A Look Inside InfoRAD

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To spark professional growth on the dynamics of digital technologies in healthcare in the 21st century, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) this year again presents infoRAD - informatics in radiology.

The instructional component to the 89th scientific assembly and annual meeting offers more than 130 education and commercial exhibits in McCormick Place's Lakeside Center, featuring hands-on computer assisted self-instruction, Web-based applications, clinical software, virtual reality and RSNA's Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative.

InfoRAD runs concurrently with RSNA's traditional educational programs. Case-based review courses are new at this year's meeting. The day-long, case-based sessions in neuroradiology, interventional radiology and pediatric radiology are variations to the refresher courses.

Two new elements have been added to infoRAD in 2003: an exhibit on the information technology (IT) tools influencing the radiology practice of tomorrow and classroom courses on the advances of RSNA's Medical Image Resource Center (MIRC) and Radlex. A pilot project developed by the society, Radlex strives to create a consensus of terms to index and search diverse medical imaging resources.

A PACS workstation classroom and web classroom are two hands-on refresher courses offering 1.5 American Medical Association (AMA) category 1 credits at infoRAD. The PACS workstation forum provides tutorials for beginners and seasoned system users, as well as a workshop on speech recognition systems. A roster of credentialed speakers navigate the personal computer (PC) workshop that focuses on a triad of issues, including how to get radiological images into a PC.

An annual objective of infoRAD is to evaluate new computer technologies used for research, education and practice. Topics this year cover the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) search service, MedLine (PubMed.gov), RSNA's Radiology Online and RadioGraphics Online journals, radiology resources on the Internet, and a 2003 tutorial.

Awarding category 1 credits, the tutorial is jointly conducted by NLM and the academic-lead consortium, Internet2. Both organizations will examine advanced networks, such as the Next Generation Internet (NGI) and Internet2, and how they apply to healthcare.

The IHE workshop is designed to educate medical professionals and IT industry experts as they collaborate on streamlining
disparate data systems. The fifth-generation course will highlight the integration capabilities made possible by IHE, as well as
provide an understanding to its clinical and operational benefits.

Agfa Healthcare, Siemens Medical Solutions, GE Medical Systems, Philips Medical Systems and Fujifilm Medical Systems all have reserved classroom space near the infoRAD/IHE exhibit area to conduct classes on their proprietary computer systems. As part of RSNA's hands-on Computer Workshop, activities include experience in computer-assisted detection, radiology information systems (RIS), picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), integrating computers into the radiology practice, and training on the vendors' computer equipment.

Premiering this year is a Mobile Computing Pavilion overseen by RSNA's Electronic Communication Committee (ECC). The pavilion consists of companies exhibiting mobile technologies and services. A 25-seat theatre is featuring presentations covering mobile devices, security, communication protocols, healthcare applications and other relative topics.