Translating radiological research into practice-from discovery to clinical impact.
Smits M., Rockall A., Constantinescu SN., Sardanelli F., Martí-Bonmatí L.
At the European Society of Radiology (ESR), we strive to provide evidence for radiological practices that improve patient outcomes and have a societal impact. Successful translation of radiological research into clinical practice requires multiple factors including tailored methodology, a multidisciplinary approach aiming beyond technical validation, and a focus on unmet clinical needs. Low levels of evidence are a threat to radiology, resulting in low visibility and credibility. Here, we provide the background and rationale for the thematic series Translating radiological research into practice-from discovery to clinical impact, inviting authors to describe their processes of achieving clinically impactful radiological research. We describe the challenges unique to radiological research. Additionally, a survey was sent to non-radiological clinical societies. The majority of respondents (6/11) were in the field of gastrointestinal/abdominal medicine. The implementation of CT/MRI techniques for disease characterisation, detection and staging of cancer, and treatment planning and radiological interventions were mentioned as the most important radiological developments in the past years. The perception was that patients are substantially unaware of the impact of these developments. Unmet clinical needs were mostly early diagnosis and staging of cancer, microstructural/functional assessment of tissues and organs, and implant assessment. All but one respondent considered radiology important for research in their discipline, but five indicated that radiology is currently not involved in their research. Radiology research holds the potential for being transformative to medical practice. It is our responsibility to take the lead in studies including radiology and strive towards the highest levels of evidence.Critical relevance statement For radiological research to make a clinical and societal impact, radiologists should take the lead in radiological studies, go beyond the assessment of technical feasibility and diagnostic accuracy, and-in a multidisciplinary approach-address clinical unmet needs.Key points• Multiple factors are essential for radiological research to make a clinical and societal impact.• Radiological research needs to go beyond diagnostic accuracy and address unmet clinical needs.• Radiologists should take the lead in radiological studies with a multidisciplinary approach.