RSNA 2011: From Celebrating the Image to Celebrating Image Management

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

The 97th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) embraced and embodied the theme Celebrate the Image. But where does image management fit into the picture?

Although images are essential to clinical decision-making in many instances, the mainstay of image management—PACS—may not be keeping up with the times.

At RSNA 2011, Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, vice chairman of radiology informatics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, lamented the state of PACS and the lack of innovation. “With PACS, we essentially are storing film in a bottlenecked system,” he said. “I think we’ll look back on PACS as a swing and a miss.”

Looking ahead, Dreyer and others foresee the advent of the imaging EHR, fueled in large part by meaningful use.

And indeed other experts, while more optimistic about PACS, also express the need for innovation. Paul J. Chang, MD, chair of radiology informatics at the University of Chicago Medical Center, explained that  vendors need to configure image management systems to help radiologists deliver value to their clinical colleagues. Core components of PACS 3.0, he said, are dashboards and scorecards. That is, PACS needs to incorporate business intelligence and feed that information to radiologists to help them deliver value to referring physicians.

It is certainly within the reach of imaging stakeholders to innovate and deliver value to clinical colleagues. In a recent virtual conference hosted by Health Imaging, Eliot L. Siegel, MD, director of radiology at Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, waxed confident about radiology’s ability to wed productivity and value. “Based on our last 18 years of experience with PACS and soft copy interpretation, advanced visualization and speech recognition we've seen radiologists figure out creative ways to maintain productivity while providing additional value."

The question is: How will digital image management tools help radiologists deliver value? There are many options, ranging from richer reports to decision support.

How is your practice leveraging image management technology to deliver value? Let us know.

On another note, best wishes from the entire TriMed Media staff for happy, healthy and safe holiday season!

Lisa Fratt,
Editor, Health Imaging