What will be the top radiology trends for 2024? We talked to key opinion leaders across the medical imaging spectrum to get their opinions on the technologies, clinical applications, and regulatory developments that will shape the specialty for the next 12 months.
AI – Generative AI to Reduce Radiology’s Workload: “New generative AI methods will summarize complex medical records, draft radiology reports from images, and explain radiology reports to patients using language they understand. These innovative systems will reduce our workload and will provide more time for us to connect with our colleagues and our patients.” — Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD, Stanford University and president, RSNA 2024
AI – Generative AI Will Get Multimodal: “In 2024, we can expect continued innovations in generative AI with a greater emphasis on integrating GenAI into existing and new radiology and patient-facing applications with growing interests in retrieval-augmented generation, fine-tuning, smaller models, multi-model routing, and AI assistants. Medicine being multimodal, the term ‘multimodal’ will become more ubiquitous.” — Woojin Kim, MD, CMIO at Rad AI
AI – Will AI Really Reduce Radiology Burnout? “Burnout will continue to be a huge issue in radiology with no solution in sight. AI vendors will offer algorithms as solutions to burnout with catchy slogans such as ‘buy our lung nodule detector and become the radiologist your parents wanted you to be.’ Their enthusiasm will cause even more burnout.” — Saurabh Jha, MBBS, AKA RogueRad, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Breast Imaging – Prepare Now for Density Reporting: “The FDA ‘dense breast’ reporting standard to patients becomes effective on September 10, 2024, and breast imaging centers should be prepared for new patient questions and conversations. A plan for a consistent approach to recommending supplemental screening and facilitating ordering of additional imaging from referring providers should be put into action.” — JoAnn Pushkin, executive director, DenseBreast-info.org
Breast Imaging – Density Reporting to Spur Earlier Detection: “In March 2023, FDA issued a national requirement for reporting breast density to patients and referring providers after mammography. Facilities performing mammograms must meet the September 2024 deadline incorporating breast density type and associated breast cancer risk in their reporting. This change can lead to earlier breast cancer detection as these patients will be informed of supplemental screening as it relates to their breast density and [will] choose to pursue it.” — Stamatia Destounis, MD, Elizabeth Wende Breast Care and chair, ACR Breast Imaging Commission
CT – Lung Cancer Screening to Build Momentum: “Uptake of LDCT screening for lung cancer will increase in the US and worldwide. AI-enabled cardiac evaluation, even on non-gated scans, will allow for prediction of illnesses such as AFib and heart failure. Quantifying measurement error across platforms will become an important aspect of nodule management.” — David Yankelevitz, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System
CT – Photon-Counting CT to Expand: “In 2024, we will continue to see many papers published on photon-counting CT, strengthening the body of scientific evidence as to its many strengths. Results from clinical trials involving multiple manufacturers’ systems will also increase in number, perhaps leading to more commercial systems entering the market.” — Cynthia McCollough, PhD, director, CT Clinical Innovation Center, Mayo Clinic
Enterprise Imaging – Time is Ripe for Cloud and AI: “Healthcare has an opportunity for change in 2024, and imaging is ripe for disruption, with burnout, staffing challenges, and new technology needs. Many organizations are expanding their enterprise imaging strategy and are asking how and where they can take the plunge into cloud and AI. Vendors have got the message; now it’s time to push the gas and deliver.” — Monique Rasband, VP of strategy & research, imaging/oncology at KLAS
Imaging IT – Data Brokerage to Go Mainstream: “A new market will hit the mainstream in 2024 – radiology data brokerage. As data-hungry LLMs scale up and the use of companion diagnostics in lifesciences proliferates, health systems will look to cash in on curated radiology data. This will also be an even bigger driver for migration to cloud-based imaging IT.” — Steve Holloway, managing director, Signify Research
MRI – Prostate MRI to Reduce Biopsies: “Prostate MRI in conjunction with PSMA PET will explode in 2024 and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies for patients.” — Stephen Pomeranz, MD, CEO of ProScan Imaging and chair, Naples Florida Community Hospital Network
Theranostics – New Radiotracers to Drive Diagnosis & Treatment: “Through 2024, nuclear medicine theranostics will increasingly be integrated into standard global practice. With many new radiopharmaceuticals in development, theranostics promise early diagnosis and precision treatment for a broadening range of cancers, expanding options for patients resistant to traditional therapies. Treatments will be enhanced by personalized dosimetry, artificial intelligence, and combination therapies.” — Helen Nadel, MD, Stanford University and president, SNMMI 2023-2024
Radiology Operations – Reimbursement Challenges Continue: “In 2024, we will continue to experience recruitment challenges coupled with decreases in reimbursement. Now, more than ever, every radiologist needs to be diligent in advocating for the specialty, focus on business plan diversification, and ensure all services rendered are optimally documented and billed.” — Rebecca Farrington, chief revenue officer, Healthcare Administrative Partners
To paraphrase Robert F. Kennedy, radiology is indeed living in interesting times – times of “danger and uncertainty,” but also times of unprecedented creativity and innovation. In 2024, radiology will get a much better glimpse of where these trends are taking us.