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Q&A with ESR president, Prof. Boris Brkljačić

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | February 14, 2020

I also fully recognise the importance for the ESR to be acknowledged as a major stakeholder in EU health policies and involved in consultation processes for new legislative initiatives in this field. Getting our voice heard in the interest of our patients is crucial, and this is why I also strongly engaged in advocacy activities in Brussels, including a recent event at the European Parliament co-organised by the ESR and the European Respiratory Society to raise awareness of lung cancer and the need for increased visibility of the disease in EU policies, particularly when it comes to screening programs.

I also participated at ‘The Digital Transformation of Healthcare in Europe: Unlocking the Potential of Digital Solutions for Patients, Healthcare Providers and Health Systems’ event in Brussels in December 2019 to strengthen the position of medical imaging on the European Union health policy agenda, highlighting the contribution of radiology toward accurate diagnosis and treatment.

HCB News: Are there any developments within the field of radiology over the last 12 months that you’re particularly excited about?
BB: Artificial intelligence and its benefits for our field has been a topic that was very much in the ESR’s focus during the last year, and culminated in the publication of an ESR white paper called “What the radiologist should know about artificial intelligence” in last April.

In the same month, we hosted a very successful event in Barcelona together with the European School of Radiology called “Intelligence. Innovation. Imaging — The Perfect Vision of AI”, which saw a record number of 5,800 registrations from 140 countries for live streaming and was highly praised by the ESR members.
Due to the great feedback and huge demand, we have decided to host a similar event in Vienna in May 2020. This will again be in cooperation with ESOR and will focus on the very interesting topic of AI in oncologic imaging. This event will again be available via live stream, so I would like to invite all our colleagues from the USA to join as well.

Later in 2019 the ESR and major North American radiology organizations published a statement on ethics of AI in radiology to guide the development of AI in radiology. The multi-society statement focuses on three major areas: data, algorithms and practice. With all the positive impacts that come with the fast development of AI tools in radiology, it also puts the spotlight on complex ethical and societal questions for patients and the radiology community. It is important for professional societies like the ESR to provide guidance in this rapidly advancing field and to support the development of good practice recommendations, to provide education and training in data science, as well as to support the development of clinically relevant AI use cases and the clinical validation of algorithms. Additionally, standardization and harmonization are crucial topics at the heart of the ESR, and it is considered essential to enter into dialogue with the European institution as well as other stakeholders.

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