AI Into Ac­tion … Fi­nally

Af­ter waves of con­cern and op­ti­mism about the im­pact of ma­chine learn­ing, the real work be­gins.

Health Data Management - - CONTENTS - BY FRED BAZ­ZOLI

Some providers have be­gun to em­brace tech­nolo­gies that, un­til re­cently, they con­sid­ered hype.

Ra­di­ol­o­gists have gone through a huge swing of emo­tions when it comes to ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

Two years ago at the an­nual meet­ing of the Ra­di­o­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of North Amer­ica, the per­va­sive feel­ing was ap­pre­hen­sion. Be­fore the con­fer­ence, some ar­ti­cles sur­faced sug­gest­ing that the use of com­puter tech­nol­ogy would elim­i­nate the need for ra­di­ol­o­gists, be­cause com­put­ers could han­dle all in­ter­pre­ta­tion of im­ages.

I’m not sure where this para­noia landed on the Gart­ner Hype Cy­cle, but there was pal­pa­ble push­back against the threat of AI.

Fast for­ward to the next year, when some of those fears sub­sided. More ven­dors were tout­ing the po­ten­tial of AI and how it would fit into fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tions.

Now, some lead­ing health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions are be­gin­ning to em­ploy AI and ma­chine learn­ing to au­to­mate pro­cesses that help de­tect ab­nor­mal struc­tures in im­ages. While the even­tual goal is to as­sist ra­di­ol­o­gists in more ef­fec­tively de­tect­ing and track­ing the pro­gres­sion of dis­eases, IT ex­ec­u­tives are be­gin­ning to grap­ple with some of the in­her­ent chal­lenges, writes Linda Wil­son in this is­sue’s cover story.

Her re­port­ing finds that there now are nu­mer­ous al­go­rithms in var­i­ous stages of de­vel­op­ment and in the FDA ap­proval process, and ex­perts be­lieve there could even­tu­ally be hun­dreds or even thou­sands of AI-based apps to im­prove the qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency of ra­di­ol­ogy.

Now, the trick be­comes in­cor­po­rat­ing AI into the work­flows of ra­di­ol­o­gists so they fit seam­lessly into their work­day. That’s the fo­cus of providers cur­rently, Wil­son writes—mov­ing ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies from ex­per­i­men­ta­tion into ac­tual pro­duc­tion.

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