These days, just about everyone is talking about artificial intelligence (AI): the good, the bad, and the hard-to-believe. The field of radiology is no exception, and Practical Reviews in Radiology has been on topic things, summarizing studies evaluating the potential AI holds for the specialty. In the last year alone, our radiologist-reviewers have summarized more than 20 AI-related studies assessing its role in lung nodule evaluation, breast lesion subtypes, appendicular fracture, tumor recurrence, COPD, and so much more.
While AI can certainly lend a hand in radiology, radiologists might be relieved to know a fair share of studies demonstrate that humans perform just as well or even better than trained bots. The same arguably holds true for blog entries such as this one. When Oakstone set out to profile one of the Practical Reviews in Radiology reviewers, Thomas Knight, Jr, MD, of Bluffton, SC, we could have asked an AI bot to write the article based on his answers. But what fun would that be? Instead, we asked a human to sit down with Dr. Knight to learn a little bit more about his background and personal interests, and ask what advice he would give to up and coming clinicians.
What led you to the medical field, and how long have you been practicing?
I have been practicing for 19 years. I would like to say I knew I wanted to go into medicine from the time I got my Fisher Price Medical Kit as a kid. However, I feel like it was a journey of discovery for me. I enjoy helping others, and my personal experiences with physician mentors along the way helped to reinforce my path.
Why did you choose radiology?
Like most radiologists, I enjoy the intersection of medicine and technology. As I was going through medical school, I was fascinated by the fact that the radiology exam was where the patient’s diagnosis was confirmed or a different diagnosis was made. That’s such an interesting point in the patient’s care that I was drawn to the field.
What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
I am fellowship trained in magnetic resonance imaging and I value image quality. I enjoy when we get beautiful images on our patients. I want our referring physicians to be able to look at our images and report and have complete confidence in what we are seeing. I also love when other physicians call me and ask my opinions on what imaging test to order, and discuss imaging follow up and patient care after a difficult diagnosis.
What advice you would give a student pursuing your field?
There are a lot of changes happening in radiology right now. Artificial intelligence and the role it will play in our long-term future is still being decided. However, just in MRI, I have seen significant enhancements in diagnosis and productivity already that are just the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, I would say to embrace changes in the field and see them as opportunities.
How did you get involved in CME/medical education?
For years, I used Practical Reviews as a product for my own CME. As part of a busy private practice, I could not always break away to go to a conference, so it was good to have something I could do on my own time. Oakstone reached out to me a couple years ago and asked if I wanted to join their team. I am so glad I did.
How do you make earning CME fun/entertaining?
I look at CME as a chance to find ways to improve patient care. I look for small pearls of wisdom that I can utilize to expand our imaging service and improve my own diagnostic confidence.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I have teenage daughters so my hobbies are part time driving instructor, college tour guide, and internet support.
If you had to pick another profession outside of medicine, what would it be?
I had some amazing history instructors in high school and college. I think a good professor can make you question your major, so I think there was a semester that I considered switching to history or pre-law. Later on, when my kids were little, we were lucky enough to take them to Disneyworld a few times. I convinced them my favorite ride was the monorail and we talked about how great it would be to drive the monorail. So either lawyer or monorail operator.