Radiology: A Future So Bright

Technology continues to push healthcare into more streamlined processes that benefit the patient experience, as well as improve outcomes.  These technological advancements have propelled medical imaging to the forefront of healthcare with improved capabilities performing precision medicine.

Hricak Hedvig, MD, PhD makes note of the opportunity for radiologists to advance precision medicine in Radiology on January 28th (article). Using oncology as an example, Hedvig demonstrates through 4 key points, the power radiologists have to identify ailments and treat patients with greater efficiency.

 #1:  Radiology is Not a Solo Act

Radiology alone is not adequate in understanding tumor types or their behaviors. Hedvig believes that radiologists must partner with doctors in developing a next generation of diagnostics. Precision medicine and radiology when used together can identify predictive markers in biology as well as the differences in biology of sites within and around tumors. Using these measurement and analysis capabilities leads to improved treatment recommendations and follow up care.

 

 #2:  Technology Changes Clinical Trials

When starting a clinical trial, doctors typically use Phase I to determine the safety and tolerance of dosage amounts given in Phase II and III of the trial. The process is changing now with the emergence of diagnostic tools in precision medicine, as well as targeted imaging. Doctors can now identify the biologically correct dose and treatment from the beginning of the trial, thus fostering patient-centered care by avoiding toxic doses and related expenses.

A nuclear cardiology lab recently lowered its average radiation dose by 60% when it modified protocols and introduced new diagnostic hardware and post-processing software.[1]

 

#3:  Interventional Radiology = Patient-Centric Healthcare

Minimizing invasiveness and reducing recovery times are every health care provider’s top priorities.  Using interventional radiology advancements such as imaging, robotics, and other techniques, the focus remains centered on the patient and optimizing their care.  Hedvig related this idea back to oncology stating, “When given the opportunity, interventional radiologists will continue to blaze a trail toward precision oncology.”

 

#4:  Radiologists Embrace AI

While some are uncomfortable with the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine, those who embrace the technology will be best suited to solve clinical problems. Gone are the days of simply reading images – instead radiologists, pathologists and oncologists are tasked with finding solutions, prescribing preventative measures and making positive changes in treatments. These directives are another example of patient-centered care and the increased importance of radiology as a profession.

 

Medical imaging, as one part of a large healthcare puzzle, will remain the premier pathway for advancing precision medicine, improving outcomes and allowing patients the opportunity to thrive in treatment.

[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170507095911.htm

Shared Imaging is no stranger to the idea that the future of medicine lives inside medical imaging.  We are dedicated to offering hospitals and healthcare facilities flexible options to procure and utilize the industry’s most advanced imaging technology.

 

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