April 22, 2023

Making the business case for AI in Radiology – Integrating clinical value with outcomes

Hundreds of AI Apps, where to begin?

With more than 500 FDA-cleared AI apps to consider for use, it is becoming more and more important to consider an outcomes focused approach to evaluating, testing, integrating, and implementing AI. The discussion below focuses primarily on Radiology specific AI apps, as there are hundreds of those cleared for use.

Making a business case for radiology AI apps involves an understanding of your clinical requirements, and demonstrating the potential benefits of the technology, and the return on investment (ROI) that can be achieved.

Here are some steps that can be taken to make a strong business case for AI in radiology specifically, and medical imaging in general:

  1. Identify the pain points: Start by identifying the challenges that radiology/imaging practices face, such as increasing workload, high error rates, and long turnaround times. Highlight how AI can address these pain points and improve workflow efficiency.
  2. Analyze the potential ROI: Determine the potential return on investment of the AI application. Estimate the cost savings that can be achieved through improved productivity and accuracy, reduced errors, and optimized workflow. Include the cost of acquiring and implementing the AI application in the analysis.
  3. Highlight competitive advantages: Explain how implementing AI in radiology can provide a competitive advantage by enabling the practice to offer higher quality, more efficient and faster services than their competitors.
  4. Showcase the industry trends: Provide information on the industry trends and the increasing adoption of AI in radiology. This can help build the case that not implementing AI will put the practice at a competitive disadvantage.
  5. Address concerns: Address any potential concerns that stakeholders might have about the technology, such as clinical evidence, ethical concerns, data privacy, and regulatory compliance.

Transforming clinical benefits to outcomes

To transform clinical benefits of AI into a compelling business case, it is important to quantify the value of those benefits in monetary terms. Here are some points to think of and consideration:

  1. Identify the clinical benefits: Start by identifying the clinical benefits that the AI application can provide, such as improved accuracy, faster diagnoses, and better patient outcomes. Use clinical studies, published literature, and expert opinions to support the claims.
  2. Estimate the impact on key performance indicators (KPIs): Use available data and industry benchmarks to estimate the impact of the AI application on key performance indicators such as patient wait times, turnaround time, read rates, productivity, and error rates. Quantify the expected improvements in each of these areas, and convert them into financial terms, such as cost savings or revenue gains.
  3. Consider the potential cost savings: AI can help healthcare providers reduce costs in several ways, such as reducing unnecessary testing, lowering malpractice claims, and improving resource utilization. Estimate the potential cost savings associated with these improvements and include them in the business case.
  4. Compare against alternatives: Consider the alternatives to implementing the AI application, such as hiring more staff or investing in new equipment. Compare the expected ROI of the AI application against these alternatives to show that it is the most cost-effective solution.
  5. Present the business case: Use a clear and concise presentation format to present the business case to key stakeholders, such as senior management, clinical leaders, and financial decision-makers. Highlight the potential benefits, ROI, and cost savings of the AI application, as well as any relevant industry trends and competitive advantages.

Evaluating the ROI:

When evaluating the ROI (Return on Investment) of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in radiology or medical imaging, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Accuracy and efficiency improvements: One of the main drivers for adopting AI in radiology is to help improve accuracy and efficiency. It is important to measure the extent of these improvements and how they translate into increased revenue or decreased costs. This can be assessed by comparing the time and resources required for radiologists to make diagnoses before and after AI implementation.
  2. Cost of implementing AI: Implementing AI in radiology can be expensive, and the costs will depend on the type of AI technology chosen, the complexity of the workflow, and the degree of integration with existing systems. It is important to weigh these costs against the potential benefits to determine the ROI.
  3. Impact on patient outcomes: The ultimate goal of radiology is to improve patient outcomes. When evaluating the ROI of AI in radiology, it is important to consider how AI can help achieve this goal. This can be assessed by looking at how AI can improve accuracy and reduce errors, which can lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses, and ultimately better patient outcomes.
  4. Regulatory compliance: The use of AI in radiology must comply with regulatory requirements. Compliance costs should be factored into the ROI calculation.
  5. Training and support costs: Implementing AI requires training for radiologists and other staff. Ongoing support and maintenance costs should also be considered.

Mammo AI use-case as an example

One example of a business case for a radiology AI app that justifies the cost is the implementation of an AI-powered system for mammography interpretation, which could help improve the accuracy and efficiency of mammography interpretation, leading to better patient outcomes.

Mammography AI can improve key performance indicators (KPIs) and return on investment (ROI) in several ways:

  1. Improved accuracy: Mammography AI can help radiologists detect abnormalities that may be missed during a traditional mammogram. This improved accuracy can lead to fewer false negatives and false positives, which can improve patient outcomes and reduce the need for additional follow-up tests and procedures. This can result in faster turnaround times and improved read rates, which can improve KPIs and increase ROI.
  2. Improved decision making: For instance in the US, new FDA regulations dictate that women must be told whether their breasts are “dense” or “non-dense. Reporting breast density allows women to be informed about their breast density and the potential impact on mammography screening. This can help them make informed decisions about their breast health and have access to consistent, quality mammography.
  3. Increased productivity: With AI assistance, radiologists can analyze mammograms more quickly and accurately, reducing the time required for image interpretation. This can increase productivity, allowing radiologists to read more cases in less time. Increased productivity can also lead to increased throughput, which can increase revenue and improve ROI.
  4. Better resource utilization: Mammography AI can help radiologists optimize their use of resources, such as staff time and equipment. By reducing the number of unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures, mammography AI can free up resources that can be used more effectively, such as for treating more patients. This can lead to increased revenue and improved ROI.
  5. Improved patient satisfaction: Mammography AI can lead to better patient outcomes and experiences. By reducing the number of unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures, patients can receive faster and more accurate diagnoses, which can improve their confidence in the quality of care they receive. Improved patient satisfaction can lead to increased patient loyalty and referrals, which can improve revenue and ROI.

Similar examples include the use of AI for lung nodule detection, analysis and follow up. By quantifying the expected impact of the improvements in workflow brought by AI, healthcare providers can make a strong business case for investing in mammography AI.

It is important that AI workflows are embedded into your existing Enterprise Imaging (PACS) systems, which helps further with the business case for a modular strategy when activating and implementing AI seamlessly.

All the content published on this website is independent opinion and is not sponsored by any commercial entity or industry organization. This website serves to discuss emerging trends and encourages discussions on these trends.

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