Survey: 1/3 of healthcare orgs using AI in imaging

AI has the potential to transform medical imaging, say providers, saving them time and effort when diagnosing and treating patients.

One-third of hospitals and imaging centers are using AI and related technologies to enhance their imaging services.

That’s according to a recent survey from Definitive Healthcare, which also found that of the 60+ percent of organizations that have yet to integrate AI into their operations, about one-third said they plan to do so within the next two years.

“Radiologists, in particular, use AI technologies to sift through millions of images and screen for potential abnormalities and patterns – thereby saving time (and potential lives),” said researchers.

“By using these technologies to screen images and identify abnormalities in patient scans, radiologists can significantly reduce the risk for both misdiagnosis and oversight in their analysis. With AI algorithms detecting abnormalities quicker than the human eye, AI has the ability to drive more efficient workflows for radiologists.”

For the survey, Definitive Healthcare contacted imaging leaders and radiologists from US hospitals and imaging centers throughout the last quarter of 2019 to determine the adoption rate, primary areas of use, and greatest challenges related to AI usage in imaging.

Perhaps not surprisingly, imaging centers reported a slightly higher use rate of AI technology compared to hospitals, with 34.7 percent of imaging centers saying that they use these tools and 31.9 percent of hospitals saying the same.

“This difference in reported usage is most likely due to distinctions in the primary objectives of each facility type. Imaging centers, for instance, are heavily based in diagnostic imaging services and, therefore, may show greater willingness to explore AI technologies that have shown promise in image analysis and operational tasks,” researchers said.

Of those organizations still not using AI, hospitals reported fewer plans for implementation than imaging centers, with 34.0 percent of imaging centers planning for implementation compared to just 28.3 percent of hospitals.

Moreover, researchers said that for those facilities who have yet to adopt AI, cost remains the most significant obstacle in implementation—followed by a “lack of strategic direction” within their organization.” Respondents were also concerned about their organization’s existing IT, citing both a "lack of necessary IT infrastructure" and a "lack of technical expertise" within their organization. 

Finally, more than half of respondents are confident that AI will have the greatest impact on patient care by improving or assisting in the accuracy of diagnosis.