s journey, health-tech is part and parcel of being a great radiologist
  3. Healthcare Data Science: Each image is tied to a vast array of patient data

Steering Medicine Forward


The entire healthcare continuum revolves around medical imaging. From early diagnosis and screening to treatment response, treatment selection and acute care triage, radiology is silently intertwined into the clinical optimization and management pathway of every patient coming through the Healthcare System. This affords the radiologist a unique aperture by which they may view the patient’s journey and offer fruitful insights into value-based methodologies to improve tomorrow’s healthcare. Practically speaking, in terms of clinical innovation as it pertains to artificial intelligence, the radiologist is uniquely situated such that her understanding of where artificial intelligence can be useful is second to none.The clinical and business case for artificial intelligence not only in radiology, but throughout the entire healthcare system, necessitates the input and steering from the Department of Radiology.


Understanding not only how technology functions, but more importantly, how to integrate technology into a hospital, is of supreme importance. The manpower, hours, clinical commitment and administrative buy-in is an immense obstacle when attempting to develop new clinical workflows and processes by which patients are better cared for. Various professional jurisdictions must partake in this process, including but not limited to ethics, law, medicine and nursing, and business and administrative professionals. At the core of healthcare, though, is medicine, and at the heart of medicine is the physician. As such, the physician’s role here is not only to navigate the challenging terrain, but to steer the entire pack of professionals who are attempting to deploy artificial intelligence in the clinical setting. Pragmatically, the radiologist is able to offer her professional guidance as it pertains to the seamless integration of technology from the reading room to the patient bedside.

Healthcare Data

Imaging is data. The transformation of data into actionable insights for the physician is essentially what the radiologist has been called to do hitherto. The explosion of big data science within the clinical continuum forces the radiologist to integrate more forms of data when applying recommendations for a particular patient. At its core, radiology is a healthcare data science field. Artificial intelligence creates an environment and tool by which aggregating and understanding that data is streamlined. How physicians understand and apply data in the healthcare setting is rapidly changing. From genetic information to high-level informatics extracted from prior patient records, artificial intelligence can either overwhelm the mind of a physician or add a unique repertoire of weapons to its arsenal of clinical management and intervention tools. We believe that as artificial intelligence extends its branches from the reading room into the operating room and on the clinical floors, the radiologist will transform from providing guidance based on pixels and report impressions to significantly impacting the clinical management pathway of every patient in both the outpatient and inpatient setting. This evolution will occur slowly, but has already begun, as radiologists in the reading room are looking for better ways to adopt and integrate the power of artificial intelligence beyond the interpretation of images.

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Ayden Jacob, MD, MSc