RSNA 2008: Radiology in the Spotlight

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Radiology’s showcase conference—the 94th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)—was a show of great anticipation, but uneasiness seemed to fade as the sessions and halls filled with attendees. As the radiology community came together to witness and learn from the latest clinical studies, outcomes analysis, case studies, research and advances in technology, the big question was how many people would show up in light of the global economic downturn? The (unaudited) numbers held strong with just a 5 percent decline in professional attendees with 58,795 journeying to the Windy City. Professional attendees were down 1 percent, while guest attendance increased 7 percent (many of which seemed to be job-seekers). Despite expanding into the Lakeside Center, the total square footage of exhibit space was down 4 percent to 516,000 square feet and vendor attendance was down 12 percent to 24,683.

Overall, the economic downturn didn’t feel as bad as folks expected. That was great news. The majority of radiologists, radiology administrators and IT professionals told us they are focusing full speed ahead on 2009 purchases, namely in core technologies such as CT, digital radiography, IT systems and IT infrastructure, like storage and networks. Conservatism reigns, but progressive facilities are fighting to keep their competitive edge and continually improve patient care. Buying smart for now and the future was the mantra.

The outlook was positive too with vendors across the board, agreeing that leads were up and better qualified than year’s past. Consensus said the tire-kickers stayed home this year. Booths appeared more crowded with fewer people hovering in the aisles. Educational sessions were well attended, especially hot topics such as cardiac CT angiography, CT dose safety and reduction, IT informatics and integration, breast MRI and scintigraphy, CT colonography as well as pay for performance and business courses on doing more with less.

There was a lot to see and hear at RSNA 2008. Over the next dozen pages, we’ve synopsized the keynote addresses, educational sessions and technology trends on the exhibit show floor. For a deeper dive, view all of our stories from before, during and after the conference at