Looking into the future of the imaging informatics professions

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“The process of imaging informatics is something that we have to grow upon and learn from our mistakes,” said Chuck Socia, RT, vice president of operations for ASP-company Arkansas Medical Imaging. “It is our job as imaging informatics professionals to constantly improve.”
   
In the closing speech at SIIM’s educational session – What’s My Job – Socia spoke to audience members on the past, present and future of medical imaging informatics, as well as explained the career opportunities for these IT-savvy and radiology-oriented individuals.
   
“Where are we going to go, because there are current trends in imaging informatics?” posed Socia. Many of these trends are dependent on the reality that medical imaging data is going to continue to get more dense, and medical imaging systems are going to continue to get more complex. “Because of technology growth, we will have more applications to learn and play with,” said Socia.
   
Additional medical imaging informatics trends on the horizon, according to Socia, include the availability of more educational opportunities, standardization of technologies and platforms and development cycles that will get shorter and shorter. “Also, imaging informatics will be recognized as a vital role in healthcare,” said Socia.
   
In terms of career opportunities for medical imaging IT professionals, Socia listed the following prospects for employment: hospitals, imaging centers, vendor positions (applications or sales), research and development, ASP providers, consulting, project management, radiology and IT leadership positions, human interface design, regional health implementation and government positions.
   
Socia pointed out that there are still some roadblocks to overcome in the realm of medical imaging. “There needs to be defined roles for imaging informatics professionals, there needs to be university-based curriculum, there needs to be a diversity of skill sets required, and there needs to be more professional recognition,” said Socia.