Radiologists look beyond COVID-19 to build resilient healthcare systems
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The majority of radiology leaders surveyed in Philips’ latest Future Health Index regard artificial intelligence as the next logical step after telehealth in helping them do their job
Philips’ latest Future Health Index (FHI) 2021 report - a global survey of healthcare leaders to discover how they are meeting today's demands and building resilience into their healthcare systems - reveals radiology healthcare leaders to be one of the leading groups believing in the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and telehealth to help them do their jobs. However, compared to cardiologists, who are investing in AI now, radiology healthcare leaders expect their investments in AI to be rolled out over the next few years. While only 29% said they were investing in AI today, when asked whether they would be investing in AI three years from now, the figure jumped to 82%.
Radiologists also proved to be keen advocates for telehealth, with over two-thirds (69%) prioritizing investment in telehealth today. Similar to cardiologists, radiologists tended to focus on the benefits of healthcare professional to healthcare professional telehealth (59%) rather than on healthcare professional to patient telehealth (58%). Nevertheless, even their investment in healthcare professional to patient telehealth still exceeded the overall FHI average for all groups of 32%. Their existing investment in telehealth could also explain why they foresee a steep decline in telehealth investment over the next three years - a 44 percentage point decline compared to the overall FHI average of a -24 percentage points. In other words, they appear to be already doing the groundwork to make telehealth a reality.
AI is key to managing escalating data volume
The fact that both radiology and cardiology healthcare leaders recognize the potential of AI and telehealth may not come as a surprise. Both groups need to analyze vast amounts of data. For cardiologists, a typical example is the streaming data from cardiac wearables and implants like those delivered by Philips’ Cardiology Pathways solutions, which need to be analyzed in real time to alert cardiologists about potentially life-threatening patient deteriorations. Philips’ Integrated Diagnostics solutions also provide an AI-ready infrastructure for seamless integration of AI applications into clinical and operational workflows.
For radiologists, it’s the huge amount of imaging data that hits their desks every working day, with AI offering the potential to pre-screen scans to identify high-priority cases for immediate review or act as a ‘second-reader’ to augment the quality and consistency of diagnoses.
Chief Medical Officer for Philips.
“For radiologists, it’s the huge amount of imaging data that hits their desks every working day, with AI offering the potential to pre-screen scans to identify high-priority cases for immediate review or act as a ‘second-reader’ to augment the quality and consistency of diagnoses,” said Jan Kimpen, Chief Medical Officer for Philips.
Overall, around two thirds (65%) of the radiology leaders surveyed were more likely to agree that their hospital or healthcare facility needs to invest in implementing predictive healthcare technologies over the next three years to be prepared for the future - a figure significantly higher than the average of 40% for all groups surveyed in the FHI.
“Having laid the groundwork for telehealth, it seems radiologists regard shifting the focus to AI is the next logical step, citing the ability of AI to integrate diagnostics and optimize operational efficiency as prime drivers,” Kimpen added.
Concerned about potential roadblocks, interoperability pain points
Radiology leaders did however highlight potential roadblocks to exploiting these digital technologies to the full. A lack of interoperability and/or data standards across technological systems and platforms, and difficulties with data management, were both cited by more than half of the radiology leaders surveyed as barriers to adoption of digital technologies. Over half also reported staff's lack of experience with new technologies is an internal barrier impeding them from preparing for the future, while a quarter reported a lack of training. Both of these issues are being addressed by Philips in its latest AI-assisted MR SmartWorkflow and CT SmartWorkflow solutions, which allow even relatively inexperienced radiology technicians to capture consistently high quality diagnostic images.
Optimistic about the future, strong push for sustainability
While the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have delayed plans to move from traditional volume-based care models to value-based models, 50% of the radiology leaders surveyed plan to move to value-based care in the future. This is significantly higher than the overall average for all FHI respondents (33%), so radiology leaders clearly see value-based care as the way forward. They also recognize that ambulatory primary care centers will play an increasing role in out-of-hospital routine care delivery, with 64% reporting this compared to an average 48% across all FHI groups surveyed. Coupled with a strong push for sustainability, which sees 73% citing the implementation of sustainability practices as one of their top priorities in future (up from 2% who currently prioritize it), radiology leaders remain confident in the ability of their hospital or healthcare facility to deliver quality care three years on from the pandemic. For patients, that has to be good news.
Visit the Philips Future Health Index site to download the full 2021 report and join Philips at RSNA 2021 where the company will spotlight its latest portfolio of radiology workflow solutions and smart connected imaging systems to increase efficiency and diagnostic confidence in precision care and treatment.
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