Radiology's Time to Shine

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 - Lisa Fratt - Portrait
Lisa Fratt, Editor

As we head into the final countdown to the 97th Scientific Assembly & Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), it seems that imaging occupies both the spotlight and the hot seat.

RSNA's theme for 2011—Celebrate the Image—is exquisitely appropriate. Imaging has driven tremendous advances in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment in the last two decades. A survey of 235 internists published in Health Affairs in 2001 identified MRI and CT as top on the list of innovations whose loss would most adversely affect patients. Indeed, advances in imaging have helped eliminate many exploratory surgeries, enabled earlier detection and treatment of cancer and other diseases and much more.

RSNA aims to tout these successes and countless other critical messages about the central role of imaging in 21st century patient care. At the same time, however, radiology has been under fire, facing heat for everything from CT radiation exposure to overutilization to commoditization.

The practices profiled in this month's Health Imaging cover story "Process Improvement for the Long Haul" exemplify the value of data, planning and process improvement in overcoming these challenges. In their own way, each celebrates the image. One has elevated customer service to a science to drive sustained improvement in patient satisfaction and revenue metrics. Another has infused a commitment to radiation dose optimization across the enterprise.

As in every issue, the Health Imaging editorial team also examines an array of clinical, informatics and economics topics.

  • One year after the dramatic wrap-up of the National Lung Screening Trial, we visit pioneers providing CT screening programs to uncover how the model works in practice and what gaps remain.  
  • The PET/MR era has arrived. Experts discuss where the new modality is most likely to demonstrate its greatest potential.
  • We look at telestroke programs and detail the clinical and economic gains that can be had via this innovative pairing of imaging and informatics.
  • Health Imaging dives into advances in breast ultrasound screening and considers the impact of the legislative trend toward adjunctive screening for women with dense breasts.
  • Smartphones are ubiquitous in healthcare. How can radiologists leverage them to improve service and communication? How will they change access to the EMR?
  • Imaging administrators weigh the exponential challenges of CD image management and provide a few pointers to streamline processes.

Naturally, RSNA occupies center stage this month. We highlight a handful of sessions, and RSNA President Burton P. Drayer, MD, offers an insider's look at the meeting.

Finally, incoming Radiology Business Management Association president and this month's guest columnist Robert T. Sill delves into the power of transformation in imaging.

As you ready for radiology's premier event, check in at www.HealthImaging.com for in-depth previews throughout November as well as live coverage of educational sessions, events and happenings from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1. See you at McCormick Place!