Incorporating Emerging Technologies as Part of Radiology Training, Health News, ET HealthWorld

By Vikram Thaploo

The rapid adoption of smart technologies especially artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and deep learning has revolutionized the world, making people’s faster, easier and more convenient. Over the past three decades, the introduction of digital imaging systems, teleradiology and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) has significantly transformed radiology services. Radiology became global as teleradiology turned out to be the first successful telemedicine application around the world. AI along with a wide range of applications is not only assisting radiologists to process large amounts of imaging data but also, improving the accuracy and consistency of patient diagnoses, imaging and reducing work-related stress on radiology staff as well as improving the overall patient experience . However, the lack of knowledge of emerging technologies like AI has been a major hurdle for radiologists to use the same effectively at work. In fact, a recent survey involving 1041 radiologists showed that a large proportion of radiologists consider the lack of emerging tech knowledge as a major hurdle to their work.

Scholars and educators are stressing the urgent need to develop training programs that introduce the latest technologies like AI and its applications to radiologists in an effective language that will assist them to understand how these technologies work with medical data and translate them into medical insights. Additionally, the rapid evolution of technology requires the creation of new training curriculums and swift updates of the content.

Recent Developments to Train Radiologists on Emerging Technologies

Even though training on innovative technologies is not part of the radiologist training curriculum, several initiatives have been taken to train radiologists on AI-based subjects. For instance, The European Society of Radiology (ESR) offers an online radiology training curriculum which includes learning the application and function of Artificial Intelligence tools to gain better knowledge of various technical options to implement deep learning and AI applications in the radiology workflow. The EuSoMII or the European Society of Medical Imaging Informatics has even supported the adoption and promotion of this curriculum for the integration of both ethical and technical aspects of AI into the radiology curriculum.

Another initiative worth mentioning is the NIIC (National Imaging Informatics Course) co-organized by the SIIM (Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine) and RSNA (Radiological Society of North America). It includes using AI algorithms for medical imaging and the foundations of deep learning. This program is not only offered to radiology residents but even caters to PACS managers and various professionals in the medical imaging domain.

Additionally, the American College of Radiology has also been active in offering training programs based on the foundations of artificial intelligence and its possibilities in radiology practice.

Current Issues with AI Training Programs for Radiologists

While there has been a significant increase in the number of AI-based training for radiologists over the past 1½ years, the majority of the programs are short and not part of larger curriculums. Here’s a look at issues with the present training programs:

Content: Most of the training programs concentrate on the conceptual aspects of emerging technologies like the basics of AI, machine learning, etc. and its potential for medical practice in general which is not necessarily related to radiology. Only a handful of programs practically engage radiologists in hands-on training of working with some tech-based tools.

Target Audience: Another significant problem with the training programs is that a majority of them are targeted toward other medical professionals like medical researchers, GPs and other specialisations. In fact, a lot of the programs are quite generic.

Training Instructors: The training instructors of the programs are observed to be from various backgrounds like “founders of tech companies,” “radiology professors” and “researchers” from research and development departments. Half of the programs are jointly offered by instructors with medical and technical backgrounds. Only a handful of the programs are offered by radiologists.

What Needs To Be Done

Since a lot of the tech training programs for radiologists are usually stand-alone, short and fragmented, they need to be complemented with programs that are coherent and academically integrated into the radiology curriculum.

There is an urgent need to create training programs that are backed up by scientific research and provide an effective learning trajectory for professionals who wish to invest in long-term career development.

Also, as a significant amount of training programs focus on just the basics ie definitions, what is the impact of the latest technologies on radiology, etc. it is important to engage radiologists in practical exercises with real tech-based applications and show them how to use such platforms effectively and critically at their work.

Finally, specialized programs on specific use-cases need to be developed that radiologists face in using the latest technologies, keeping in mind the special needs of radiologists. Furthermore, training programs must be personalized and localized to the precise clinical practices and organizational settings.

By Vikram Thaploo, CEO – Apollo TeleHealth

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organization directly or indirectly)

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