Monica J. Wood, MD
Q: What advances in the field of radiology do you find most exciting?
One of the most exciting developments within radiology is the introduction of machine learning, which has the potential to augment our diagnostic and operational capabilities. Just as the transition from film to PACS revolutionized radiology and brought about unprecedented gains in efficiency, thoughtful and targeted machine learning applications will have a similar impact on our ability to deliver high-quality care. Embracing these algorithms will help us process an increasing amount of information to distill what is clinically relevant. The automation of mundane and repetitive tasks will give us more time to engage directly with referring clinicians and patients — increasing the value of imaging, improving the patient experience, and boosting physician satisfaction.
Although machine learning holds much promise for our field, many challenges remain. Unanswered questions pertaining to ethical considerations, legal and regulatory ramifications, training and workforce transformations, and economic effects have yet to be determined. Fortunately, the introduction of assistive tools is not novel, and we can learn from past experiences and other industries as we implement this technology in our reading rooms. Solving these challenges will not be easy, so we will need a diverse set of perspectives and expertise.
The opportunity to participate in this new era of imaging is exciting for trainees and practicing radiologists alike. We must harness our clinical and non-clinical skills as we grapple with these technological advances.
Monica J. Wood, MD, is chief resident in diagnostic radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and vice chair of the ACR RFS.