Trends to Watch

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We all know someone who has made great success from a good idea. But good ideas are a lot more complicated than selling cold lemonade on a hot day. They are all about identifying trends - and jumping on - just a little before the rest of the world catches on and constantly modifying the game plan to stay sharp.

This month, we've identified the "Top 10 Trends in health imaging and IT" - to help you stay atuned and ahead of the curve. As you read through the story (beginning on page 20), you'll see repeated cross-pollination of topics, as top trends stick together.

Integrated RIS-PACS' advantage comes in its single database across the RIS, PACS and imaging suite, providing one point for patient and image data throughout the enterprise, whatever the size or geographic location. And don't forget data mining. One increasingly important piece of the image puzzle is multislice CT. Souped-up slices are increasing multislice CT's power - and a closer eye must be paid to managing the 1,500 to 3,000 images generated in one study, not including 3D reconstructions - which is another top trend. Cancer imaging is keeping a watchful eye on lung CAD for CT and x-ray as well as image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT).

Staffing is at near crisis point in various parts of the country, but nowhere is spared the shortage of qualified radiologists, specialists, RTs or nurses. Smart tactics need to be employed to retain good people and attract new stars. Teleradiology, or remote reading as it is now being called, and wireless networks are two ways to help productivity - by increasing the efficiency of the radiologist in providing after-hours services or expert reads, and in providing images anytime, anyway with wireless devices - such as tablet PCs (another top trend).

Molecular imaging is in a class by itself in its long-term potential, as well as current PET-CT gains in diagnostic accuracy of 95 to 98 percent. Molecular imaging will move beyond PET-CT, PET and nuclear medicine, creating a combination of engineering, imaging, informatics and biochemistry that allows physicians to someday predict disease and treat it before symptoms hit. Amazing.