SIIM delivers tools for interoperability, efficiency

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Decision-support tools, interoperable systems, and hands-on training to increase operational efficiencies were highlights of the 2008 Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) conference in Seattle, according to David L. Weiss, MD, a presenter at this year’s meeting.

Weiss, director of Geisinger Medical Center’s department of radiology in Danville, Pa., told Health Imaging News that one of the biggest changes he saw at this year’s show was with PACS vendors.

“What I saw are that some of the PACS vendors are now partnering with smaller vendors to offer more services than they are able to offer on their own,” he said. “This is due in part because rads want more efficiency and interoperability at the workstation and many vendors have determined that they cannot do everything.”

IIPs now are looking at the American Board of Imaging Informatics certification exam as something they should be moving toward, both personally and professionally. With the pre-conference symposium for IIPs at this year’s show, IIPs could explore the blend of competencies required for the imaging informatics administration in preparation for the exam, he added.

Weiss said he felt that the “In the Crossfire” debates were popular as well with IIPs. With debates that focused on integrating the healthcare enterprise versus service-oriented architecture and whether IT or radiology owns PACS, attendees were provided with informal views rather than a didactic prepared talk, he said. “People were speaking informally, discussing their own views of things in a collegial environment,” Weiss noted.

A scientific session that surprised Weiss with its attendance was the “Vocabularies and Ontologies” session.

“In years past, some rads felt that this topic was less important than discussing PACS. With this session, which was well attended, the audience showed they have started to become much more cognizant that communication is much more a part of our job and training than perhaps we gave it credit for in the past,” he said.

Radiologists seem to be getting the basic structures together necessary for the successful operation of a department, he noted. “Rads are building the house and with things like decision support tools and interoperability, they are beginning to accessorize,” Weiss concluded.