As Associate Director at Mahajan Imaging, Dr Vidur Mahajan oversees scientific and clinical research, and pioneers the application of new techniques in radiology. Having collaborated with multiple healthcare tech companies, he is a thought leader in the AI-radiology space. Both doctor and entrepreneur, Dr Vidur Mahajan is passionate about improving access and affordability of high-end medical care across the developing world.
Q&A with Dr Vidur Mahajan on artificial intelligence in radiology.
How do you see Artificial Intelligence in radiology evolving in the future?
AI will keep playing a more important role in radiology as time progresses. The benefits, the way I see them, would be around 2 dimensions: quality and efficiency.
- Quality: There are two main ways in which AI will effect the quality of diagnostics, and hence care, delivered to patients:
- Improving the quality of current radiology practices, i.e. improving the accuracy of radiologists. Bridging the divide between junior / not-specialised radiologists and sub-specialist experienced doctors.
- They can show completely new features / findings that radiologists were unable to see before. This included the development of quantitative biomarkers and new image acquisition methods.
- Efficiency: This is the most obvious, low-hanging fruit for most radiology AI companies. The premise is simple – a radiologist on average, might report 20 MRI scans a day today; AI can help take this up to 50.
How far away is the industry from realizing this future, and how does Qure compare to similar solutions that you may have seen/ implemented?
We work with several AI companies today and are covered by a plethora of non-disclosure agreements, so wont be able to comment on how Qure compares to other solutions. That said, Qure’s pragmatic and user-oriented approach to developing algorithms is a definite plus. Given that Qure is backed by one of India’s best analytics companies, I would be surprised if they don’t end up taking the radiology AI world by storm! On the industry, I strongly feel that it will not be “sudden” transition. The industry will enter into this “AI future” in a step-by-step incremental way – we may not even notice and suddenly we’re surrounded by AI!
How do you think the Qure’s products can help or is helping radiologists in their practice? Would you be able to indicate specific benefits such as increased precision or time saved?
Qure’s chest X-Ray algorithm has the potential to change the entire paradigm of diagnostics in the developing world. The Chest X-Ray is the most commonly prescribed radiology investigation and everyday, thousands of X-Rays go un-reported in the developing world. Qure has the potential to give these patients a proper report and hence impact their treatment outcomes in a very positive way.
How well does the Qure solution integrate with your workflow? How can this be made better?
I think Qure has this nailed down completely. The strategy of integrating with Osirix (the world’s most widely used dicom viewer) through an extremely user-friendly and straightforward plugin enables instant reach to radiologists all over the world. Additionally, Qure’s ability to automatically email the AI system’s report to its users should also increase its usability across the world.
What are your expectations from AI in radiology software and how well has Qure met these?
While I think I have answered this in Q-1, the primary, and most important expectation from AI in radiology is a product that works. Simple. I would be very guarded about promoting a product with less that 90% accuracy since I would not want potential users to form a negative opinion about Qure’s product based on their initial experience. The stakes in healthcare are too high and reliability of an algorithm is paramount. Qure is definitely a leader in the AI space globally and I am very proud of the fact that an Indian company is taking the lead in this.