Radiology Roundup: New Research, New Roles


Technology and big data continue to gain momentum in medical imaging, expanding the potential for analytics to better equip radiologists in their work. At the same time, radiologists, who are often an unseen face in patient care, remain challenged by the need to prove their value to patients, to other physicians and healthcare administrators. It takes more than imaging analytics to deliver an accurate diagnosis, and radiologists are working to change public perception as they adapt to new technology.

This month’s roundup features new research and technology, as well as thought-provoking pieces on radiologists’ changing roles in the health system.

1. NIH Releases Largest Publicly Available Chest X-Ray Dataset to Scientific Community

Do you have a passion for research or know a colleague who does? The NIH Clinical Center has released a massive chest X-ray dataset to jumpstart AI diagnostics. The dataset has more than 100,000 images from 30,000 patients, including a large number from patients with advanced lung disease.

NIH’s intent is for academic and research institutions to use these scans to develop diagnostic computer processes that could confirm radiologists’ results, improve their accuracy and help identify additional findings that may have been overlooked.

Other possible uses for the dataset might be to:

  • Identify slow changes over the course of multiple chest X-rays
  • Improve patient care in countries without access to radiologists
  • Create a virtual radiology resident by training AI

2. MRI Could Be ‘Game Changer’ for Cardiac Arrest Survivors

A new study could help clinicians better predict which patients will recover brain function, and the degree of cognitive recovery, after cardiac arrest. Researchers took MRI measurements of cardiac patients to determine the brain’s functional network connectivity and identify factors that influence potential outcomes.

“This is game-changing information about what happens in the brains of people who suffer cardiac arrest,” said lead author Dr. Robert Stevens, of Johns Hopkins University in the review.

The most significant factors for favorable outcomes were younger age, presence of ventricular fibrillation, and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. FLAIR and DWI scores were significantly higher in patients with unfavorable outcomes than in patients with favorable outcomes in all brain regions.

3. Can Radiology Fix Its PR Problem?

Have you noticed a shift in how radiologists are perceived, both by providers and patients? You’ve likely seen the impact of declining reimbursements and increased demand for faster turnarounds.

In this article, Dr. Nisha Mehita shares her perspective on the challenges the profession faces and how to resolve them. Tired of financial cuts and unrealistic clinical expectations? Do your patients pick their imaging site based on location and scheduling instead of the physicians who practice there? Do you feel undervalued and overworked? Dr. Mehita offers practical solutions to address these challenges. Her solutions range from greater participation in the health system to suggestions that will help patients connect radiology work to the radiologists behind the scenes.

4. 5 Ways Radiologists Can Demonstrate Value and Increase Influence

Are you interested in what your fellow radiologists have to say about advancing the profession?  This article walks through the importance of increasing your visibility and sharing your value. Doctors in the trenches detail how they make real connections with patients, work closely with referring physicians, get aligned with hospital administrators and more.

For example, one radiologist, includes her work phone number at the bottom of every report, so patients can call her directly with questions. Another shares how establishing a relationship with hospital administrators can impact imaging investments, quality metrics and information technology.

The profession is experiencing rapid change driven by big data, machine learning and other technological advancements. At the same time, radiologists are challenged to come out of the lab, to make their presence known throughout the health system and, ultimately, to patients. To help keep pace with these changes and stay current on the latest industry news, subscribe to the Medical Imaging Talk blog.

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