Imaging IT trends to watch in 2023

February 06, 2023
Health IT X-Ray

Buyers looking to evaluate and select AI-based solutions often encounter a lack of both maturity and consensus of requirements and process. Procurement department staff may not fully understand the complexity of some AI-based solution options, or what terms and conditions to negotiate for during contracting.

Where some Radiologists are eager to use AI-based solutions to perform common, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks, with the hope that they will be given more time to focus on diagnostic reasoning, collaboration, education, research, and other activities they value, it is likely that the healthcare system will look to fill any reading capacity created with more exam volumes. AI may not be the cure to physician burnout that some Rads hope it is.

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Interactive multimedia reporting (IMR)
Another topic that is once again trending is that of IMR (called Multimedia Enhanced Radiology Report or MERR, among other names, in prior incarnations).

While IMR has its advocates within some Radiology organizations that promote its added value to the clinicians (and perhaps patients) that receive the reports — because of the structure and formatting of data, inclusion of graphics and images, and even potentially, interactivity — widespread adoption has been elusive. Others are eager to exploit the benefits of structured, semantically labelled discrete data results for population-level surveillance and research.

There have historically been several fundamental technical barriers to effective IMR creation across applications. While creating IMR reports is much simpler within a single application, like a PACS that includes a full reporting module with voice-recognition, the majority of enterprises view images in one application, view patient chart information in another application, and create reports in a third application, all integrated through APIs on the reading workstation desktop.

Emerging standards like FHIRcast provide new opportunities, using modern web-like technical methods, that allow discrete structured data elements — such as a measurement, table, URL, or thumbnail image — to be passed from one application to another. Development of the APIs necessary to use these methods among PACS and reporting solutions is ongoing, but given the varied data and semantic context of each discrete data element, no one should expect this to be a plug-and-play integration in the near term. Early adopters may set some de facto integration and data element definition standards for others.

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