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Staff Writer
 - Waves

Being a leader in imaging today is all about providing better patient care via excellent multimodality diagnosis, onsite and virtual collaboration among radiologists and specialists, and sophisticated treatment planning.

As an industry that long ago learned to survive and thrive through reimbursement cuts, even the likes of the DRA, health imaging and IT is not recession-proof, but for sure is recovery ready.

Being connected in 2009 is a 24/7/365 proposition. While good connections in business relations can bring profitseffective IT-enabled connections across a multi-site healthcare organization allow significant reductions and efficiencies in operating and staff costs and better care for patients via expanded regional reach for many facilities. Faster clinical decision-making comes from quickly communicated results, more complete imaging history facilitates better decision-making, and improved physician satisfaction via tailored, comprehensive reports delivered swiftly in the means the physician prefers to review them ensures that referrals continue.

IT innovation and integration are alive and very well in 2008. This year’s Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities bring impressive resumes, tales of major cost savings and return on investment and excellence in patient care and patient and staff satisfaction.

When the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) meets forits annual symposia in Seattle this month (May 15-18), the hot topicswill be everything PACS—imaging center workflow and IT infrastructure,working with ‘ologies outside of radiology, operational policies andprocedures, RIS and PACS replacement strategies, disaster recoveryplanning, communicating test results and IHE vs. Service OrientedArchitecture (SOA).

Real-world cases, relevancy to practice, and real strategies forimplementation—these are the takeaways from education sessionsdelivered at the annual RSNA conference. Some of the notablepresentations from this year are summarized here.

Among the hot topics in the clinical studies and scientificpresentations at RSNA 2007 were CT, especially 64-slice cardiacscanning, breast imaging, CAD and refinements in speech recognition andIT.

Hundreds of new products and enhancements debuted and were previewed onthe expansive exhibition floor of the RSNA annual meeting. Here is acollection of trends and technologies divided into the 18 categoriesour writers covered at the meeting.

Quality and safety improvement, cost containment, avoidance ofradiology commoditization, IT-powered efficiency, pay for performance,cardiac imaging and molecular imaging are themes that emerged from theeducational sessions, while new CT systems and image managementsolutions were the big draws on the exhibition floor.

Vendors at RSNA 2007 are rolling out a host of new features designed tostreamline radiology workflow. More are offering ER discrepancy toolsto help hospitals identify and manage mismatches between the initial ERand final radiology interpretations. Other features, such as instantreport alerts, boost communication with referring physicians toexpedite care and improve service. Visitors also can view an array ofdashboard tools. Some help facilities monitor and measure performance,while others enable PACS vendors to monitor the system and proactivelyidentify and manage problems.