Dr Vijay M. Rao, RSNA President for 2018 – Photo Credit: Matthew Lester

The President of the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) has called for radiology leaders to combat fear around AI by promoting its benefits.

Dr Vijay Rao, who became President of the over 100 years old international society in November 2017, told the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) to take the lead in educating the imaging community about how AI will augment not replace radiologists.

Dr Rao said: “”I can tell you that at my institution, the associate deans were telling medical students not to go into radiology because there will be no jobs. The hype is creating so much fear.

“We have to explain we will not lose our jobs and [AI] will help us to improve our workflow. We will be able to do more meaningful work. We can go talk to patients, so patients understand radiologists are doctors.”

During her talk Dr Rao specifically rebutted the claims of prominent venture capitalist Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures who has controversially argued radiologists will be replaced by AI in five years.

She instead pointed out AI will help clinicians to cope with the overwhelming two trillion images produced annually worldwide, some 50% of which are generated in the U.S.

Dr Rao said: “No wonder we are dealing with burnout of radiologists; so I would say AI is a friend and not a foe.

“Every decade, some technology has come around and revolutionized our field. The next frontier innovation that will revolutionize radiology is deep learning and machine learning.”

She called for establishing a road map on implementing AI in radiology to promote and standardize best practice and accelerate development.

The RSNA will support radiologists to learn about AI by sponsoring courses and workshops on medical imaging and AI throughout the year and producing a new online journal in 2019.

For a comprehensive Deep Dive on AI in medical imaging, see the new AIMed Magazine, access it here.