ABAIR aims to educate radiology administrators, techs on AI

2022 08 08 13 41 7033 Students Speaker Lecture Hall 400

Radiologists aren’t the only ones who have to learn about artificial intelligence (AI); radiology administrators and radiologic technologists also must get comfortable with the technology. A new organization called the American Board of Artificial Intelligence in Radiology (ABAIR) aims to meet their needs.

ABAIR will provide educational courses, certification, and ongoing credits to help administrators and technologists understand how to assess AI technologies, said co-founder Tom McLaughlin, a licensed radiologic technologist and former vice president of North America at Guerbet. He is also a member of the advisory board for the American Board of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (ABAIM).

Tom McLaughlin, co-founder of ABAIR.Tom McLaughlin, co-founder of ABAIR.

"We wanted to start a training session to be able to take the administrator or the technologist into the world of AI and help them understand [the technology]," he said. "We don't particularly care what the AI is -- we actually call it the black box -- but we wanted to help them understand the terminology and how it would fit into their workplace."

ABAIR also wants to help them grasp important issues such as medical-legal risk, reimbursement, and how AI technologies are paid for, McLaughlin said.

"There's a real gap in the market that no one is bringing the administrators up to speed on with AI," he said. "AI is coming at them a mile a minute and they're sitting there trying to figure out what this all means."

Another ABAIR co-founder, Dr. Orest Boyko, PhD, is a radiologist and long-time AI researcher and educator. He also serves as vice chair of the ABAIM's board of directors. The other two co-founders are Matt Wilson and Shon Smith of continuing education conference provider Northwest Imaging Forums.

The ABAIR will officially kick off on November 15-16 in Las Vegas with a two-day course called AI for Radiology Administrators and Technologists. The conference, which will feature both educational talks and an exhibit hall for vendors, will also be held in 2023 in Orlando in the spring, in Indianapolis in the summer around the time of the AHRA annual meeting, and then will return to Las Vegas in the fall.

Attendees will be given tools such as decision trees, checklists, and glossaries for terminology to help attendees learn how AI will affect their department, McLaughlin said.

Of the two days, one and a half days will involve teaching and the last half-day will be devoted to a certification exam. In addition, the ABAIR plans to offer what it calls AIR credits, which will enable certification to be maintained over time, he said. What's more, those who achieve certification will be able to use those credentials after their name.

The association has also formed an executive advisory board of directors, which currently includes seven members:

  • Dr. Aashim Bhatia of Children's Hospital Philadelphia and an assistant professor of radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia
  • Dr. R. Nick Bryan, PhD, emeritus professor of radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine
  • Joseph Fay, clinical director at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston
  • Dr. Ari Goldberg, PhD, medical director of body imaging and medical director of MRI at Loyola University Medical Center
  • Enrico Rick Perez, emeritus director of imaging at Winthrop University
  • Jacqui Rose, operational director at Premier Health Partners

These directors will provide guidance on the curriculum and help write the questions for the certification exam, McLaughlin said.

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