How AI Is Transforming the Field of Radiology

In the realm of radiology, Austrian provider Diagnostikum[1] stands at the forefront of delivering exceptional patient care through cutting-edge technologies. Lead by Priv.-Doz. Dr. P. Brader, Diagnostikum in Linz, Austria, serves as a testing ground for evaluating new products before they are adopted at other sites that belong to the radiology service provider. Among these innovations, the AI-Rad Companion Chest CT[2], an AI solution in chest CT imaging, has been in use at Diagnostikum since 2021. Tackling the challenges posed by increasing complexity, high workload, and staff shortages, Diagnostikum harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate a number of tasks in the field of radiology.

Siemens Healthineers, an innovation pioneer in radiology for over a century, is continuously evolving its AI solutions, with the AI-Rad Companion taking center stage. This advanced tool employs deep learning algorithms to automate various tasks in chest CT, providing support to radiologists. As part of the AI-Rad Companion product family, the Chest CT module is a cloud-based solution, seamlessly integrating with different digital radiology systems and picture-archiving solutions (PACS) used by radiology providers.

In his role as a key opinion leader and pioneer in the field of AI, Priv.-Doz. Dr. Brader, an early adopter of the AI-Rad Companion Chest CT, attests to its clinical value. The software becomes an integral part of the imaging value chain, efficiently processing CT examinations of the chest. Upon receiving the DICOM images, the AI algorithms instantly begin processing, delivering the results directly to the radiologist’s reading environment enhancing the radiologist’s ability to access and interpret the results with ease. Nevertheless, if desired by an institution, the results can be reviewed prior sending to the PACS.

At Diagnostikum, the AI-Rad Companion Chest CT has a significant impact on patient preparation, the CT scan process, and the reading and reporting of chest CT cases. One remarkable benefit is observed in patients requiring evaluation of the thoracic aorta to detect conditions like aortic ectasia or aneurysm. Traditionally, these patients underwent contrast-enhanced chest CT, involving numerous preparatory steps such as creatinine level assessment, IV line placement, selection of dedicated scan protocols and preparation of contrast injector. As AI-Rad Companion Chest CT supports also non-contrast enhanced CT images, these additional steps could be avoided, streamlining the entire process. Using specific deep-learning algorithms, the software accurately detects landmarks on the thoracic aorta, measures diameters, and generates 3D images, as well as DICOM SR, and DICOM images with quantification results, facilitating better disease progression monitoring.

By using the AI-Rad Companion Chest CT, Diagnostikum experiences several key benefits throughout the patient pathway:

1) Patient preparation: Without the requirement for contrast media, patients no longer need to undergo creatinine tests, saving time and avoiding extra visits. Furthermore, this approach may have positive implications for kidney health, eliminating the risk of allergic reactions or extravasation.

2) Scan preparation: Radiographers are spared the task of preparing the IV line and contrast injector, allowing for a smoother workflow. Patients can move efficiently from the waiting room to the scan room, reducing the overall preparation time and giving radiographers more time to focus on essential tasks.

3) Scan execution: The AI-Rad Companion Chest CT simplifies the scan process by processing data from standard chest CTs, eliminating the need for gated or triggered scan modes. The default scan protocol adheres to the ALARA principle, ensuring low-dose imaging while saving time for radiographers who would otherwise spend considerable time on reconstruction and 3D reconstructions.

4) Reading and reporting: With automated processing and immediate results pushed to the PACS system, radiologists, like Priv.-Doz. Dr. Brader, benefit from increased efficiency and accuracy. The standardized method for calculating diameters ensures objective longitudinal comparisons, contributing to high-quality reports that enhance the institution’s reputation.

Incorporating deep-learning solutions like the AI-Rad Companion Chest CT has transformed the customer experience at Diagnostikum in Linz, showcasing how AI supports medical experts in their daily routines. The comprehensive and user-friendly capabilities of the AI-Rad Companion have elevated the efficiency of radiological processes, benefiting both patients and medical professionals alike.

[1] The statements by Siemens Healthineers’ customers described herein are based on results that were achieved in the customers’ unique setting. Because there is no “typical” hospital or laboratory and many variables exist (e.g., hospital size, samples mix, case mix, level of IT and/or automation adoption), there can be no guarantee that other customers will achieve the same results.
[2] AI-Rad Companion Chest CT consists of several medical devices in their own right, which are not commercially available in all countries. Their future availability cannot be ensured.

Learn more about the transformative power of the Siemens Healthineers AI-Rad Companion.

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