The end of a year is always a good time to stand still for a moment and look back at what’s passed. However, up to today the 2020s are far from being as roaring as the 1920s, and I can hear you thinking loud and clear: “please don’t mention the C-word!” So instead, we’re going to take a look at the evolution of a number of trends in the challenging field of radiology. Which trends can we see in the field, up to today?
There are some trends in radiology that are not new, and quite well known.
Cases on the rise
- These past years have seen a rising number of radiology cases; this increased imaging underpins precision medicine.
- Cases also became more complex.
- There is a global shortage of radiologists to tackle the increased workload that comes with this.
This has a two-fold result.
First, radiologists feel the pressure of having to take on more cases, which require more time when they’re complex. Long hours spent in dark reading rooms result in stress, eye fatigue and sometimes even burn-out. (Learn more in this study.)
Second, radiologists actively seek for solutions that help them to work more efficiently and become more productive, as hospitals are pressed to reduce costs as much as possible.
If you know the field of radiology a bit, you’ll know that there is much attention for the comfort of the work environment, and for tools that either raise productivity or reduce unnecessary steps in the workflow. This makes radiology a creative, ever-growing business field that brings new developments to the market every year, in a commonly shared quest towards the perfect reading process and environment.
- Image quality is KEY.
- Images come in many shapes and sizes, in both greys and colors.
- Regulations and compliance standards are continuously evolving and becoming stricter.
Digital images come in more modalities and color schemes, especially where difficult cases are concerned. Their quality and detail unlock a correct and swift diagnosis, so it’s not surprising that (inter)national standards and regulations became stricter to guarantee that radiologists work with technology that is modern and that has been checked and approved. Keeping up with these regulations is challenging for many hospitals.
Due to the long-term developments stated above, new expectations have formed when it comes to diagnostic imaging. They have evolved to include an image quality that promotes efficiency, workflow tools and ergonomics. To get all of this without any gaps in the past has been costly, with less expensive solutions missing one aspect or another. Nowadays, workstations must be able to handle multiple image types.
People today have become much more mobile than, say, fifteen years ago. Also in radiology, having one large display in an office at the hospital doesn’t cut it anymore. Reading remotely or having multiple office spaces result in a cry for displays that take up less space but offer the same quality. So radiologists can set up a home office, in addition to their hospital office, and organize their work more flexibly.
Next to that, environmental consciousness is gradually entering all regions of the world. Equipment cannot just be good for the person working with it anymore – it must be good for the planet too.
Handshake between breast imaging and general radiology
Thirdly, breast radiology and general radiology are growing towards each other. With displays that can handle multiple modalities, in high-quality, calibrated color and greyscale images, many limitations have been taken away that resulted in the past in dedicated choices for one or another display. Ultrasound, MRI and contrast studies have resulted in calibrated color increasingly becoming a basic requirement – and, consequently, also a basic ingredient in diagnostic displays. In short: diagnostic displays are finding their way to become multi-purpose devices.
Time to discover something new
All this makes the start of the 2020s, even though they haven’t been very rock ‘n roll yet, a good moment to take a look at your diagnostic imaging infrastructure. Is it time that it gets an upgrade? With a world in evolution, today is a good moment for hospitals and radiology teams to brainstorm and invest. Because many evolutions are starting to consolidate in actual, versatile and future-proof solutions that give a new boost to your radiology workspace and workflow, offering you the flexibility and continuing digital innovations that will define this decade.
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