SIIM 2015 helping address informatics challenges

The Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) 2015 annual meeting kicked off on Thursday near Washington, D.C., with a slate of engaging presentations that laid out some of the biggest challenges facing imaging informatics professionals today, while offering plenty of guidance for meeting these demands.

Dedication to value, a goal that has become ubiquitous in U.S. healthcare in recent years, was again a major focus right from the start of SIIM 2015. Donald K. Dennison, a member of the SIIM board of directors, used the opening session to push informatics professionals to seek out and demonstrate value in their work, stressing the need for strong fiscal analytics systems. Dennison also commented on the evolution of enterprise imaging, another focus area for imaging informatics professionals for several years that is now becoming ever more essential to master. Providers must develop a plan to efficiently store and present patient images across systems within the patient record.

Presentations later in the day looked at some interesting projects being undertaken at facilities across the country. Seth J. Berkowitz, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, showcased a custom built native iOS app that addressed a number of problems with his organization’s previous mobile viewing solution. With a robust vendor-developed solution not in the budget, Berkowitz said his facility used a thin client PACS viewer accessible on tablet via desktop virtualization software. However, in an era of “mobile first” software development, this tool was decidedly behind the times, cumbersome to use, and little utilized by residents. The fix cam in the form of eyeRad, a tool built at the medical center that had more mobile friendly controls and useful functionality such as a drawing tool, which surveys showed would help patients better understand their images. It’s not a diagnostic viewer that will replace full PACS web viewer, but as a reference tool for consulting with patients and colleagues it has shown promise.

A more ominous recent trend in IT is the risk of healthcare data breaches, and Helen Oscislawski, Esq., of Oscislawski LLC, delivered a presentation commenting on the top 10 issues in IT security. Too many healthcare professionals have shared their password to a clinical system (in fact, an anonymous SMS-based survey showed that approximately one-third of the attendees in the session had done so), which leaves that person at risk if those credentials are misused. Oscislawski also warned attendees to make sure to control the access of business associates, use encryption, and use extreme caution on social media. All may seem like common sense, but there have been many cases where these safeguards were not followed and it can lead to serious consequences.

If you’re here in D.C., we hope you are enjoying the show, and if you couldn’t attend, stay tuned to Health Imaging as we continue to report on SIIM 2015 in our e-newsletter next week and on Twitter.

-Evan Godt
Editor – Health Imaging