According to experts, AI can’t replace radiologists, it might help in identifying the problems easily, reduce the number of mistakes radiologists commit
Apollo Radiology International (ARI) aims to bring world-class radiology education facilitated by an international faculty to the doorsteps of Indian radiologists at an affordable cost.
Dr Sreenivasa Raju Kalidindi, CEO and MD, Apollo Radiology International, said, “Our commitment to advancing radiology training in India is unwavering. We believe these programmes will not only elevate the skills of our radiologists but will also have a profound impact on patient care, reducing misdiagnoses, complications, and unnecessary deaths.”
Radiology, a pivotal medical speciality, has witnessed unprecedented growth globally due to advancements in technology both in the diagnostic and interventional fields. Radiologists in the Western world now hold a key position in the patient pathway, both with respect to diagnosis and treatment. Radiologists are often the most important person in a multidisciplinary meeting.
However, such changes are yet to come in India. This is largely due to radiologists often lacking specialised training and access to international qualifications. In recent years, the rapid growth of radiology in India has been hindered by varied training durations and inconsistent quality across the country. Recognising this, ARI Academy, a part of the Apollo Group, has emerged as a game-changer, introducing international standards of education to Indian radiologists.
ARI recognises the disparity in radiology training in India compared to developed countries. Under the umbrella of ARI Academy, a pioneering endeavour by Apollo Radiology International, the focus is on creating learning opportunities at par with Western training schemes.
“The Global Radiology Training Program is a transformative initiative designed to enrich the skills and opportunities for radiologists in India and abroad. We are proud to contribute to the global advancement of radiology through this programme,” said Prof Subhasis Chakraborty, Course Director, Global Radiology Training Program, ARI.
Dr Kalidindi said, “A lot of diseases are diagnosed today using scanning without the need for surgery or invasive procedures. So radiology has become very important, radiologists play a critical role in patient management. There is high-end equipment accessible in India, but the training of the doctors that read these scans, and the radiologists haven’t changed much, they still do the three-year PG programme as they did in the 1960s or 1970s and the training quality is not the same across the board. If the doctor’s knowledge is not upgraded, the quality of diagnosis is also compromised and ultimately patients suffer. We set out to improve the situation in India and help produce more proficient radiologists. A lot of radiologists aspire to get the Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists’ qualification, the UK Royal College exam, for which they had to wait for several years to attempt the exam, visit the UK at least thrice to qualify and was only affordable to a small section of Indian doctors. After enormous effort, we could get an examination centre in India for FRCR, which is considered to be a major benchmark in the history of radiology in this country. Now we conduct these exams two or three times a year and several radiologists take those exams.”
Dr Kalidindi mentioned, “The Indian radiologists didn’t have a success rate in FRCR, so we are running preparatory courses to enhance the success rate. We started a programme called the Global Radiology Training Program, which is a two years course, which radiologists can do while doing MD or DNB PG courses, this will support their training and make their competency on par with the Western-trained radiologists. To have specialist radiologists on specific organs of the body, we developed a mini-fellowship concept of a week or a month-long online coaching, focussing on one area of the body. The first program we are doing is the abdominal mini-fellowship happening right now with the support of faculty from Harvard Medical School. AI will not replace radiology but will support it to enhance its role. There are two things we do as radiologists, one is detecting the abnormality and the second is interpreting and coming to a clinical conclusion. It’s the second bit that AI can’t replace, it might help us identify the problems easily and might reduce the number of mistakes radiologists make. This will aid radiologists to spend more time forming an opinion.”
Dr David Roberts, Retired Consultant Radiologist, Wales, UK said, “The problem with Indian radiologists is not the knowledge they have, but the tips and tricks that we could bring to them can improve their performance in the Royal College exam, that’s what we did in the last five years. This is the only course in the world which helps afford a level playing field for the Indian candidates. The qualifying rate of Indian students was 30 – 40 per cent in the past, now with this course, it’s up to 60 per cent, which is on par with the UK candidates. The fantastic course we are offering at Hyderabad has made a huge difference in Indian radiology.
Some of the key initiatives through which ARI plans to achieve this goal are:
Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists Qualification Center in India: ARI Academy, in collaboration with the Royal College of Radiology, London, has established a centre in Hyderabad, allowing hundreds of Indian radiologists to take the renowned Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists exams locally. This ground-breaking initiative eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming trips to London, making the qualification more accessible.
Global Radiology Training Programme: A two-year course, parallel to the MD or DNB postgraduate schemes in India, is bringing global experts from prestigious institutions like Harvard, Oxford, and MD Anderson to teach Indian radiology post-graduate students. This program introduces a thorough core radiology training based on a comprehensive curriculum and enhances their expertise, ensuring they are on par with their Western counterparts. This programme is being led by Prof. Subhasis Chakraborty from Oxford, UK who has the experience of working extensively for the Royal College of Radiologists in the UK and is shaping and running their training programmes and examinations.
Interventional Radiology Training Program: ARI Academy addresses the shortage of interventional radiologists in smaller towns by offering a comprehensive training programme. Led by Professor Sanjeeva Kalva, Chief of Interventional Radiology at Harvard Medical School, the program aims to broaden access to interventional radiology and reduce unnecessary surgeries.
Abdominal Mini Fellowship: A highly specialised training programme focusing on abdominal radiology in partnership with faculty from Harvard Medical School. This initiative brings world-renowned experts to Hyderabad, enabling trainees to gain expertise in a specific area.
FRCR 2B Course: ARI Academy proudly hosts India’s largest FRCR 2B onsite course, with over 8 successful batches and 350+ participants to date. Guided by esteemed leaders, including a former FRCR exam board chairman and renowned UK faculty, our commitment to excellence in radiology education continues to elevate standards in the field.
State-of-the-Art Educational Research Center: A new 18,000-square feet facility has been established at the Apollo Medical College, Hyderabad campus, equipped with teaching rooms, viva rooms, faculty rooms, and a large AI research lab. This centre is set to become a hub for radiology education and research in India.