Below, Ron Muscosky, worldwide product line manager at Carestream Health, sits down with AXIS Imaging News to discuss the surge of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in medical imaging devices and what it means for clinicians—and the future of radiology.

AXIS Imaging News: What are some AI features that can be utilized in medical imaging today?

Ron Muscosky: Carestream is a modality manufacturer, so [I’ll answer this from a modality perspective.] There are two primary areas where artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining strong adoption at the modality in radiology: image processing and workflow. In image processing, AI helps remove noise in images, reduce dose, enhance visualization, and deliver a more consistent presentation—all of which help to improve diagnosis and patient care. 

Ron Muscosky

AI-driven workflow applications help automate manual tasks and workflow steps to streamline processes which improve technologist productivity, save time and money, and provide more consistent outcomes. In addition, less time spent adjusting the equipment means more time the technologist can focus on taking care of the patient.

AXIS: What are some advantages for radiologists?

Muscosky: AI features can help deliver the best possible image quality, which not only helps with diagnostic confidence, but also eases the burden on overworked radiologists. Some studies find that the average radiologist must interpret one image every three to four seconds to keep up with their increasing workloads. AI technologies in radiology that provide better noise reduction, sharpness, contrast, and density can help make images easier to read, which brings added value to clinical decision support and helps reduce physician fatigue.

AXIS: Very interesting. Now, what are some advantages for radiographers?

Muscosky: Radiographers, along with other hospital staff, are experiencing burnout from the stress of imaging COVID-infected patients. AI applications helpautomate workflow steps, improving productivity for the radiographer. These features can speed up exam time, providing radiographers some much-needed relief.

AI features optimize equipment positioning, patient positioning, and radiographer workflow. In addition to increasing patient throughput, they can help improve image consistency and reduce retakes. This can give radiographers more confidence in their skills and help improve job satisfaction. Another important advantage in automation—decreasing the time that a radiographer needs to be in close contact with patients for positioning—remains a huge benefit in the presence of infectious diseases.

AXIS: How do AI technologies help patients?

Muscosky: Patients benefit from AI technologies in many ways. Advanced applications that control dose are safer for patients. Also, AI features can help optimize equipment positioning, patient positioning, and radiographer workflow, which speeds the entire imaging process. This makes the process more comfortable and less stressful for patients. In addition, these same optimization features can help improve image consistency, reducing retakes and the number of exposures for patients.

Lastly, in emergency situations, a few seconds of saved time helps patients be triaged more quickly.

AXIS: What do you expect the industry to be focusing on in 2022?

Muscosky: Innovators in medical imaging will continue to develop intuitive AI solutions. Offering state-of-the-art software features powered by AI, machine learning, and advanced algorithms will continue to improve productivity in radiology by increasing diagnostic confidence, streamlining workflow, boosting patient throughput, and enhancing patient care.

AXIS: How do you see AI changing the imaging landscape?

Muscosky: Advanced medical imaging systems will offer innovative ways to face the operational and workflow challenges of today and tomorrow—while continuing to improve diagnostic precision and confidence.

AXIS: How has Carestream responded to these trends?

Muscosky: Today, Carestream is applying AI—and in other cases sophisticated proprietary algorithms—in our ImageView software powered by Eclipse to deliver clinical value in Imaging Intelligence and Workflow Intelligence. Our Imaging Intelligence solutions reduce noise, enhance visualization, and provide a more consistent presentation—all which help improve diagnosis.  

We are among the first medical imaging companies to use AI to separate and remove noise from an image. Smart Noise Cancellation (SNC) is ground-breaking, patented technology that leverages AI to remove noise while simultaneously preserving image structures. SNC processing is an important step forward in the direction of ALARA—“as low as reasonably achievable.”

The guiding principle of ALARA is that imaging is performed with a dose just high enough to confidently achieve diagnosis. SNC enables customers to lower radiation dose without loss in image quality when compared to our standard image processing. This is especially important in neonatal and pediatric imaging, where imaging at the lowest possible dose is critical.

Moreover, our Workflow Intelligence solutions apply AI to automate manual tasks and workflow steps to streamline processes, which improves technologist productivity, saves time and money, and enhances patient care. Our AI-based Smart DR Workflow has three important components: Smart Positioning, Smart Technique, and Smart Collimation. Our AI-driven technologies help increase the value of the entire imaging chain, from capture to diagnosis.