Informatics & Engagement

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

There’s a little more than one month until the 97 th Scientific Assembly & Annual Meeting, Nov. 27 to Dec.2, at McCormick Place in Chicago. As we, on Health Imaging editorial staff, organize our schedules and prepares for radiology’s annual gala meeting, my mind wanders to the familiar terrain of imaging informatics.

What new developments will we see this year? Workflow and efficiency, always key issues, remain near the top of radiologists’ wishlists. I’m anticipating a wealth of new tools and applications to further boost efficiency across the department.

However, as I’ve spoken with imaging leaders and stakeholders, it’s become apparent that other critical needs exist. One of the few downsides of PACS is that it has disconnected radiologists from their clinical colleagues. It’s become all-too-easy for radiologists to hole up in the reading room and strive for optimum efficiency.

This model was a great fit during the fee-for-service reimbursement era. It enabled nearly all radiology practices to thrive.

However, as healthcare reform gains steam and payment models shift, embracing efficiency above all else may not be in radiologists’ best interests.

Evolving models are likely to require radiologists to be valuable clinical partners, guiding decisions about imaging studies and providing clinically relevant reports. Doing so requires radiologists to not only re-engage with their colleagues but also to engage in new ways.

Next-generation informatics tools need to support radiologists’ clinical engagement. They need to provide clinical context, so that the radiologist ‘sees’ the patient?not just the image. It’s exponentially more difficult, but ultimately more meaningful.

As you and your colleagues prepare for radiology’s gala show, consider your wish list and the questions and conversations you need to pose to ensure that radiology can fulfill its role as a valuable clinical partner.

Let us know what questions you plan to ask imaging informatics vendors in Chicago.

Lisa Fratt, editor