Best buddies in radiology?

  • Best Buddies in radiology

Only a very few, if any, radiologists are worried that AI will make their job redundant. But does this mean that AI should be promoted to a radiologist’s “best buddy”? Who knows. There are supposedly people who find conversations with Alexa the same as talking to a friend.

But they’re not the sort we here at VISUS have in mind when we think about the advantages of AI for routine radiology work. We think about the overworked radiologists who have to analyze too many images in not enough time. Too little time for demanding cases and above all too little time for patients.

And it is for these people that AI can become the most important work buddy. This is because AI can point out any errors, present results on a silver platter, and deal with all the annoying, stupid tasks. It takes care of automation, background checks, and provides valuable additional knowledge. But—and this is where AI is not on a par with a best friend—it cannot have equal footing when making decisions. Perhaps it is best considered the loyal acquaintance you shamelessly turn to whenever you need help. As often as needed and without a trace of a bad conscience. 

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That AI is increasingly establishing itself in radiology is generally and rightly seen as a success and an important step toward the future. Ultimately, healthcare will—and must—become digital to be able to deal with future challenges. But still the question must be allowed: are our expectations of AI realistic? Is it really going to be a “best buddy” in radiology or just a “false friend”?