Experience RSNA

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 - Mary C. Tierney
Mary C. Tierney

If you’re attending RSNA late this month like I am, we need to get prepared. In what will seem like the constant blurr of sessions to attend, technology and people to see and buses to find, we need to focus. Our immediate survival strategy is multitasking—a combined frenzy of networking with colleagues we meet in the back of a session as we check email on our PDA, try to listen to the speaker, jot down notes, dig through a briefcase for a better pen and confirm a lunch date via text.

But wait. Functional MRI research told us this year our brains aren’t built to multitask; it makes us notoriously inefficient. We don’t have the parallel processing capabilities of computers. We can only multitask well sometimes and we can’t determine when that will be. To do tasks well, we’re best to do only one thing at a time.

My 16 RSNA meetings have never disappointed in terms of things to learn and myriad new products to look at. So what to do? Plan your calendar ahead of time to get the most out of the pilgrimage. Create a schedule of sessions to attend from the agenda at rsna.org, and take a look at our RSNA Technology Preview section to get a full listing of new systems and upgrades debuting in 18 technology areas. There’s no shortage of new systems on the exhibit show floor—which has expanded this year from Halls A and B to a third hall across the skybridge in Lakeside Center (Hall D). Check out new (and economical) digital x-ray systems and detectors; CT enhancements, namely in cardiac, colonoscopy and trauma applications; RIS and PACS with better enterprise workflow solutions and integrated advanced visualization, CAD and speech recognition; breast MRI and 3T MRI systems; and larger size flat-panel medical displays.

RSNA says the hot topics in educational sessions this year are: medical informatics, structured reporting, breast imaging and molecular imaging. Integrating imaging and IT technologies continue to be a great challenge and many sessions address this. Radiology minds also are focusing on cardiac CT, chest CAD and CT colonography and CAD.

Avoiding RSNA information overload isn’t possible, but plan your path and focus on what’s important to you. (That fMRI research says if we learn undistracted, the information goes to our hippocampus, the region responsible for storing and recalling information, just where we want it.)