RSNA 2013: More meaningful than ever

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Now that it’s been a couple of days since my colleagues and I returned from the 99th Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago, we’ve had some time to digest all of the conversations from the show floor, sessions and client meetings. With more than 55,000 attendees, 600 technical exhibits and hundreds of posters and educational sessions, there’s no question that RSNA remains among the world’s most prominent medical conferences.

Yet I couldn’t help but notice that the emphasis at RSNA 2013 continued to trend away from medical imaging hardware and toward the software solutions emerging to help clinicians make the most of the voluminous data generated by the devices themselves.
Don’t get me wrong — vendors were still introducing or showcasing many new, high-tech MRI, hybrid, CT and other devices to make any radiologist’s head spin with high-definition visions of radiologic glory. There was also a multitude of studies and sessions devoted to the benefits of these technologies.
But I wouldn’t be giving you the whole picture if I cropped out the increasingly critical profile of informatics-related products and services at the conference.
It wasn’t all that long ago that PACS and informatics garnered not much more than a snapshot of exhibit hall real estate and a smattering of CME hours, relatively speaking. At RSNA 2013, however, the exhibit hall was saturated with such offerings. Universal viewers, vendor-neutral archives (VNAs), mobile apps, data-mining and other analytics tools — you name it — the technology available to providers that need help with managing, storing, analyzing and sharing medical imaging data with their patients and fellow clinicians was everywhere. The classrooms reflected the trend as well, hosting more than 100 courses showing radiologists how and, more importantly, why to employ the new tools.
The fact is that new world order of healthcare is approaching. Fee-for-service, volume-based models of care are slowly giving way to accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other value-based models that rely heavily on data to assess their efficiency and quality of service. The Affordable Care Act, Meaningful Use, ICD-10 and other mandates are pushing   all of these trends further along and making providers react faster than ever before. 
And RSNA 2013, to a large degree, acknowledged that before long it won’t be enough for radiologists just to be able to take the pictures and analyze them. In today’s healthcare landscape, radiologists have a larger impact on patient care and satisfaction than ever before. They have become pivotal members of the continuum of care and, therefore, need access to more advanced data-sharing and interoperability tools in order to thrive in today’s evolving care environment.
What were some of your key takeaways from RSNA 2013?

Originally posted on: 12/19/2013 1:02:31 PM

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Justin Dearborn
Watson Health Imaging, a segment of IBM Watson Health, is a leading provider of innovative AI, enterprise imaging and interoperability solutions that seek to advance healthcare.

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