Is Artificial Intelligence Taking Over Radiology?

By: Loren Elmann  |  February 6, 2020

By: Loren Elmann, Staff Writer

Recently, there has been a discussion about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine. Medical technology is advancing, which causes many doctors to fear for their jobs. Nonetheless, AI is intended to function as a useful tool for doctors, rather than their replacement. As this technology evolves, doctors, and specifically radiologists, are faced with more and more data to sift through each day and their workload is beginning to outpace them. 

Beyond this specific crisis, David Talby notes the three major advantages and the primary disadvantage of AI in Forbes Magazine as being the following: “AI tech gets more accurate every day while human experts do not. AI will be able to explain its results clearly, and AI may be the only way to provide access to best-in-class health care to more than 6 billion people who make less than $32 per day.” On the other hand, he notes the disadvantage of AI, highlighting the decline in empathy: “You will want a human to hold your hand when discussing your cancer diagnosis. Empathy is critical in such life-changing moments. The level of human connection you’ll have with your doctor will directly influence how well you feel, how likely you are to stick with a treatment plan, and how you and your family will remember the trauma for decades to come.”

I recently had the privilege to learn more about this while I was on Yeshiva University’s pre-health trip to Israel. We visited hospitals, trauma centers, medical schools, and innovative companies where I met a plethora of doctors leading in their fields. One of the places we visited was Zebra Medical, a company using AI, with the help of consulting radiologists, to transform the field of radiology for years to come. 

Zebra’s mission is to solve the radiologic crisis of an ever-increasing workload by creating algorithms to detect high-risk patients early. Not only does AI optimize radiologists’ work-list prioritization for urgent cases, it also sifts through a plethora of data so radiologists can focus on making sure their patients can get the care they need. Over the next few years, Zebra plans to release “dozens of automated findings and insights to help radiologists provide more comprehensive, accurate outcomes – faster, without compromising the quality of care.” Nevertheless, as Talby titled his article in Forbes, “AI Will Not Replace Doctors, But It May Drastically Change Their Jobs.”

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