Exploring the Role of Artificial Intelligence in an Emergency and Trauma Radiology Department

Can Assoc Radiol J. 2021 Feb;72(1):167-174. doi: 10.1177/0846537120918338. Epub 2020 Apr 20.


Emergency and trauma radiologists, emergency department's physicians and nurses, researchers, departmental leaders, and health policymakers have attempted to discover efficient approaches to enhance the provision of quality patient care. There are increasing expectations for radiology practices to deliver a dedicated emergency radiology service providing 24/7/365 on-site attending radiologist coverage. Emergency radiologists (ERs) are pressed to meet the demand of increased imaging volume, provide accurate reports, maintain a lower proportion of discrepancy rate, and with a rapid report turnaround time of finalized reports. Thus, rendering the radiologists overburdened. The demand for an increased efficiency in providing quality care to acute patients has led to the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field. AI can be used to assist emergency and trauma radiologists deal with the ever-increasing imaging volume and workload, as AI methods have typically demonstrated a variety of applications in medical image analysis and interpretation, albeit most programs are in a training or validation phase. This article aims to offer an evidence-based discourse about the evolving role of artificial intelligence in assisting the imaging pathway in an emergency and trauma radiology department. We hope to generate a multidisciplinary discourse that addresses the technical processes, the challenges in the labour-intensive process of training, validation and testing of an algorithm, the need for emphasis on ethics, and how an emergency radiologist's role is pivotal in the execution of AI-guided systems within the context of an emergency and trauma radiology department. This exploratory narrative serves the present-day health leadership's information needs by proposing an AI supported and radiologist centered framework depicting the work flow within a department. It is suspected that the use of such a framework, if efficacious, could provide considerable benefits for patient safety and quality of care provided. Additionally, alleviating radiologist burnout and decreasing healthcare costs over time.

Keywords: AI; artificial intelligence; deep learning; emergency and trauma radiology; emergency radiology; radiography; radiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Radiology / methods*
  • Trauma Centers