The data explosion

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

According to gurus who think about such conundrums, there are two approaches to possessions: you can own them, or they can own you. The same axiom applies to imaging data.

Data can overwhelm a practice, stretching techs and radiologists to the edge of their capacity, resulting in barely manageable workflow and ultimately, impacting patients, referring physicians and revenue.

Or the practice can harness imaging data to optimize workflow, better inform decision-making and boost satisfaction among referring physicians. Practices that own their data can effectively leverage software and hardware, particularly advanced visualization software, to navigate and manage this increasingly complex environment.

Recent studies, and anticipated upcoming announcements, underscore the importance of sophisticated data management software. A study from Colletti et al provides a snapshot of the status quo. Researchers paired historical calcium score data with current cardiac MRI data to better predict future cardiac function.

Meanwhile, Bettinardi et al offer a sneak peek at the not-too-distant future in which physicians utilize respiratory-gated 4D PET/CT data to improve diagnostic accuracy of lesions affected by respiratory movement and to better target radiation dose to tumors impacted by respiratory motion.

Finally, in this pre-RSNA season, we’re hearing whispers about PET/MR. It’s an exciting advance in hybrid imaging, but also will surely compound the imaging data-workflow processes. Listen for more in the coming weeks.

Each scenario represents another exponential explosion in imaging data. Practices need to think smart and invest wisely to optimize their imaging resources and deliver maximum benefits to their patients. That means leveraging technology to complement and extend clinical staff and effectively manage data. Advanced visualization is an essential part of the solution.

The final word this month? Own your data, or it might own you.

Lisa Fratt, Editor