AI isn’t taking over radiologists’ jobs

Radiologists are not alone in their hesitation of using AI in practice with a common fear of job loss or insecurities*. However, there are many important tasks outside of what AI provides that will continue to be needed for radiologists to perform.

Radiologists are more than image readers and interpreters. As a practitioner, you consult with other physicians, define the parameters for imaging exams, assess imaging findings and compare them to other test results. You talk through diagnosis, discuss results and next steps or procedures with patients—all critical activities outside the realm of AI.

Adversaries are not new to radiologists

As Curtis P. Langlotz, MD, PhD, department of radiology at Stanford University noted in his RSNA editorial**, this isn’t the first time radiologists have faced a “supposed awful adversary.” However, the speed and technology in which AI is introduced now, as compared to the influx of computer-aided imaging in the early 1990s, is more refined and achieves regulatory clearance based on performance. Rather than impacting jobs in a mass-sweep, AI solutions in mammography are designed to assist physicians, not remove them from their positions. Think of AI as an added benefit or asset to your mammography practice, not an adversary.

Radiologists are still needed in the driver’s seat

When cruise control was introduced in cars, we still needed drivers to manage the wheel and watch for traffic. The same holds true for AI in radiology. As the specialist in breast imaging, you are invaluable to the interpretation of your patients’ scans and next steps in their healthcare. AI is simply a tool to guide you in those diagnosis. There will always be tasks that are needed for radiologists outside of what AI provides. 

AI is a productive ally

We all adopt tools that help us be more productive in our personal lives and at work. Think about AI as an added tool in productivity rather than one that will take away your position. There are several ways radiologists have embraced AI in their mammography practice as a way to help clear patient backlogs and provide a quicker service to them, as a way to work toward less patient callbacks and as a way to grow their practices in a way of talent development and retention. 

Embrace new technology 

Adapting to AI in mammography doesn’t mean you’re setting your practice up for limited staffing resources or expensive overhead. In fact, understanding new technology in healthcare can prove valuable. Consider the first introduction of MRI technology—as Dr. Langlotz noted, some physicians thought this new technology would replace radiologists but upon further understanding of the technology, radiologists could provide more value in what they were now able to explain by use of the technology. Think about AI in the same way—how can you use this technology in your mammography practice to demonstrate value to your practice and to your patients?

Radiologists who don’t adopt new skills and learn about updates in workflows may find it frustrating as AI continues to move into the market. Our advice? Continue to learn about the impact of AI in radiology. Discover ways to integrate AI into your existing radiology practice that enhance your current workflow rather than change all the processes at once. 

As Gabriel Mohanna writes, “A calculator didn’t replace mathematicians. Excel didn’t replace accountants and automated ML didn’t replace any data scientists. All these tools simply enhanced the human process and made work more productive. AI is no different.”***

We agree.

Let us show you. Schedule a free, 10-minute MammoScreen® demo and learn how AI can be a collaborative tool in your radiology practice.