Happy New Year, and welcome to the first Imaging Wire of 2022. For those of you working on your annual gameplans, here are some major imaging themes to keep in mind.
COVID Wave Watch – Nothing will have more influence on imaging in 2022 than how / when the COVID pandemic subsides, and how many more waves and variants emerge until we get there.
Efficiency Focus – It’s abundantly clear that imaging must become more efficient, making workflow improvements arguably the top priority for radiology teams and the folks who sell to them.
AI Matures – Imaging AI should mature at an even faster pace this year, bringing greater clinical adoption (and expectations), better workflow integration, improved use cases and business models, and the emergence of clear AI leaders. We’ll also likely see an initial wave of consolidation due to acquisitions and/or VC-prompted shutdowns.
More M&A – Imaging’s extremely active M&A climate should continue into 2022. Based on recent trends, this year’s M&A hotspots are likely to include PE-backed rad practice and imaging center acquisitions, enterprise imaging vendors adding to their tech and “ology” stacks, and more modality and solution expansions from the major OEMs.
Advanced Imaging Advancements – 2022 is shaping up to be a milestone year for MR and CT technology. On the MRI side, recent breakthroughs in magnet strength, helium requirements, portability, and image enhancement (among others) should lead to big changes in how / where MRI can be used. On the CT side, we’ll see OEMs increase their focus on achieving photon-counting CT leadership, even if most of that focus will be from their R&D and future product marketing teams in 2022.
The Patient Engagement Push – Digital patient engagement continues to gain momentum across healthcare, placing pressure on radiology teams to keep up. In 2022, that might mean getting better at radiology’s current patient engagement methods (e.g. image sharing, patient-friendly reporting, follow-up management), although patients’ expectations will likely evolve at an even faster pace.
Imaging Leaves the Hospital – A lot more imaging exams could be performed outside hospital walls in 2022, as payors continue to incentivize outpatient imaging (and image-related procedures) and at-home care continues its massive growth.
While it’s hard to say which, if any, of these trends will be the top story of the next 12 months, it seems likely that we’re heading into another year with more big news than can fit into a seven-bullet roundup. Wishing you the best in 2022, Imaging Wire readers!