Webinar insights: “Automating MRI Workflows at the Point of Imaging”

On February 15, 2024, an enlightening webinar organized by CEREBRIU brought together leading experts from esteemed institutions such as Guy’s and St Thomas’​ NHS Foundation Trust, UMC Utrecht, Assuta Medical Centers, Siemens Healthineers. This panel discussion focused on the revolutionary potential of automating Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) workflows through Artificial Intelligence (AI), aiming to optimize operations within medical practices and hospitals. The dialogue spanned the current challenges in MRI service delivery, the integration of AI to streamline processes, and the envisioned future of broad access to MRI.

Addressing Current Challenges in MRI Services

With his keynote, Haris Shuaib opened the discussion by highlighting the pressing issues plaguing effective MRI service delivery, including critical staff shortages and limited machine capacity. He proposed a radical rethinking of MRI service delivery, advocating for the use of AI to optimize the entire MRI pathway. His vision extends to bringing MRI services into the community setting, addressing accessibility issues, and improving patient care. “Being able to optimize and minimize the acquisition process that is focused on fact finding allows us to radically redesign how MRI is delivered,” he stated.

Streamlining Scanning Processes and Protocoling

From the viewpoint of high-volume MRI centers, Dr. Arnon Makori emphasized the importance of optimizing scanning processes and protocoling. “We’d like to see how can we use high-end technology to reduce our patient callbacks, to optimize the workflow and to make sure we are doing the right scan,” he noted. This approach not only enhances patient experience by minimizing the need for repeat scans but also improves the throughput and efficiency of MRI centers.

The Vendor Perspective: Making MRI Scanning Faster and Easier

Dr. André Fischer provided insights from the vendor perspective, focusing on the efforts to make MRI scanning faster and easier through AI technologies. He described opportunities for automation, “especially in the neuro space, 90% of all the head MRs are without any pathology. And so you have a lot of routine scanning where you can question, does this all have to be done by a human operator?” However, he also highlighted the challenges faced in implementing these AI solutions, particularly the regulatory hurdles that can impede rapid adoption and integration into existing systems and emphasized the need for collaboration of the MRI hardware vendors with AI solution providers.

Envisioning a Future with AI-Enabled Accessibility and Efficiency

Prof. Dennis Klomp shared his vision for a future where reliance on expert technicians for MRI scans is significantly reduced. Leveraging AI, he argued, could lead to increased accessibility and efficiency in MRI services, making advanced imaging more available to a broader segment of the population. He envisions MRIs without human operation: “So I think if we can solve that issue, put the scanner outside and let everybody go in at much earlier phases that would be a future which I think is very realistic and not so far down the road.”

Artificial Clinical Intelligence and Autonomous MRI Scanning

Robert Lauritzen discussed the role of artificial clinical intelligence in achieving more autonomous MRI scanning and protocol adaptation. His perspective points towards a future where MRI can be integrated as a primary care system, enhancing the speed and accuracy of diagnostics and potentially transforming the landscape of healthcare delivery.

General Discussion: The Future of MRI Workflows

The following discussion covered a broad range of topics, including the potential and challenges of automating MRI exams, the impact of AI on staff roles and skills, and future directions for integrating AI into MRI workflows. The consensus among the panelists was that while AI presents significant opportunities for improving MRI services, it also requires careful consideration of ethical, regulatory, and training aspects to fully realize its potential.

The Deskilling Debate

A controversial part of the discussion concerned the potential deskilling of the workforce as AI automates tasks traditionally performed by highly skilled technicians. While concerns were raised about the long-term implications for professional development and job satisfaction, an optimistic view suggested that AI could instead offer opportunities for upskilling. By freeing technicians from routine tasks, AI could allow them to focus on more complex aspects of MRI diagnostics and patient care, potentially enriching their roles and enhancing their skill sets.

Prioritizing Patient-Centricity

Also, patient-centricity was underscored as a core requirement of AI-enabled MRI workflows. Improving patient experience through reduced wait times and scan durations, and enhancing diagnostic accuracy for better treatment outcomes, were highlighted as key benefits. Several speakers emphasized that even in highly automated settings, the need for human interaction will remain, because of the complexity of some procedures like abdominal or cardiac imaging, but also because of the intimidating nature of MRI machines for many patients.


The webinar on automating MRI workflows at the point of imaging offered a comprehensive overview of the current challenges, potential solutions, and future directions in the field of magnetic resonance imaging. Through expert insights and engaging discussions, it became clear that AI technology holds the key to revolutionizing MRI workflows, offering promises of improved efficiency, accessibility, and patient care. As the field continues to evolve, the integration of AI into MRI services will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of healthcare delivery.

Watch the full recording here: