Experts will question computer use in radiology
The vast majority of the radiologist's work is now either made possible, or assisted, by computer technology. However, the full significance of that role is to be explored by leading radiologists and computer experts at the ECR Congress 2009.
However, what led him to pose the session’s question are some concerns in the area of computer assisted diagnosis with a ‘vivacious debate’ focused on ‘who assists whom?’
‘Opinions vary from a flat refusal of CAD systems due to the high number of false positives – computers tend to “see too much” and radiologists must correct their mistakes – to the deep persuasion that, in some diagnostic domains, reporting can be done better by CAD systems than by radiologists.’
However, there remains no doubt that it must be the radiologist who is in charge, he emphasised. ‘The challenging aspect is how to incorporate technologies in a sort of “ideal reporting cockpit”, where the radiologist is offered tailored assistance by a set of “intelligent” software that helps him or her to review an increasing number of images with improved diagnostic performances.’
Albeit, the efficient integration of computer systems is important in reducing reporting time, he said, and at the same time preventing mistakes or omissions in radiological reports.
‘Moreover, the multimodal presentation of processed imaging data allows a better comprehension of the radiological results on the part of referring physicians: this is extremely valuable in preventing therapeutic errors.’
He foresees major breakthroughs in computer-aided radiology being achieved when structured reports will be generated as ‘drafts’ by reporting systems on the basis of the radiologist’s interaction with the diagnostic imaging datasets. This, he said, will overcome the current reluctance of radiologists to enter the challenging arena of structured reporting, due to the fear of an actual increase of their reporting time. ‘I’m sure that, in the next few years, computer technology will be able to demonstrate that it can provide us with tools able to assist us in producing information-rich reports in less time than is currently needed.’
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