ESR goes Dutch: Mathias Prokop wins presidential race

Prof. Mathias Prokop, PhD, from Nijmegen, the Netherlands, has been elected second vice president of the European Society of Radiology (ESR). He will now preside over ECR 2027, and has vowed to improve the reimbursement of AI.

The election, which ended on 24 January, resulted in a clear victory for Prokop over the other contender Dr. Núria Bargalló, PhD, a neuroradiologist from Barcelona, Spain. He secured 2,485 votes, compared with Bargalló's 1,577 votes. Just over 12% of ESR members who were entitled to vote cast their ballot.

Prof. Mathias Prokop, PhD.Prof. Mathias Prokop, PhD.

Prokop, who is chair of radiology at Radboud University Medical Center and a pioneer in CT imaging, has emphasized the importance of leveraging AI technologies to ensure radiology moves into a new era of innovation, efficiency, and patient care.

In an election statement shared a fortnight ago on LinkedIn, Prokop advocated a redirection of time spent on writing diagnostic reports and proposed a flexible investment in new tasks that facilitate more direct interaction with patients.

"Visibility, innovation and flexibility will be key to the future of radiology," he wrote. "Use AI as an opportunity to free up time and help us move away from only writing diagnostic reports. Then using this time to flexibly invest in new tasks that make us directly visible to patients, like assuming a diagnostic gatekeeper role or the primary treating physician."

Prokop believes radiology is a pivotal player in sustainable healthcare. By providing earlier and better diagnoses, radiologists can help eliminate "unnecessary steps from the healthcare pathway." Adequate reimbursement is essential for the emerging technology that will become integral to diagnostic imaging, he added.

Prokop said he wants to see an expansion of ESR's educational initiatives to equip radiologists with the necessary skills for "collaborating synergistically with AI technologies." To attract the next generation of radiologists, he underscores the importance of "flexible practices including teleworking and a working environment in which [radiologists] are appreciated for positively changing patients' lives."

Prokop will now become ESR first vice president in 2025, ultimately serving as president in 2027.

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