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Unveiling the Future of Radiology: Key Trends from RSNA 2023

At RSNA, three major trends stood out: the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), a renewed focus on health equity, and a dedicated effort to enhance the patient experience.

Innovation was a central theme at the Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA) 109th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting held recently in Chicago, and the discussions that took place there will inform the future of radiology in 2024 in beyond.

RSNA 2023 showcased advancements across the healthcare spectrum from health policy and education to imaging informatics. Among the main topics discussed at the conference, three major trends stood out: the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), a renewed focus on health equity, and a dedicated effort to enhance the patient experience.

Trend #1 – AI, tech and people as a service:

AI is sweeping through radiology with unprecedented vigor. RSNA 2023 witnessed major industry players such as GE, Siemens, and Philips unveiling cutting-edge AI innovations that promise to revolutionize the field. The conference floor was abuzz with discussions on AI applications, with specific focus areas including AI in Breast Imaging, Pancreatic Tumor Imaging, and the emergence of teleradiology services to redefine diagnostic workflows and treatment.

The fusion of technology and human expertise is becoming a hallmark of modern radiology. Radiologists are leveraging AI tools to enhance their diagnostic capabilities and improve patient outcomes. The conference sessions explored the practical applications of AI, demonstrating its potential to significantly impact the field and elevate the standard of patient care.

Trend #2 – Health equity:

The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of health equity, and radiology is no exception. RSNA 2023 dedicated sessions to delve into this critical aspect of healthcare, addressing issues such as the racial disparities in Alzheimer’s diagnoses and gender diversity in radiology.

A study published by Boston Medical Center showed that Black patients face delays in Alzheimer’s diagnoses as compared to White and Hispanic patients. Lead author Joshua Wibecan, MD, noted that, “obtaining access to neuroimaging is one possible barrier that delays diagnosis.” Black patients received imaging for cognitive impairment at an older age and were more likely to receive a CT scan, as opposed to the more detailed MRI.

Discussions around gender diversity focused on the need for more inclusion. Both the patients as well as workforce members who identify as transgender or nonbinary need to be supported in the field of radiology. Transgender employees discussed how radiology practices can adapt to serve a more inclusive population.  The conversation also focused on a need to collect more comprehensive gender data to better support patients.

The conference highlighted the pressing need for inclusivity and equal access to radiological services, echoing the broader call for a more equitable healthcare landscape.

Trend #3 – Patient experience:

While the radiology landscape undergoes a technological metamorphosis, the human aspect remains central. RSNA 2023 emphasized the imperative of improving patient experience, aligning it with the expectations set by consumer-centric industries. Discussions revolved around the symbiotic relationship between AI and patient-centered radiology. While the industry should embrace the latest technology, it should also work to preserve the human touch. The conference also echoed the need to reduce administrative burdens on radiologists, freeing up their time for more nuanced patient care.

The integration of AI, the commitment to health equity, and the emphasis on patient experience collectively propel radiology into a future where innovation and compassion coexist harmoniously. RSNA continues to serve as a catalyst for change, shaping the trajectory of radiological medicine and inspiring professionals to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Photo: Feodora Chiosea, Getty Images

Dr. Mark D. Crockett, MD, FACEP is the Chief Medical Officer at TeleDaaS. He has been in HCIT leadership for more than 20 years, with Chief Medical Officer positions at Optum, Best Doctors, and Picis. He has led organizations in several areas of healthcare software, including electronic medical records, population Health, and most recently patient safety and compliance. During much of that time he practiced Emergency Medicine at Advocate Healthcare in Chicago. He is a published author in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and holds several patents in healthcare information systems. He received his Bachelor of Science from Wheaton College and his Medical Degree from the University of Illinois.