How AI is Making an Impact on Radiology and Imaging

The fields of science and medicine are always progressing. This progression intends to help both patients and providers.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming common as a way to diagnose patients. It provides a more efficient way to collect and store information. The software can even analyze imaging to a high level of accuracy. This helps providers catch a problem that they may have missed before.

AI is a field that is advancing quickly. What progress have we seen in the past couple of years? What programs have we begun to put in place?

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence refers to highly advanced computers or computer-controlled robots. These computers are capable of performing incredibly complex tasks. Before, we thought these tasks could only be done by intelligent beings.

AI in imaging

These computers are often associated with human characteristics. They seem to be able to reason and learn from past experiences.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Used For Diagnostic Imaging & Radiation?

Using AI in radiology and imaging has been gaining traction in the medical world. We use it largely to store and analyze data, helping physicians to make a prognosis. AI can store and analyze all a patient’s records. It can then make a diagnosis based on those records. The analysis is often far more accurate than what a human counterpart can do.

The use of AI is also helpful because of its storage capability. AI can have large imaging biobanks to hold more images than standard computers.

It also makes the lives of physicians easier by filtering patients by need. It can recommend appropriate diagnostic imaging based on the patient’s current records. It can also sort patients by priority in the case of an emergency.

What Advancements Have Been Made?

AI means to eliminate problems associated with human limitations. Traditional imaging takes a team of technicians. They must take the imaging as well as interpret it. This can be time-consuming. Plus, AI is able to analyze images with far greater accuracy than the human eye.

Radiomics

Radiomics is a tool that performs a deep analysis of tumors down to the molecular level. AI can perform radiomics with far better accuracy than the human eye or brain.

AI can analyze a specific region and extract over 400 elements. It then takes these features and correlates them with other data to form a diagnosis. The AI can analyze features from radiographs, CT, MRI, or PET studies.

Rapid Brain-Imaging AI Software

Hyperfine is the manufacturer of portable MRI machines. They are now creating these machines with new AI intelligence software. They believe that this new software will be able to perform brain scans in under 3 minutes.

AI-Generated Drugs

In 2020, an AI-created drug went to human clinical trials. The drug intends to treat OCD, and was designed entirely by AI. Exscientia is the manufacturer of the drug. They say that it normally takes about 4.5 years to get a new drug to this stage of testing. With AI generation, the drug got to the human clinical trial stage in under 12 months.

Making A Diagnosis

We stated earlier that AI is being used as a way to more efficiently diagnose patients. Still, relying entirely on AI to do this can complicate things and may be unwise.

So, the researchers of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab worked to combat this. They created a machine learning system that analyzes the data and decides whether to diagnose.

If it “feels” it’s unable to make an accurate prediction, it will defer to a medical professional. It even considers whether to defer to an expert based on who in the medical team is available. It will consider each team member’s availability, level of experience, and specialty.

Conclusion  

AI in diagnostic imaging shows promise to truly advance quality of care for patients. We are excited to see more advancements in this arena. In the meantime, we don’t believe any machine can currently replace a trained human eye when it comes to interpretations. At Vesta, we provide US Board Certified radiologists who work to provide accurate preliminary and final interpretations. Learn how we can support your radiology department– contact us today. 

Are X-Rays Safe?

Over 125 years ago, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen made a monumental discovery that changed medical practices forever. He was the first man to see the results of using radiological rays as a non-invasive way to investigate inside a human being’s body.

With the help of Röntgen’s discovery of what is today commonly known as X-rays, medical science has been able to advance at an accelerated rate. In the modern world, just about every person has experienced having an X-ray in one form or another.

X-ray technologies have advanced at a staggering rate in the past 125 years, and so has their uses. Professionals depend on X-rays in dental offices, doctor’s offices, chiropractic offices, hospitals, urgent care, and other medical service facilities.

With the medical community using X-rays so frequently, the public must understand the types of radiation we encounter and the risks involved with radiation exposure.

