Editor's Note: Imaging in the Age of IT

Mary C. Tierney, Editorial DirectorIt’s November, so it must be RSNA. To me, the terms are synonymous — and the cold weather and predictions of snow in the Windy City tell me it’s time for radiology’s annual pilgrimage to Chicago.

This year multidetector CT, 64-slice for cardiac imaging in particular, is again in the limelight, as is radiology informatics, which for the first time is classified as a subspecialty thanks to the significant impact it’s had on how radiologists do their jobs. After about 20 years, infoRAD has gone the way of the VCR — with informatics education exhibits and scientific posters hitting the mainstream and featuring image processing and analysis, decision-support and workflow. They are now clustered near the electronic and hard-copy education exhibits and posters at the redesigned Lakeside Learning Center (formerly Hall D). On the perimeter of the radiology informatics section is the new NCI caBIG Imaging Workspace, which features demonstrations of projects launched over the past year by the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) that look to breakdown barriers to participation by radiologists in clinical trials and activities such as developing controlled vocabularies. Molecular imaging elevates, too, making its debut as a new subspecialty and gaining its own zone in the Lakeside Learning Center.

Other topics top of mind are image-guided cancer treatment, cardiac imaging, 3T MR, and radiation oncology beyond anatomy-based treatment — all RSNA keynote lectures this year.

On the clinical front, fusion, perfusion/diffusion, multiplanar, and dual-energy imaging techniques in CT, CAD, and molecular imaging are the top trends in the Scientific Program. Interventional radiology, radiation oncology, digital mammography, lung cancer screening, and CT and MR colonography also share the agenda.

And on the exhibit floor, cardiac imaging with 64-slice CT and works-in-progress higher-slice-count scanners are catching the buzz — as is digital mammography with installations up sharply. About 13 percent of U.S. hospitals now utilize FFDM, up from almost 9 percent a year ago pre-DMIST. CAD is offering a helping hand to an increasing number of studies, with tighter PACS integration.

PACS is a clear dominator, too. The number of vendors remains strong, as applications expand and integration with advanced visualization, mammography, PET/CT, and other information systems grows. Look for increased user friendliness via reporting templates, web-based scheduling, and other tools to streamline radiology clinical and operational workflow. Imaging reigns in the age of IT.

Lessons Learned

Hospitals differ greatly in the way they manage cardiac images — but parity comes in a shared strategy that PACS is a must and images from different modalities must be available for viewing on one workstation.
Cardiac Images Flow Across the Enterprise
One thing is sure: the need for image storage will continue to climb. Flexibility, scalability, dependability and variety are qualities healthcare facilities seek when evaluating new and existing strategies for image storage.
Smart Storage Solutions: Customizable and Ready for Increasing Needs
The move from analog to digital mammography often means a cutting in half of the needed rooms to maintain the same patient load.
Breast Imaging Workflow: Imaging and IT Bring Better Diagnosis
Besides displaying beautiful images, next-generation medical-grade color monitors have overcome compromises and offer both excellent resolution and brightness for reading diagnostic images.
In Living Color: Displays Expand to Cover the Full Spectrum