Revolutionizing Radiology: How AI Accelerated SimonMed’s Report Turnaround by 82%

SimonMed Imaging, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, stands as a leading provider of outpatient medical imaging services and radiology practices across the United States. With a network spanning over 150 locations across 10 states and a team of more than 200 radiologists specialized in various subspecialties, SimonMed is at the forefront of delivering a comprehensive range of diagnostic scans. These include advanced technologies such as 3T MRI, CT scans, ultrasound, 3-D mammography, PET/CT, nuclear medicine, DEXA, X-rays, and more, ensuring patients receive top-tier diagnostic care.

In a quest to enhance patient care and elevate the precision of diagnostic tools, SimonMed has embraced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Dr. John Simon, CEO of SimonMed, highlights the transformative impact of AI on patient care: “For example, we now use AI ‘triage’ programs such as AI to identify potential fractures or pneumonia. These cases are marked STAT and move up in the radiology reading queue to be read generally in less than 10 minutes. This ability to triage fundamentally resets the expectations of turnaround for positive cases and will continue to progress into other exams.”

The Mission

AI’s role extends beyond triage to augment diagnostic capabilities. “In terms of enhanced diagnostic tools, 3-D breast AI offers a second read for our 3-D mammogram program, which ensures excellent sensitivity and specificity of our team,” Dr. Simon further explains. The technology also excels in unveiling details invisible to the human eye, such as “mapping asymmetric brain volume loss or disrupted white matter pathways or calculating blood flow in coronary arteries.”

Prior to integrating AI into their workflow, the SimonMed team pondered several critical questions aimed at improving patient outcomes and report accuracy. These concerns included the swift identification and notification of positive cases, enhancing report sensitivity and specificity, uncovering hidden quantitative or patterned data, and achieving more accurate comparisons with prior exams.

“Our approach with AI is to integrate it within the radiologist workflow but ensure they have access to the powerful technology underlying these programs,” says Simon. This integration caters to optimizing AI findings for each patient, while also educating referring providers on the benefits of advanced measurement techniques, such as the superior sensitivity of volumetric measurements over 2D for lung nodules.

Diving Into The Numbers

SimonMed’s commitment to leveraging AI for better healthcare delivery is evident in their performance analysis. A study involving 1,442 patients across 14 centers showed AI-enhanced radiology reports were completed 82% faster than those without automation, with a sensitivity range of 96.9% to 100% per bone.

For other healthcare organizations considering similar AI applications, Dr. Simon advises a balanced view that recognizes the technology’s potential for both triage and diagnosis. “The requirements will be somewhat different and with different KPIs,” he notes, underscoring the importance of remaining open-minded and curious in this fast-evolving field.

SimonMed’s journey into AI-driven diagnostics showcases the power of innovative technology to transform patient care, making it a beacon for others in the healthcare industry aiming to harness the benefits of AI for enhanced patient outcomes and operational efficiency.

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