The air we breathe, soil and water, rocks, and plant life all have radiation. Radon is natural radiation found in soil and can be potentially harmful to humans. Cosmic radiation (which includes X-rays) constantly penetrates the earth’s atmosphere and is all around us. Cosmic radiation is unavoidable but is at low levels.

We have no choice but to live with the natural and cosmic radiation exposure, but X-rays are a choice we need to evaluate.

When professionals take a diagnostic X-ray, the image reflects on the X-ray negative plate depending on how much radiation is absorbed. The reason bones appear white on the negatives is because bones have a high calcium content that absorbs the radiation.

 

x-ray

 

With all X-rays, ionizing radiation is used, potentially harming living tissue. Radiography is the most commonly used X-ray imaging and uses the smallest amount of radiation. Professionals use radiography to image bones, teeth, and chest X-rays.

Fluoroscopy also uses a small amount of radiation, but more than radiography. Professionals use fluoroscopy with barium drinks to watch how the body acts and reacts during digestion.

Computed Tomography, or CT, uses the highest amount of radiation. The higher radiation is because, during one procedure, the CT mechanism takes multiple X-rays.

If used appropriately by a professional, the benefits of having X-rays taken far outweigh any risk of radiation exposure. Using X-rays, medical staff can detect cancerous tumors, infections, and damaged blood vessels. The risk of developing cancer from the ionizing radiation of X-rays is small.

Even with the low risk of cancer from X-rays, patients receiving medical treatment involving radiation should ask questions and communicate their medical history to their provider. Also, when providers recommend X-rays for children, ask the technician to double-check that the X-ray machinery has been adjusted for a child. Risks are more significant for children than for adults.

Even though studies show the low dose of radiation from X-rays–when used appropriately—does not cause health problems, X-ray technology is improving every day. Researchers are discovering ways to reduce radiation dosage, improve imaging, and create better materials and methods of imaging.

 

Vesta Radiologists

We work with healthcare offices that provide x-rays as a diagnostic tool. We help them interpret their findings so they can continue to service their patients in a timely manner. Look to Vesta’s US Board Certified Radiologists to help take on any workload you need taken care of, nights, days and even weekends.

Are you Hiring Healthcare Staff The Right Way?

If you work in healthcare, there’s a good chance you’re currently hiring. The industry has been struggling with a labor shortage for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic caused the number of job openings to climb even more.

 

healthcare staffing

Across the country, hospitals and healthcare clinics are desperate for employees, and they are recruiting as hard as they can. But are you recruiting the right way? Here are a few tips to help you attract quality candidates.

Background Checks are Essential

 

Anyone working in healthcare knows that it is vital to conduct a thorough background check on all candidates during the hiring process. Checking up on a candidate’s criminal record, medical licenses, and other data is necessary to keep your patients safe and protect you from massive fines for non-compliance.

However, background checks can also help you select the quality hires that are more likely to stay with your organization — something that’s particularly important in healthcare, an industry with a 19.1% turnover rate. Thorough background checks can help you weed out unreliable candidates and ensure that you hire only the best.

 

Assess Soft Skills

Obviously, you want your ideal candidate to have the credentials and experience required to fulfill the position you’re hiring. But have you considered the candidate’s soft skills?

 

Qualities like empathy, teamwork, and communication skills are becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry. As healthcare becomes more of a consumer-driven market, patients expect medical professionals to be both courteous and qualified. Make sure you seek out prospective employees with both hard and soft skills.

 

hiring a radiologist

Stay Competitive

The healthcare industry is on the brink of a significant period of job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that healthcare occupations will grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, which amounts to about 2.6 million new jobs.

 

With so many vacancies in the field, medical professionals like doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and radiologists will have their pick of clinics. If you want them to pick you, it’s important to remain competitive.

 

Keep your eye on the industry to ensure your recruiting efforts measure up to other healthcare facilities. Make sure your salary offerings, benefits, and opportunities for work-life balance are comparable to other facilities in your area.

