Imaging AI hogs the spotlight at RSNA, with debuts from GE, Siemens, Philips

Artificial intelligence once again took the spotlight at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, where the biggest names in digital imaging demonstrated their cutting-edge tech.

Imaging diagnostics have claimed the lion’s share of the hundreds of green lights issued by the FDA for AI and machine learning-powered products in recent years, according to a master list posted by the agency this past October—spanning computer vision algorithms and software for parsing MRI, CT and X-ray scans.

Now, companies such as GE HealthCare, Siemens Healthineers, Philips and Hologic aim to keep that momentum going. This week, the “AI Showcase” pavilion of RSNA’s exhibitor floor, held within Chicago’s mammoth McCormick Place convention center, houses the booths of more than 90 developers and startups.

GE HealthCare made plans to spotlight AI-powered systems across its imaging, ultrasound and digital service offerings—pitching them as a means for health systems to help ease the strain on frontline providers by automating routine tasks and “by focusing on the root causes of burnout,” according to CEO Peter Arduini. 

“Through our smart devices, streamlined disease state focus, and digital solutions, we’re bringing data together in the right place at the right time for providers, solving for inefficiencies in workflow, enabling precision care, and helping improve patient outcomes,” Arduini said in a statement.

At the meeting, GE HealthCare unveiled its MyBreastAI Suite, billed as a collection of software tools for mammography workflows, including three programs developed by iCAD. The company also underlined a U.S. clearance for the automated detection of a collapsed lung and took time to note that it topped the FDA’s recent list of AI approvals and clearances, with a total of 58.

Siemens Healthineers, meanwhile, has seized on one of the buzziest terms in the field, describing itself as the first to use generative AI to combine imaging scans with clinical reports. 

With image and text generators such as ChatGPT grabbing headlines, the company said it has future plans to develop the technology into a chat system that can pull up the appropriate answers to clinicians’ queries—including “dynamically generated” and prioritized reports based on diagnostic data. Siemens Healthineers said it also plans to incorporate generative AI in customer support and medical staff training. 

Philips also took aim at clinician burnout, estimating that 45% of radiologists have reported symptoms of long-term exhaustion amid increasing caseloads. 

The company debuted a cloud-based version of its Vue picture archiving and communication system (PACS). Dubbed HealthSuite Imaging, the platform aims to allow radiologists and clinicians to quickly adopt new AI capabilities, as well as to remotely read diagnostic images. Philips also unveiled AI Manager, an end-to-end IT solution that can connect staff with more than 100 AI-based workflow applications.

And Hologic highlighted the addition of its Genius AI Detection 2.0 deep-learning program to its mammography software portfolio, which aims to reduce false-positive readings of breast cancer lesions by more than 70% when compared to its previous ImageChecker CAD platform.

On the hardware side, Philips debuted what it described as the world’s first fully sealed mobile MRI system, as part of its “helium-free” portfolio. While previous scanners have traditionally needed to be topped up with hundreds of liters of liquid helium to keep their magnets cool, sealed systems come preloaded and allow no gas to escape. 

The truck-mounted BlueSeal MR Mobile includes a 1.5T system that Philips says can help rural and remote communities offer imaging services while tackling resource constraints, sustainability issues and long-term operating costs.

Siemens Healthineers pointed to planned expansions for its Naeotom Alpha photon-counting CT system—including in cardiac imaging and scans of hearts with extensive calcification or stents. The company also said it is investing €80 million ($86 million) to boost photon-counting detector production at its site in Forchheim, Germany—alongside plans to scan 1 billion patients during the next 10 years, with more than 500,000 scanned so far.

“The future of CT is photon-counting. More and more clinical indications are emerging where photon-counting CT technology is uniquely positioned to help even in the most demanding settings,” Philipp Fischer, Siemens Healthineers’ head of CT, said in a statement

GE HealthCare also introduced the upcoming SIGNA Champion, a wide-bore 1.5T MRI scanner. With a larger opening and efficient AI software tools, the company aims to offer a faster and more comfortable scanning experience for the patient—especially those who have trouble lying on their backs, such as pregnant or bariatric patients, or those with significant pain, osteoporosis or breathing difficulties. SIGNA Champion has yet to receive clearances in the U.S. or Europe.