How some radiologists are going the extra mile to learn about AI

Radiologists are in a position to demonstrate their value and lead the implementation of AI in healthcare—but keeping up with these evolving technologies is easier said than done.

A new study published in Academic Radiology detailed one way radiologists have been paying close attention to AI in the last two years: an AI journal club built around thoughtful discussions and interactive webinars.

“AI can potentially assist radiologists not only with image interpretation but also with several noninterpretive tasks,” wrote Patricia Balthazar, MD, department of radiology and imaging sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues. “Regardless of how AI will change the future of our specialty, practicing radiologists and radiology trainees alike must prepare and take the lead in this important practice revolution. After all, if we are not sitting at the table where decisions are made, they will be made on our behalf.”

The American College of Radiology Resident and Fellow Section helped launch the AI journal club, forming an advisory group to help brainstorm ideas for the webinars. The first event, “Radiologists as knowledge experts in a world of artificial intelligence,” occurred in December 2017 and reached more than 60 live participants. The club has produced thirteen webinars in total thus far, with titles ranging from “What does deep learning see?” to “A roadmap for foundational research on artificial intelligence in medical imaging.” Sessions are recorded and later uploaded to YouTube.

These educational events are open to anyone—39% of attendees so far have not been radiologists—and the authors said it is vital for the club to attract interest from individuals with a variety of backgrounds.

“Radiologists, computer scientists, data scientists and others with an interest in the topic are all counted among the attendees,” they wrote. “This diversity is important to disseminate skills and take advantage of the AI revolution to improve patient care.”

The sessions help prepare radiologists for the future, covering certain areas that get don’t get much attention during traditional training. Balthazar and colleagues did note that the AI journal club “does not represent a comprehensive AI curriculum,” but it makes a perfect “complementary tool” for engaging radiologists and other specialists.

“Going forward, the AI Journal Club will continue to hold monthly webinars to discuss the most recent developments, papers, and news related to AI/machine learning,” the authors concluded. “Its format will evolve to attend the demands of the audience and adapt as new resources become available.”