In 2023 and beyond, when terms like artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking over the world of trends in technology, the term information technology feels so outdated. However, it is still a term that is used daily in the field of technology because it refers to the foundations of the technology used everywhere to drive efficiency, productivity, and positive outcomes. Information technology is now used in every field today, and health care is no exception.
In fact, information technology has been used to change the face of health care and save lives for decades. One of the areas of health care where information technology is truly innovating is the field of radiology. Websites such as w-radiology.com are an example of how information technology can be used to serve students, health practitioners, and patients alike with information that can improve health care service and delivery. In radiology, information technology is used for almost every phase of service, from imaging to diagnostics to treatment. Components of information technology are now mainstream and have improved the lives of millions if not billions of patients worldwide. Learn more about information technology’s impact on the field of radiology here.
Information technology is also known as IT and it is a broad term originally coined by Harvard Business Review that refers to the components of a technological system where electronic information called data is stored. This refers to the physical devices, their storage capacities and capabilities, networking infrastructure, and their connectivity to each other and other systems within the larger system.
The world of IT first began in the twentieth century when computers that needed an entire room were created, and continues today in more powerful devices that can now fit into a woman’s handbag. The chain of information in an IT system is used to develop and sustain applications within an organization’s system, and to monitor the data that is being consumed by the system itself.
In health care, and in the field of radiology, IT is used for every step of service. It is used for administration, support, application of service, and also to ensure health care compliance is maintained across every department within the healthcare system. The field of radiology has been positively impacted by the delivery of IT services, and this has changed lives and saved lives. For radiology, workloads on a taxed system are reduced, diagnoses are arrived at sooner, and treatment plans can even be delivered or recommended because of IT’s impact on radiology.
The field of radiology is one that involves every facet of imaging required for patient care in the healthcare system. This includes but is not limited to diagnostic techniques such as X-rays, ultrasounds, MRI, CT scans, and more. This field in health care is one of the most taxed fields when it comes to workloads and service delivery. IT has changed that. Years ago, the field of radiology functioned at a much slower pace, with results from diagnostics taking much longer than they do today.
In the past, imaging services would be delivered and a patient would need to wait days or weeks to learn the results. The imaging would be captured, radiologists would interpret and report on the results, the family practitioners or specialists would come up with a plan, and the patient would be informed as typically the last step of this chain. In many cases, this would take weeks as most of the system was a human system. Today, much of the system in radiology is driven by IT, and this can mean in some places that this entire chain can be delivered on the same day.
When necessary today, the chain is delivered on the same day, and this happens every day in America, saving lives across the county. IT has resulted in a reduced human impact in the delivery of services once the images have been produced. These services are still overtaxed with heavy workloads for the human component of this chain, but wait times and treatment plans now come much faster and that is a direct result of IT, and nothing else.
In addition to faster service delivery and treatment plans, after imaging takes place, IT is now used in the field of radiology to provide more accuracy. AI and machine learning are techniques in technology that are used to simulate human behavior, and even how humans would think in a given situation. In the field of health care, AI is bringing more accurate results to learning the correct course of action for a patient. It can help to analyze medical imaging after humans have done so and yield second opinions that have not yet been considered for a patient.
While this component of IT in radiology is still in development, within a few years, what patients and service providers will see are deeper algorithms that will produce clinical results in radiology. Medical images will be scanned by both doctors and machines alike and will be able to locate things on an image that a doctor can not see, or help with the more difficult diagnoses. This is already happening.
It is common sense that IT has changed the face of health care over the past several decades and that it has changed lives and even saved lives. In many facets of health care, radiology is the first step of the treatment plan and a critical component of diagnostics and treatment. Imaging can now be used during the treatment phase in services such as image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) which increases the accuracy of treatment, which also is provided in much less time on a much less taxed system than would have occurred before IT became integral to health care. Explore IT from diagnosis to treatment in radiology and you’ll see the difference every innovation has made.