Integrate, Motivate, Escalate

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We all love good news. And right now, the health imaging and IT industry has a lot to cheer.

Imaging procedure volume is surging 9 to 22 percent yearly - while the workload will reach 500 million annual exams (Frost & Sullivan; IMV). PACS spending last year topped $969 million, and is forecasted to reach $1.6 billion by 2007 (compounded annual growth rate of 11.2 percent; IDC). Imaging system sales are growing again, notably in MRI (1.5T and 3T), multislice CT, PET/CT and digital and computed radiography. The price of medical care has finally slowed, rising only 4 percent this year, which is the lowest increase in recent time (Bureau of Statistics).

On the consumer side of things, computer storage and peripherals sales have skyrocketed 128.6 percent over the past 12 months, while IT consulting has started to rise again, about 10 percent a month ( BusinessWeek).

The economy is finally cooperating, too - as economists are jacking up their growth projections as the U.S. economy hits self-sustaining growth thanks to increased demand triggering a boost in product output and jobs. With newly created income and profits, demand is lifted even further.

These positives are terrific for the medical imaging and IT marketplace as we launch into radiology's biggest event of the year, RSNA. Enthusiasm and energy are high as we roar into the Windy City. As you'll see from "RSNA: Where Images and Information Meet," vendors large and small are debuting new imaging and information systems, and a slew of software to speed and improve workflow and productivity. A new mobile computing pavilion, located in the South Hall near Publisher's Row, previews the next-generation of wireless technologies and applications in healthcare. Presentations and exhibits at InfoRAD (130 strong) again detail the state-of-the-art in informatics in radiology, with case-based review courses making their debut. Also new are an exhibit on IT tools influencing the radiology practice of tomorrow, courses on RSNA's Medical Imaging Resource Center (MIRC) and a pilot research project, RadLex, to create consensus of terms to index and search medical imaging resources. The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise initiative also will address its expansion from radiology into cardiology.

Outside of our RSNA coverage, we've tackled a few of your challenges this month, too - offering tips on recruiting, and retaining, radiologists and RTs; the best PACS financing options; how to integrate your digital x-ray retrofit into your network; and how much image storage you really need. Did you know the healthcare industry will store 68 petabytes - one petabyte equals a million gigabytes - this year alone? (The Enterprise Storage Group) And be sure to check out the expanding role of the PACS administrator, the nitty-gritty of PACS in a community hospital, and Herman Oosterwijk's look at DICOM's 20th anniversary.

Health Imaging and IT is all about practical solutions to challenges in radiology and cardiology. We're the one magazine dedicated to connecting medical imaging and information technologies across the enterprise.

I'm glad to be part of Health Imaging & IT. Building on my 12 years of medical imaging industry experience, that's good news. See you at RSNA!