 

If you follow these tips, you’ll be much more likely to attract top talent — and that will lead to significant benefits for your clinic, you, and your patients.

Hiring Radiologists

When it comes to hiring for your radiology department, you might feel like this is the most daunting task. Luckily, teleradiology companies like Vesta offer US Board Certified radiologists who can remotely perform both preliminary and final interpretations for your PET, MRI, MSK, PIP and worker’s comp scans. To learn more, please contact Vesta at 877-558-3782.

Recent Developments in Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has partially crippled the world as we once knew it. Everyone has experienced taking precautions, isolating, vaccinations, and boosters for over two years. Are we making progress?

The contagious virus SARS-CoV-2, also named Covid-19, has been responsible for over 970,000 deaths in the United States alone. New variants have emerged from the virus, but there appear to be fewer cases overall.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been the leading pharmaceutical companies providing preventative vaccinations and vaccine boosters, and Johnson & Johnson has also joined the team for preventive immunizations.

The immunizations and boosters administered have been very effective even though there have been breakthroughs of covid-positive cases. The hospitalization of those patients who tested positive for Covid-19 reduced drastically for the fully vaccinated adults.

This year, both Pfizer and Moderna have requested authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an additional booster to their immunization. The requests were based on the success of the second booster in other countries. The goal is to offer maximum protection to high-risk patients–including adults over the age of 65 and adults with immune-suppressive medical conditions.

The best way anyone can reduce their risk of getting the disease is by getting Covid-19 vaccinations and all the boosters available. The Center for Disease Control’s consistent message to stay healthy continues to be to wear masks in highly populated indoor locations, keep at least 6 feet from others, avoid heavy crowds, and wash our hands.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) still requires face masks on public transportation like buses, planes, and trains. Because of our advancements in the Covid-19 battle, many state legislations have lifted the face mask requirements for restaurants and shopping.

 

2022 covid news

 

Covid testing kits are available from the federal government. Any household in the United States can order up to four rapid tests from www.covidtests.gov or by calling 1-800-232-0233. Medicare beneficiaries can receive up to eight free at-home Covid-19 tests per month in 2022.

In February 2022, the FDA approved a new monoclonal antibody treatment that has shown positive results during treatment against the omicron variant and the omicron sub-variant of Covid-19. This treatment is called Bebtelovimab and is for both adults and children at high risk for severe illness from the Covid-19 variants.

Clinics and Long-Term Care Facilities

Beginning in March 2022, pharmacy-based clinics and long-term care facilities will be able to provide an anti-viral pill for positive-tested individuals. The CDC expects this new “Test to Treat” program to provide immediate help to individuals at high risk and who live in the communities with the most cases.

Even taking all the precautions, some people will come down with Covid-19. There have been various symptoms reported, and these symptoms usually appear within two to fourteen days after exposure. Some of the signs to look out for are:

  • Fever or chills
  • Consistent cough
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Body aches and pains
  • Sore Throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If anyone who tests positive with Covid-19 exposes you or if you test positive, CDC advises you to quarantine for at least five days and wear a mask for at least ten days.

 

covid symptoms

Most patients who test positive with Covid-19 recover at home with rest and plenty of fluids. It is wise for a Covid-positive patient to seek medical or emergency help if they become confused or disoriented, have pale or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, cannot stay awake, or have pain or pressure in the chest.

Hospitals and research centers are paying attention to the long-term effects of Covid-19. From statistics provided to the CDC, approximately one-third of the Covid-19 patients have lasting symptoms. The CDC recommends seeking medical advice for treatment.

Prevention is key to getting through this challenging time of Covid-19 infections. Taking extra precautions while traveling and visiting others can help each individual and help those who are high-risk stay free from the disease.

We are making progress on overcoming Covid-19. We will save more lives in the battle if we continue practicing preventive measures and stay educated about the most recent findings.