The numbers game at RSNA

A little more than a week ago, the 2013 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) came to a close and the thousands of attendees who had flocked to Chicago migrated home, hopefully bringing valuable lessons back to their practices.

The show, as always, was massive. Preliminary figures released by RSNA pegged total attendance at 53,169. If these numbers are accurate, it could mean that the RSNA meeting has reclaimed the title of the largest medical meeting in the U.S. Last year, RSNA was a close second to the Federation of International Medical Equipment Suppliers (FIME) Expo, according to the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association. This year’s FIME show, held in August in Miami Beach, brought in 52,890, according to FIME’s website.

Here are some other numbers that help sum up RSNA 2013:

52,973 – This was last year’s attendance, meaning RSNA 2013 essentially maintained the same attendance as 2012 following a slight dip between 2011 and 2012.

26,572 – Professional attendance at RSNA 2013.

21,318 – The number of exhibitor attendees at RSNA 2013, which was also similar to 2012 levels despite there being only two showfloors this year compared with three in 2012.

14 percent – The proportion of radiologists who have attested for Meaningful Use, according to an educational presentation by Alberto F. Goldszal, PhD, MBA, CIO for University Radiology Group, New Brunswick, N.J.

15.6 percent – The average recall rate for breast cancer screening was reduced 15.6 percent when digital breast tomosynthesis was used, according to a study presented at RSNA by researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Tomosynthesis was one of the hot topics at the conference.

30 percent – Of the 6,400 registered users of the RSNA Image Share network, 30 percent have actually gone home and used their personal health record (PHR). RSNA Image Share is a pilot project designed to allow radiologists to share medical images directly with their patients, who could then pass them along to other providers, using PHR accounts.

40 percent – The proportion of all life years lost to breast cancer from unscreened women under the age of 50, according to Nicholas M. Perry, MBBS, FRCS, FRCR, of the London Breast Institute.

Despite some eye-popping figures, RSNA 2013 will likely be remembered for its calls to leave the numbers game behind. As reform efforts begin to shift payment models in healthcare, coordinated and accountable care is taking center stage.

Many of the presenters spoke of this shift, but perhaps none more succinctly than RSNA President Sarah S. Donaldson, MD, who used her opening address to call for radiologists to show they can offer more than just image interpretation.

“It’s a time that requires us to produce value, not volume; outcomes, not output,” she said.


Evan Godt
Editor – Health Imaging