Meet the Doctor: Ryan Lee, MD
Ryan K. Lee, MD, MBA, was recently named Chair of the Department of Radiology for Einstein Healthcare Network. He is board certified in diagnostic radiology, with subspecialty certification in neuroradiology.
Dr. Lee is also an Associate Professor of Radiology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
He is active in local, state, and national medical societies, serving on numerous committees in the areas of quality and safety, healthcare economics, artificial intelligence, clinical decision support, and peer review. He is recent past president of the Philadelphia Roentgen Ray Society.
We recently spoke with Dr. Lee about his career, his interests, and radiology.
Q: Why did you decide to become a radiologist?
A: One summer during my high school years, my mother was able to get me a job working for our family doctor at his practice. I worked as a general helper – bringing patients back, taking blood pressures, cleaning rooms, and other odd jobs that needed to get done.
Every Wednesday, a radiologist would come read all the x-rays that were performed in the office for that week. He invited me to sit down with him to review the x-rays, and from that time on, I was hooked. I carried that interest with me all through medical school and ultimately applied for a radiology residency.
Q: Tell us about your education background.
A: I attended Cornell University for my undergraduate education, with a major in mathematics and an unofficial minor in music. I received my medical school education at Drexel University College of Medicine and completed my residency in diagnostic radiology at the University of Rochester hospitals and a fellowship in neuroradiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. I also obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester, with concentrations in finance and healthcare administration.
Q: What are your clinical interests?
A: My interests include the application of artificial intelligence in radiology. This consists of using sophisticated software that aids the radiologist in making diagnoses. We have been leaders in the field in helping to develop as well as implement multiple such tools, including detection of spine fractures, intracranial hemorrhage, pulmonary emboli, lung nodules and many others.
These tools can benefit the management of patients in many ways. For example, they can alert the radiologist when there is an abnormal study so that it can be reviewed sooner. There are also uses for artificial intelligence in workflow and patient management in radiology.
At Einstein, we are currently engaged in research in using artificial intelligence to notify patients when they have recommendations for follow-up imaging, which we believe will result in more patients scheduling appointments for this imaging. As another example, we are currently evaluating artificial intelligence software that helps a radiologist with report generation, which can potentially result in improved turnaround time.
We are still in the infancy of the use of machine learning in radiology, so it is an exciting time to be in this field.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: The culture and collegiality drew me to Einstein. The culture here emphasizes the exceptional care of our patients while making the education of our residents – who will lead the future of radiology – of utmost importance.
I see and feel our mission statement in each of our staff radiologists every day: “With humanity, humility and honor, to heal by providing exceptionally intelligent and responsive healthcare and education for as many as we can reach.”
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: I enjoy coaching my sons in baseball. It started with my older boys, who are now in high school, and more recently my son Ashton, who is 7. We came in second in the playoffs this year!
Q: Who was an early role model for you?
A: My father. Through hard work and a strong sense of morality, he built himself with only an accounting degree to become a senior banking executive. To this day, I strive to follow his example.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: The Art of War by Sun Tzu. It is a classic work with a surprising amount of relevance in the modern world. I had heard it was required reading in business school. Although it wasn’t when I attended business school, I made it a point to read it then, and have re-read it multiple times.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: A Few Good Men, because it has exceptional acting and writing.
One of my favorite scenes (besides the famous “You can’t handle the truth!” scene) is when Noah Wylie’s character is asked how he knew where to go to lunch despite it not being written in a formal manual or document.
He responded, “Well, I guess I just followed the crowd at chowtime.” It is a good lesson that many important things in life are not learned in textbooks.
Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: The Toronto Blue Jays (and also the Phillies when there is no conflict with the Blue Jays). And of course, I bleed green – Go Eagles!
Q: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
A: Anywhere with my wife and family.
Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A: Zahav. They have the best hummus around, bar none.
Q: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
A: In my senior year at Cornell, I was musical director for an a cappella group and once opened for Natalie Cole at Carnegie Hall.
Find out more about radiology and imaging at Einstein.