Posted on May 20, 2021
As the field of abdominal radiology continues to evolve, developments in artificial intelligence integration are set to enhance workflows and better patient outcomes. We sat down with Dr. Luther Adair, II, an Abdominal Subspecialty Radiologist and the Chair for the Abdominal Imaging Panel for the artificial intelligence section of the American College of Radiology, to learn more about his journey in the field, as well as where the future of abdominal imaging is heading.
[DocPanel] What inspired you to get into the field of radiology?
[Dr. Adair] My father was a neuroradiologist, so I knew a little about the field. However, in medical school, the opportunity to work remotely was becoming a thing through Nighthawk Radiology. So, the idea of working in a completely different location and being involved with the different specialties in medicine was an attractive thing to me.
[DocPanel] Did you know early on that you were especially interested in abdominal imaging?
[Dr. Adair] No. I found that to be the most appealing because of one of my attendings in Residency, Dr. Peter Nardi, who really made learning abdominal pathology interesting.
[DocPanel] Congratulations on your recent appointment as the Chair for the Abdominal Imaging Panel for the artificial intelligence section of the American College of Radiology! What’s been your journey in getting involved with AI in radiology?
[Dr. Adair] Thank you! I think my journey and getting involved with AI begins when I was 12 and I built my first computer. I saw that technology could improve efficiencies and outcomes in ways that human labor would fall short.
[DocPanel] Can you speak a bit about some of the projects you’ve worked on as Chair?
[Dr. Adair] Many of the projects that I have worked on as Chair up to this point have had very practical implications. One example is a project focused on ]Detection of Retained Surgical Foreign Body](https://www.acrdsi.org/DSI-Services/Define-AI/Use-Cases/Detection-of-Retained-Surgical-Foreign-Body) in which we are training the AI algorithm to do something that is very important in an immediate surgical workflow, but really burdens the radiology workflow. In the case that an instrument count is off, the surgeon has to ensure that it is not within the patient's body, imaging is performed on the operating table, and a radiologist has to stop, read this film, and call a surgeon before the surgeon can complete the case. Additionally, we are now working on PI-RADS integration for prostate imaging.
[DocPanel] What new developments within AI radiology are you most excited about?
[Dr. Adair] I think physicians will still guide diagnostics imaging, but I believe that the fields primarily responsible for diagnoses will become more integrated, augmented by AI and the large body of data that we have obtained. For example, a possible radiology-pathology correlation based on the patient's history is prompted on the screen by a finding that catches a radiologists eye in the future.
[DocPanel] Where do you see the future of abdominal radiology heading?
[Dr. Adair] I believe the future of abdominal imaging will focus more on function than overt anatomic abnormalities. Pathophysiology in the abdomen oftentimes is about how an organ functions rather than how it looks in the early stages. For example, many abdominal illnesses are without overt anatomic clues and require lengthy workups to identify a root cause.
[DocPanel] How do you see the future of AI integrating into outpatient clinics?
AI can be integrated into outpatient clinics and other business models through its ability to gain insight into workflow that would otherwise be overlooked by financial models or retrospective models. This would allow rapid iteration and increased workflow adaptation.
[DocPanel] In addition to medicine, you’re also a strong advocate of education. Can you share a bit about The Adair Family Foundation and the Viewbox App you created?
[Dr. Adair] The Adair Family Foundation was designed to support educational pursuits in the areas of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math). We support organizations from early childhood to graduate school, which allows us to be impactful beyond mentoring just one student at a time. We wanted to do this to set an example for our children and show them that giving back is an obligation, not an option.
Viewbox is a company that I started with two of my best friends from medical school in which we created one of the first iPad apps for radiology in 2011. However, since then we have decided to go a nonprofit route with the company and published a children’s book called Learning about X-rays with Lula and Ethan to elucidate the process of getting imaging studies in the Emergency Room. The book is on the Image Gently website and also at the RSNAS radiologyinfo.org.
Luther B Adair, II, MD is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist with subspecialty training in abdominal radiology. Dr. Adair is a principal owner of a private practice radiology group based in Las Vegas, NV called Nashville Radiology Partners where he provides diagnostic radiology services for hospitals in New York, the Midwest, and New England. He is also a reading radiologist at DocPanel. In addition to Abdominal Radiology, Dr. Adair has an interest in chest imaging, vascular imaging, and machine learning.