Canadian radiation oncology ripe for AI education

Only 19 of 159 radiation oncology professionals working across Canada, or 12%, feel they’re well-versed in AI. However, more than 90% are open to learning its ways.

The survey behind the findings was commissioned and analyzed by Ewa Szumacher, MD, MEd, and colleagues at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Their report is posted in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences.

Along with radiation oncologists, respondents included radiation physicists, therapists and trainees. All 10 provinces had participants.

Other interesting findings from the responses:

  • 80% of respondents believe AI can save on time.
  • 62% think it can help improve patient outcomes.
  • 57% are concerned about AI having negative economic effects, including job losses.
  • 37% worry about its impact on patient interactions.

Further, radiation oncology professionals tend to believe AI will “be an important part of patient treatment in their future practices,” the authors report.

In their discussion section, Szumacher et al. comment:

“It is human nature to fear the unknown, and … multiple studies conducted internationally … are evidence of this. To eliminate the fear is to invest in educating professionals to know the importance and potential that AI can have on the future of treatment. In addition, it is important to work as a team with AI experts, researchers, software companies, radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, radiation physicists and radiation trainees, to grow this technology in the right direction.”