Preparing for the CIIP exam

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David E. Brown, PACS/RIS manager for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, delivered a talk on “Medical Informatics and Clinical Engineering” at SIIM 2007 pre-conference events on Wednesday. His talk covered sections XIX and X of the certification exam for SIIM's Certified Imaging Informatics Professional Program.

While the American Board of Imaging Informatics (ABII) is creating the exam, the group is not responsible for any preparation materials. In fact, Brown said that there is a “firewall in place” between the exam and those who will take it. Drafts of the exam have been kept under lock and key and those who worked on it were not allowed to have any parts of it in the vicinity of a computer or other electronics. The first round of test-takers will have three hours to answer 150 multiple choice questions on Saturday in a pilot test of the exam.

Imaging informatics professionals need a basic understanding of each type of imaging, Brown said. Imaging informatics touches on every aspect of the imaging chain, so professionals need the ability to assess imaging modality capabilities. He said they should know that CR and DR is the bulk (60 to 70 percent) of imaging procedures at most institutions, mammography is highly regulated, CT means large data volumes, and MRI also involves large data volumes and has environmental concerns. Nuclear medicine and PET require radioactive tracers.

Imaging informatics professionals must recognize the hazards specific to healthcare environment, such as ionizing radiation and magnetic fields. They should establish a program for image display quality control. They should appropriately apply IHE guidelines and integrate an image archive into their organization’s long-range plan.

Brown said that modality integration is a big part of the job. Gone are the days of each modality working separately and individually storing studies on tape. Today, it’s imperative to integrate modalities onto a common storage network. DICOM is the glue, albeit complex and constantly evolving.