Taking Flight

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On this month's cover, you've seen Health Imaging & IT's view of the core of the radiology department of the future: a technology-rich "cockpit" enabled by super high resolution, lightening fast imaging devices and intuitive image and information systems.

The cockpit of the future is a hybrid of a robust, Web and speech-enabled, user-friendly hospital information system/radiology information system/image management solution. It seamlessly joins imaging studies and reports past and present, electronic patient records, lab tests, ECGs, pathology reports, more automated computer-assisted detection, 3D and fly-through studies, pharmacy, online order entry, patient billing, even dietary records - with anytime, anywhere access for the caregiver.

In this case, we're focusing on radiology, but we'll see expansion throughout the "ologies" and across the enterprise and beyond. The caregiver of the future is thus a cross between medical expert and IT virtuoso.

As in flight, the richer the information, the better the flight plan. Instead of monitoring wind direction, storm fronts, the position of other planes and the amount of fuel on board like pilots and air traffic controllers, radiologists, administrators and IT departments will assess closely and mine the richness of volume, complexity and variety of data generated. Effective departments will harness this data and turn it into better outcomes and best practice models, centered in the cockpit - improving patient care via increases in workflow, productivity, quality, consistency and efficiency.

To round out our cockpit concept and our vision for the radiology department of the future, turn to "A View from the Cockpit" on page 20. Enjoy the flight.