Ergonomics & Organizing

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I'm not much of a hypochondriac. But sometimes when a coworker complains of a sore throat and I listen to the coughing and nose-blowing going on in the next office, I think hard about whether my throat is feeling scratchy too. Maybe a little vitamin C wouldn't be a bad idea to ward off whatever germs are around.

I got that same vibe when I read "It's All in the Ergonomics: People-friendly Design for the Reading Room" on page 36. But I'm taking that advice to heart - and posture and back and hands.

Like a radiologist, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen. While I don't carefully examine medical images for hours at a time, day after day, I do read and edit a lot of words on my screen each day, look at a variety of digital photos and clinical images to include in the magazine, send lots of emails, research on the web and work on spreadsheets. We're a completely digital magazine, so like many radiologists, film has left my life too. My computer workspace is a priority. And when I don't follow the rules, my neck and back tell me about it.

Ergonomics is just one aspect of the changing angles of the radiology department of the future, which is our cover story this month. "Touring the Radiology Department of the Future" guides you through the adoption of personalized medicine through a convergence of anatomical and functional imaging (yes, it's here today but will greatly improve with better imaging agents) coupled with smarter CAD and visualization, optical imaging of tumors and blend of chemistry and molecular biology. We'll benefit from earlier knowledge of problem-prone genes and personalized drug cocktails even before we've felt a symptom.

With an eye toward the future, I believe success in healthcare and even everyday life lies in effective organization of information. No matter what we do these days, there is just too much information. To digest and act on information, it must be well organized, well presented and highly searchable. Nebraska Heart Hospital, a leader in cardiac care, is challenged by just that issue - how to best present information to physicians via PACS and get it there ASAP. You can read about it in "Cardiology PACS: Giving Cardiologists the Information They NeedÃ???¢?Ã???Ã??Ã?¦Now" on page 24.

For all of us, I see the need for all-in-one dashboards that on one screen intelligently identify our work (and even home) priorities and tasks and enable us to work (with the help of knowledge-based tools) as updates are made in real time. We need focus in the sea of information.

And please remember to sit up straight and get some good reading light when you're reading this month's issue. Enjoy!