9 August 2016

Technology Innovations That Will Transform the Future of Radiology

Advances in technology over the past two decades, from PACS systems to voice recognition software, have enabled significant improvements to efficiency and, in turn, patient care in the field of radiology. New technology promises to fundamentally change the practice of radiology, thanks in part to IBM’s recently formed Watson Health medical imaging collaborative. In a new article in Healthcare Tech Outlook, Dr. Glenn Kaplan, Sheridan Healthcare’s VP of Offsite Radiology Services, talks about how Sheridan and other members of this collaborative are working to leverage Watson’s sophisticated cognitive computing and cognitive imaging capabilities to help make radiologists better diagnosticians and physicians.

It’s common for referring physicians to provide radiologists with very minimal patient information on the order sheets, which often are missing relevant information that can affect the accuracy of the readings. This problem is frequently exacerbated by a lack access to that information because of system interoperability issues. But those issues could become irrelevant in the foreseeable future, thanks to the work of the new IBM Watson medical imaging collaborative. Watson is “a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data.” Members in the collaborative plan to make the most of its unparalleled cognitive computing capabilities, training it to help doctors provide more patient-specific care as it creates a continually growing knowledge base that can be used to improve care for broader patient populations as well as individuals.

One of the initiatives will be training Watson to detect abnormalities in radiology images, including things like subtle fractures that even a very experienced radiologist might easily miss and that could have major implications for the patient’s health, quality of life, and even life expectancy. Another is teaching Watson to prioritize cases that require emergent care. Ultimately, the partners hope to help Watson learn to understand and extract insights from X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and a variety of other unstructured imaging data, combine those insights with patient and clinical data from a broad range of other sources, and pull together the most relevant information for each case to help doctors make more effective and more individualized care decisions for their patients.

Learn more about the exciting work of the IBM Watson Health medical imaging collaborative that will pave the way for a new era of personalized patient care in Dr. Kaplan’s article “Technology Innovations That Will Transform Radiology and Patient Care.”