HealthManagement, Volume 16 - Issue 3, 2016

Exploring the Future of Radiology

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Medicine is facing an increasing rhythm of innovation. ‏Without any doubt, those medical specialties who ‏will guide the innovation will have the best professional ‏position. This is true also for medical imaging. The ‏role of radiologists in the next decades depends on their ‏ability to be a major force driving the introduction of new ‏imaging modalities and techniques to be used for individual ‏risk stratification, diagnosis, prognosis and image-guided ‏therapy (interventional).


In this context, the Board of Directors of the European ‏Society of Radiology (ESR) decided to expand the ESR journal ‏family, launching a new journal, online-only and fully open ‏access, published by Springer: European Radiology Experimental. ‏Submissions to the new journal will be possible as of ‏September 2016, and the first articles will be published by ‏the next European Congress of Radiology (March 1-5, 2017).


The main aim of the new journal is to foster a stronger ‏and stronger connection of radiology with the experimental ‏setting and basic science. This connection is evident for ‏imaging research concerning phantom studies, cell models ‏and radiobiology, animal models, new modalities/techniques ‏(including molecular imaging, hybrid imaging, optical and ‏opto-acoustic imaging), new contrast materials, tracers, and ‏theranostics, and all their interplays. However, the new journal ‏will also welcome reports on: three-dimensional modelling, ‏printing and simulation; advanced teleradiology (including ‏virtual interaction between physicians and patients); and ‏new image reconstruction algorithms and post-processing.


Moreover, the term “experimental” has also a general ‏meaning as opposed to observational, thus including those ‏studies in which one experiment is performed to observe ‏one outcome measure, reducing the underlying variability: ‏a planned variation under controlled conditions. This applies ‏also to studies on humans, especially if they are proof of ‏concept or explorative studies, such as those reporting ‏secondary endpoints of large clinical trials, or those regarding ‏automatic detection and diagnosis where, even using retrospective ‏datasets, new methods are prospectively applied for ‏a better performance. Also new methodological approaches ‏to the design of clinical studies will be considered. In the ‏current era, when typical randomised controlled trials and ‏also large prospective comparative studies imply a high cost, ‏we should perform big data analysis of the huge amount of ‏information we have in our RIS -PA CS systems, thus transforming ‏already stored information into new knowledge. ‏This approach may allow offering a low-cost contribution to ‏demonstrate the crucial role of radiology in modern evidencebased ‏medicine, which is a key factor for a patient-centred ‏high-quality healthcare.


A special place will be reserved to those manuscripts ‏reporting innovation for interventional radiology, as this field ‏is a major asset to increase the clinical role of radiology. ‏Great attention will be paid to imaging biomarkers, from the ‏proof of principle to standardisation (the latter being an unresolved ‏issue, especially for MRI -derived parameters), and to ‏radiogenomics, exploring the correlation between radiological ‏phenotypes and genotype of individual patients and individual ‏lesions, with a future role especially in cancer imaging. Last ‏but not least, the journal will offer a window also to another ‏piece of the future: clinical decision support systems for ‏patient management, including decision making for ordering ‏imaging studies. The amount of knowledge of medicine and ‏medical imaging is superior to any human ability to memorise ‏and correctly exploit it in favour of patients. Every day, ‏hundreds of new reports appear online. Only a smart use of ‏information technology can help us.


All these goals imply a strong commitment to include also ‏non-radiologists as journal board members, reviewers, and ‏authors, with a special welcome to physicists, biologists, ‏chemists, information technology experts as well as pathologists, ‏geneticists, or colleagues from other medical specialties, ‏or any other professionals with an interest in innovation ‏in radiology.


Finally, European Radiology Experimental will be an onlineonly ‏fully (gold) open-access journal. The European Union ‏asked all papers deriving from projects supported by public ‏funds to be freely available as soon as possible for reading ‏and redistribution, an approach already used in the United ‏States. The debate about free availability of the results of ‏scientific research is ongoing also outside medical journals ‏and accessibility has to be combined with economic balance. ‏The new journal will work for this.


Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species ‏that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the ‏one that is most adaptable to change.” European Radiology ‏Experimental will try to be a pivotal force in reporting and ‏debating the change in medical imaging.


Grenier N, Sardanelli F, Becker CD et al. (2009) ‏Development of molecular imaging in the European radiological ‏community. Eur Radiol, 19(3): 533-6. ‏


Mazurowski MA (2015) Radiogenomics: what it is and why it is important. J Am Coll Radiol, 12(8): 862-6.


Murphy K (2016) Should all research papers be free? The New York Times (New York), 12 March. [Accessed: 13 April 2016] Available from


Sardanelli F, Di Leo G (2009) Biostatistics for radiologists. Milan: Springer-Verlag, 144-8. [Accessed: 13 April 2016] Available from


Sardanelli F, Hunink GM, Gilbert FJ et al. (2010) Evidence-based radiology: why and how? Eur Radiol, 20(1): 1-15. <>

Sardanelli F (2012) Evidence-based radiology and its relationship with quality. In: Abujudeh HH, Bruno MA, eds. Quality and safety in radiology. New York: Oxford University Press, 256−90. [Accessed: 13 April 2016] Available from

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