by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | November 29, 2020
From the November 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
I think the second challenge members are facing is research funding in medical imaging and intervention. Will the funding be there and can we grant fund young researchers through the R & E foundation?
The third challenge is appropriate reimbursement for the services we provide for patients. Currently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is planning an inappropriate 11 percent cut in professional reimbursement for our imaging services.
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A fourth challenge is how radiologists will embrace and lead the development and implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI has a great deal to offer, but we need to implement AI responsibly and efficiently. At RSNA 2020, we will have an “AI imaging in practice” demonstration that will take attendees through clinical scenarios and demonstrate the interoperability required to make AI useful in daily clinical practice. We’ve had a number of webinars and educational opportunities related to AI and recently received a grant from the department of energy’s national nuclear security administration to develop a global learning center in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The RSNA is going to assist our members in meeting all these challenges.
HCBN: Are there members concerned that AI will replace them?
I think we’ve gone beyond that. That was perhaps a concern in the beginning. One of my colleagues on the RSNA board, Curt Langlotz, has made a statement that articulates things well, “AI will not replace radiologists. But radiologists who use AI will replace radiologists who don’t.”
If I look at radiology throughout my long career, when CT came in, people said “cross-sectional picture! We won’t need radiologists anymore, we’ll be able to see the pathology right there.” Then they realized there was a lot of pathology to see and they needed a radiologist to help them out. And back when MR was called NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) before the “nuclear” was changed to not worry the public, people would joke that NMR stood for “no more radiologists.” Again, they found out that there was a lot of information in that MR scan that could really benefit from a radiologist’s expertise. This is what makes our specialty so exciting. Instead of being a threat, AI might give us more time, for example, to talk to patients. It may help us prioritize which cases we should look at first. It may help us data mine the electronic medical record and give more focused imaging reports. AI is not going to replace radiologists — I’m not worried about that, I’m excited about it.