Bridging gaps with informatics at RSNA 2013

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 - Evan Godt
Evan Godt, Editor

RSNA has always been about sharing information and forming partnerships, but in today’s healthcare climate, those partnerships are more important than ever. This year’s theme, “The Power of Partnership,” reflects the need for cooperation—with referring MDs, administrators and patients—and many of the sessions focus on how informatics can help make these connections.

Take RSNA’s Image Share Network, for example. This robust platform that allows radiologists to share images with patients through a personal health record will be on full display at RSNA 2013.

Other big topics at this year’s conference will be the coming of age of two technologies: tablet computers and clinical decision support. Seen as promising tools several years ago, they are now both proven technologies that have demonstrated their ability to improve practice.

Tablet computers obviously offer mobility, but we are learning more about how powerful these tools can be. Studies have even shown that with the right ambient light and right software, tablets can achieve reasonable diagnostic results as an imaging platform. You can learn more about using tablets in your practice by attending the informatics series on mobile devices (Monday, Dec. 2, 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Room S404CD).

More EHR vendors are working to put clinical decision support into practice and studies have shown that they can have a positive effect on the appropriateness of imaging orders. RSNA 2013 will feature a number of sessions on effectively using this technology, including a presentation on the impact decision support made on CT pulmonary angiography volumes at a major health center (Monday, Dec. 2, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - Room S402AB).

Technology is disruptive, and some have expressed concern that new informatics tools will combine with powerful economic and political forces to commodify the profession of radiology. This doesn’t have to be the case, argues David Hirschorn, MD, of Staten Island University Hospital in New York and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He says technology like image sharing and clinical decision support can actually make radiology more relevant and valuable.

“Technology itself is neither a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a tool, an instrument…it depends on how you use it,” he says. “You can take these technologies to build bridges, to build partnerships.”

Good thoughts to keep in mind as you explore RSNA 2013. See you in Chicago!

Evan Godt
Editor – Health Imaging