Artificial intelligence (AI) has started to be increasingly adopted in medical imaging and radiotherapy clinical practice, however research, education and partnerships have not really caught up yet to facilitate a safe and effective transition. The aim of the document is to provide baseline guidance for radiographers working in the field of AI in education, research, clinical practice and stakeholder partnerships. The guideline is intended for use by the multi-professional clinical imaging and radiotherapy teams, including all staff, volunteers, students and learners.
The format mirrored similar publications from other SCoR working groups in the past. The recommendations have been subject to a rapid period of peer, professional and patient assessment and review. Feedback was sought from a range of SoR members and advisory groups, as well as from the SoR director of professional policy, as well as from external experts. Amendments were then made in line with feedback received and a final consensus was reached.
AI is an innovative tool radiographers will need to engage with to ensure a safe and efficient clinical service in imaging and radiotherapy. Educational provisions will need to be proportionately adjusted by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to offer the necessary knowledge, skills and competences for diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers, to enable them to navigate a future where AI will be central to patient diagnosis and treatment pathways. Radiography-led research in AI should address key clinical challenges and enable radiographers co-design, implement and validate AI solutions. Partnerships are key in ensuring the contribution of radiographers is integrated into healthcare AI ecosystems for the benefit of the patients and service users.
Radiography is starting to work towards a future with AI-enabled healthcare. This guidance offers some recommendations for different areas of radiography practice. There is a need to update our educational curricula, rethink our research priorities, forge new strong clinical-academic-industry partnerships to optimise clinical practice.
Specific recommendations in relation to clinical practice, education, research and the forging of partnerships with key stakeholders are discussed, with potential impact on policy and practice in all these domains. These recommendations aim to serve as baseline guidance for UK radiographers.
Implications for practice
This review offers the most up-to-date recommendations for clinical practitioners, researchers, academics and service users of clinical imaging and therapeutic radiography services. Radiography practice, education and research must gradually adjust to AI-enabled healthcare systems to ensure gains of AI technologies are maximised and challenges and risks are minimised. This guidance will need to be updated regularly given the fast-changing pace of AI development and innovation.