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Innovations in Oncology & Imaging Q1 2024

Elevating patient care with synergy between radiologists and AI

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Smederevac

Professor Carlo Catalano

President, The European Society of Radiology

As AI makes waves in medicine, radiologists must position themselves to embrace this new technology, safeguard their profession and redefine the future of medical imaging.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising radiology. It is the new kid on the block — a disruptor in the field. For some, this is a tool to be feared. For others, it offers a wealth of opportunity. Unlike many other medical fields, radiology has its origins rooted in technology. The radiologist has always embraced the latest innovations to diagnose the patient more effectively and efficiently. The rise of AI should be treated no differently.

AI enhancing radiology practice

To give the cold shoulder to this emerging technology at this crucial moment would be to let a huge opportunity slip through our fingers — an opportunity to create a symbiotic relationship with AI. This symbiosis has the potential to strengthen, not weaken the radiologists’ role in medicine and, ultimately, take medical imaging to the next level.

AI will not replace radiologists; it will enhance their practice. Just as a plane would never be left on autopilot without the oversight of an actual pilot, we cannot leave AI to its own devices when it comes to providing accurate diagnosis and effective treatment paths for the patient. This technology is here to stay and will only grow more powerful with time, but radiologists can become the captains of AI in imaging if we are open to adaptation.

To remain the key stakeholders in radiology, we must use our wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure we control the direction of our field. Radiologists can ignore the elephant in the room — or we can embrace it, shape it and harness its extraordinary power.

AI will not replace radiologists;
it will enhance their practice.

Collaboration to strengthen radiology

How do we cultivate and grow this symbiotic relationship and ensure that it is fit for purpose? Radiologists must act now, collaborating with industry partners, international organisations, governments, our medical colleagues and the patient to establish efficient workflows, clear guidelines and revised training programmes to help integrate AI into our daily working lives.

At the European Congress of Radiology 2024, attendees had one of the best opportunities for such collaboration. With its theme of ‘Next Generation Radiology,’ the congress brought many of these stakeholders together under one roof, offering radiologists and health partners from across the world a unique chance to interact, learn and define the future of our profession together.

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