New guidance from the SoR warns that clinicians must be involved in the co-construction and development of AI, to safeguard clinical practice and patient care.
The Society established a working group for AI following an earlier guidance statement in January 2020. The aim was to represent the voices of the radiographic workforce in the development of technology, helping to strengthen or improve care in clinical imaging and radiotherapy.
The new guidance, called Artificial intelligence: Guidance for clinical imaging and therapeutic radiography workforce professionals, says AI has the potential to make a ‘profound impact on clinical practice and patient care’
As such, it’s important for the profession to consider how radiographers will use AI and technology to provide better quality services, and crucial that patients and service users inform all development and are partners in research.
The guidance states: ‘Radiography has been at the forefront of the implementation of technological innovation for clinical imaging. The radiography workforce, including registered diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers, are among the most technology-enabled professions in healthcare.
‘To understand and work to mitigate risks for patients and staff, it is essential for radiography teams to understand key terminologies and issues around the use of AI.’
Clinicians need to be involved in the development of AI, says the guidance, to ensure the suitability and clinical relevance of AI solutions: ‘Many AI tools have already been developed but the challenge is for them to be fully internally validated (do methods work?) and externally validated (do they work on unseen data?) to be able to implement these solutions in clinical practice’.
The working group calls for research to investigate the impact of AI on the quality of services, patient care, and radiographers’ roles and working practices, and for high-quality ‘real world’ clinical validation of AI interventions.
‘Radiographers are accustomed to the development of evidence-based practice with increasing technological advances. However, AI is being rapidly integrated into imaging equipment with arguably little consideration as to how it influences radiography practice and frontline services.
‘This is adding to the radiographer’s role and increasing the need for a high level of digital fluency among radiography staff as they must learn to evaluate, interact and oversee the actions of AI driven tools within their workflow.’
Download the full guidance: Artificial intelligence: Guidance for clinical imaging and therapeutic radiography workforce professionals.