RSNA President's address: Collaboration key to better care

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RSNA President David H. Hussey, MD, called for more collaboration between diagnostic radiologists and radiation oncologists during his opening address on Monday.

Citing that greater collaboration would lead to an end result of strengthening both fields and improving patient care, Hussey also pointed out that some of the first physicians to practice radiation oncology played important roles in the forming of RSNA. Over the years, the fields have expanded with multiple subspecialties. When he joined RSNA in 1965, there were 4,700 attendees at the annual meeting compared with 60,000 (estimated) this year. The expansion of imaging means "communication between diagnostic radiology and radiation oncologists has never been more important," Hussey said. "Radiology today comprises many subspecialties. The strength of RSNA is that it embraces all of the radiologic specialties and subspecialties."

More collaboration would help with diagnosis and staging of disease; following the progress of treatments; assessment of outcomes; and designing treatment fields, he said. "Advances in radiation therapy and diagnostic radiology have made tumor localization even more important."

Radiation oncologists need to be more involved in RSNA because "diversity is a good thing," Hussey said. "The broader the input, the better the educational experience."

Increased communication also leads to better understanding of each other's fields, he said.
Another important reason for more involvement in RSNA by radiation oncologists is because they provide a link to clinical medicine because they are directly involved in patient care.
   
"Medicine is more effective when physicians form different specialties interact, work toward faster and more accurate diagnoses, better treatment, and periodic assessment of treatment outcome," Hussey said. "The patient is the ultimate winner."