By Dr Harsha Chadaga, Senior Consultant and Head of Radiology at Columbia Asia Hospital
Radiology has come a long way since the discovery of X-rays in 1895 and now has a central role in better diagnosis and monitoring of patient. The capabilities of medical imaging has seen rapid advancements in the last few decades due to constant increase in the computing power and the availability of large data to analyze. The latest advancements in the field of radiology can be understood from the below perspective.
Technology and Digitization:- One of the major advancement in radiology has been “Digitalization”. This has enabled hospitals to go paper-less. The use of PACS has enabled radiologists to easily access the prior study of patients, retrieve large data on just a click and use this data for developing decision support systems. Large chain of hospitals are utilizing the Enterprise solutions which has helped in improving patient safety, cost savings and data mining.
Software solutions like RIS has now made it easy to record every patient right from scheduling appointments to diagnosis and treatment. Currently intelligence is being built into these systems to make this a robust, patient friendly process. Technology improvements have enables the radiologist and clinicians to make diagnosis noninvasively and accurately while improving patient safety by introducing low dose imaging and non-contrast techniques.
3D Capabilities:- The use of 3D technologies in diagnostic radiology has enabled better understanding and planning of surgery, which in turn has improved the safety and outcome of surgeries.
Big Data and Analytics: Radiologists are looking forward to in the future of analytics in medical imaging which would augment their working and lead to fewer errors, more personalized care.
1. Kindly elaborate on the latest trends in radiology
Latest trends in radiology can be discussed in terms of improvements in machines, reporting and clinicians. The newer scanners have technologies which reduce the amount of radiation being delivered, has artificial intelligence built to help the technologists to perform scans and improve patient comfort while undergoing various scanning.
There has been development in reporting artificial intelligent enabled workflows which aid the radiologists to make faster and accurate reports that are multimedia enhanced and more clinically relevant.
The new enterprise imaging has been designed to help radiologists take on the challenges of modern diagnostic imaging. The migration from traditional method of picture archiving and communication systems to enterprise imaging and data management system will change how clinicians have been accessing images and patient information.
The latest trends in radiology like the 3D printing has made it possible to print 3D models of internal organs which aid in diagnosis and guiding the surgeons through complex procedures.
2.What technological advancements has Columbia Asia Hospital introduced lately?
We have recently introduced Brain Tumor Surgery Navigation Technology, this allows the surgeons to get a 3D view of the brain and better control their surgical procedures. We have leveraged modern technology to virtually consolidate our radiologist across group hospitals spread across different geographies helping cross utilize expertise and load balance.
CARG has been closely associated with the industry for development of AI in radiology. With a startup it has been able to develop AI for Chest X-ray reporting, which has been presented in various national and international forums and has been CE approved. The algorithm will be deployed in the workflow to assist radiologist to improve accuracy and efficiency and also used as a quality tool. We are working with industry player to centralize protocol management, better manage equipment utilization and monitor radiation dose.
3. Is medical imaging the fastest growing segment of healthcare?
Medical imaging is one of the fastest growing segments of health care. I think this growth is triggered by the fact that radiology has become even more integral part in patient management by aiding the clinician to make early and accurate diagnosis, increasing demand for early stage diagnosis of chronic disease and rising aging demographics. Also with increasing awareness in population importance of good health, preventive health care is on the rise.
Technological advancements coupled with supportive investments and funds by government like Ayushman Bharath is expected to contribute towards the market growth. The global medical imaging market size was valued USD 33.7 billion in 2016 and is expected to witness a CAGR of 5.8% over the forecast period 2018-2024. Major factors driving growth of this industry is increasing demand for early-stage diagnosis of chronic disease and rising aging demographics, which is expected to boost the demand of diagnostic imaging across the globe. Diagnostic imaging has been one of the major industries in healthcare, which has adapted to constant changes and continuing to grow consistently.
4. Kindly elaborate on the major role of Artificial Intelligence in radiology. Will it change the scope of Medical Imaging?
I strongly believe that artificial intelligence will change the way radiology is being practiced currently and will help augment radiology practice.
Role of AI in radiology as I see are:- AI will play an integral part in triage of studies to prioritise and appropriately route through the organisation. It has the capability to perform prepared or second read, after initial interpretation on images and report. It can deliver real time diagnostic support alongside a radiologist. Visualizing features on images that reflect genomic or diagnostic properties is one of the key role of Ai. With the advent of deep learning, Ai seems to be able to see patterns that are beyond human perception.
5. How do you see the radiology market in India?
Healthcare sector is seeing a sharp growth in many sectors, one of which is radiology. With emerging trends and technology, it is interesting to see the tremendous scope that this sector has to offer. The world of imaging and technology is constantly evolving and opening up to a vast new world of innovations.
The radiology market in India is multi-segmented. Market for diagnostic services has been growing in India over the past couple of years at a rate of 15-20%. Nearly 50% utilization is noted for MRI/CT Machines across cities
The demand for Imaging is fuelled by increasing age population and increasing accessibility to healthcare fuelled by public and private healthcare market. Now many tier 2 and tier 3 cities have access to good quality imaging centres and with numerous Govt. have started PPP to enhance radiology service to public.