Artificial Intelligence

How Microsoft and Nuance empower radiologists with AI-powered solutions

The medical imaging profession stands at a pivotal moment. More than half (54%) of radiologists now report feelings of burnout, up from 49% in 2022.1 Up to 44% report that burnout has strong or severe impacts on their lives and well-being. The most recent 2023 American Society of Radiologic Technologists Staffing and Workplace Survey found that vacancy rates topping 18% are at a 20-year high.2 Increasing case volume and complexity—coupled with resource constraints—lead to stress and dissatisfaction as radiologists have to do more with less.

There’s an urgent need to deliver proven, scalable solutions that increase radiology efficiencies, reduce the cognitive burden on radiologists while maintaining the highest standards of reporting quality. That’s why Microsoft and Nuance are committed to creating outcomes-focused AI solutions that streamline radiology workflows.

In our interactive AI Theater at RSNA 2023, we explored the power and potential of advanced AI copilot capabilities. And during our AI Theater presentation, participants experienced how copilots can transform medical imaging by helping automate what radiologists can’t stand, surface what they can’t see, and identify what they can’t miss.

Reducing the cognitive burden and enhancing patient care with AI copilots

With AI-powered automation, radiologists can spend far less time on the tedious, time-consuming tasks that currently take up so much of their day. Instead, as presented in our AI Theater experience, a copilot can amalgamate information from prior reports, AI findings, and natural language captured in the reading room to generate draft reports automatically. As the copilot collects, extracts, and synthesizes relevant data in the background, radiologists can keep their eyes on the image and focus on the quality of their interpretation.

As well as taking on mundane tasks, copilots can support radiologists by enhancing reporting quality and downstream care. AI can monitor images for details that may not be visible or clear to the human eye, helping capture findings that might otherwise go unnoticed. An AI copilot can also assist radiologists by searching the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) or Vendor Neutral Archiving (VNA) for similar images to provide rapid clinical insights.

By providing a vital second pair of eyes, AI can help ensure no findings fall through the cracks. Copilots can catch incidental or subtle findings that could have been easily missed, helping reduce the time to intervention and enhance patient safety.

These copilot experiences can even extend the value of radiology beyond the reading room to support more effective downstream care and patient experience. For example, an AI copilot could act as a companion to patients, providing “patient-friendly” versions of reports and other tools to help people more actively engage with their care.

New AI capabilities and collaborations

As we’ve seen at RSNA 2023, it’s an exciting time to be part of the medical imaging community. We’re thrilled to be playing our part in empowering radiologists by developing new AI capabilities and collaborating with other pioneers in this field. Here’s a recap of the major new developments we announced during the event:

  • PowerScribe Smart Impression accelerates the adoption of AI in radiology. Nuance shared its progress helping radiologists harness the growing potential of generative AI capabilities for radiology reporting with PowerScribe Smart Impression. Built on the PowerScribe platform used by more than 80% of all radiologists, PowerScribe Smart Impression streamlines radiology workflows and accelerates reporting by automatically creating draft impressions and recommendations using advanced generative AI. Users have noted the natural, accurate wording of draft impressions and how the solution enhances reporting quality by identifying possible omissions, misspellings, or other errors. They also report saving up to a minute per read, which adds up to significant time savings over the course of a busy working day.
  • Flywheel collaborates with Microsoft and NVIDIA to accelerate AI development of medical imaging applications. Flywheel, a medical imaging data management platform, launched an AI development solution on Microsoft Azure, integrated with NVIDIA MONAI, to expedite advances in medical imaging AI model development. Flywheel users will also be able to utilize radiology reports with mPower Clinical Analytics, powered by Nuance.
  • Paige and Nuance transform collaboration among the United States pathologists. Paige, a provider of digital pathology solutions and clinical AI applications, is harnessing the scale and capabilities of Nuance’s PowerShare image-sharing network to create a digital consultation network for pathologists. The network will connect over 14,000 sites, allowing pathologists to collaborate with peers to streamline healthcare operations and reduce the time and costs of diagnosis.

Creating intelligence-infused radiology workflows

The use of AI in radiology isn’t new—but what comes next will be revolutionary, as we create copilot experiences that infuse intelligence into every aspect of the workflow. In this AI-powered future, radiologists will be able to handle growing imaging volumes without compromising quality.

Despite the reports of rising levels of burnout in the profession, it’s been heartening to see the innovation and optimism on display at the RSNA 2023 conference. At Microsoft and Nuance, we’re helping to shape a future where radiologists can work more efficiently and effectively without adding to their cognitive load—all thanks to their AI copilots.

Next steps

Intelligent radiology solutions

Experience how AI in medical imaging empowers radiologists

physician examining scans on virtual screen

1Medscape 2023 Physician Burnout & Depression Report.

2Following 2023 Trends in the Radiologic Technologist Staffing Shortage, AHEConline Blog.