43th Three-Country-Ultrasound Meeting*:

Spotlight on Artificial Intelligence

„Ultrasound is developing from a qualitatively to a quantitatively imaging modality. Consequently, it will play an increasingly important role in diagnostics, intervention and therapy for example in detecting heart diseases or cancer.” This was one prediction Bernhard Mumm, Head of Strategic Innovation at TOMTEC made in his guest lecture during the opening ceremony of the 43th Three-Country-Ultrasound Meeting in Leipzig, Germany (October 16th-19th).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be very important to further boost the clinical use of ultrasound. “AI is able to condense all diagnostic parameters such as ultrasound images, biomarkers, risk factors or blood values and compare them with large data bases”, he explained in his speech with the title “Risks and benefits of AI in medical imaging”. Due to this combination of several diagnostic data the early detection of tumours can be improved significantly.

To those doctors who in general look sceptically towards AI based solutions because they fear a cease of medical status Bernhard Mumm replied: “The amount of data referring to a single patient is exploding. In the near future no doctor will have the time to scroll through thousands of CT- or ultrasound images in detail and map them with other diagnostic outcomes. Moreover, the World Health Organization is predicting a worldwide lack of about 13 Million medical doctors within the next 15 years. Therefore, we should not be afraid of loosing jobs but of loosing quality in care and time for the patient.”

Of course, Bernhard Mumm admitted that today some questions cannot be answered in a satisfactory manner. For example when it comes to legal and regulatory topics such as who is responsibleif AI concludes wrong. Nevertheless, the benefits of AI for patient care and quality in medicine are much higher than its current obstacles.

* The Three-Country-Meeting is the traditional event of the German, the Swiss and the Austrian associations for Ultrasound in Medicine (DEGUM, ÖGUM, SGUM). This years congress motto was: “Shaping the presence and future with ultrasound”.