RSNA 2009: A Finger on the Pulse and An Eye to the Future

This year’s meeting of the RSNA in Chicago, Illinois, to be held November 29 through December 4, will feature approximately 4,000 scientific papers, posters, and educational exhibits, and despite the recession, the society expects to welcome nearly 60,000 attendees from around the globe. The meeting will include perennial favorites like the mock jury trial and mentored case reviews, as well as new events ranging from an educational series for technologists to a radiology reading room of the future.

On Sunday, November 29, the opening session will focus on the timely subject of “National Priorities for Transforming Health Care,” presented by Janet Corrigan, PhD, MBA, as well as “Patient-centered Radiology,” a recurring focal point for the society, presented by Stephen Swensen, MD. Gary Becker, MD, RSNA president, will address attendees on the importance of maintaining quality standards in the current shifting health care environment, and will look at the future of radiological care from the perspective of quantitative applied science.

This year’s mock jury trial will also take place on Sunday, and will be moderated by Leonard Berlin, MD. The trial will be based on a Chicago malpractice case filed by the family of a 55-year-old man who died of lung cancer a year after his radiologist reported on a suspicious finding, but failed to communicate the finding verbally to the referring physician. With its focus on failure to communicate, the mock trial will address the issue of whether a radiologist’s responsibility has been fulfilled by noting a suspicious finding or whether that responsibility includes a further obligation to communicate that finding to the referring physician or patient.

A new feature at this year’s meeting is the radiology reading room of the future, which will be open throughout the week to showcase products that integrate quantitative analysis into the image-interpretation process. Hands-on educational exhibits will include informational posters, computer-based demonstrations, and “Meet the Experts” presentations continuing through the week. These exhibits are designed to be educational in nature and will not be used for product promotion, according to RSNA.

Another new addition to RSNA’s education roster is the 1.5-day session offered by RSNA and the American Society for Radiologic Technologists, which will begin on Wednesday morning and run through half of Thursday. Topics to be covered in the 10-session course include customer service in imaging, radiation exposure, discussing radiation safety issues with parents, technology issues, and the evolving role of the technologist.

The Bolstering Oncoradiologic and Oncoradiotherapeutic Skills for Tomorrow (BOOST) program, now in its third year, will offer four days of concentrated courses taught by leaders in radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, biology, and physics. Each day of BOOST, which runs Monday through Thursday, will focus on particular diseases and will include a refresher course on anatomy and contouring. Areas of focus will include the breast, the head and neck, gynecology, the gastrointestinal system, the central nervous system, and the prostate.

To assist attendees in satisfying the recommendations of the ACR® Practice Guidelines for the Performance and Interpretation of Cardiac CT, RSNA 2009 will offer two rounds of cardiac CT mentored case review on Monday and Thursday, with four courses included on each day. To receive a certificate of completion, attendees are required to participate in all four courses on a single day.

This year, RSNA is also partnering with several other societies to bring attendees an even wider variety of educational offerings. One such partnership, UK Presents, offered in conjunction with the Royal College of Radiologists, will feature the latest research in emergency radiology, MR fluoroscopy, and high-resolution CT. Through a partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians, RSNA 2009 will also offer a refresher course called Radiology and the Family Physician, focusing on the relationship between radiologist and referrer.

In keeping with the federal government’s new $20 billion initiative to expand health IT and achieve a nationwide electronic health record (EHR), RSNA 2009 will also feature a renewed focus on integrated health care technology. The association is formally involved in the federal EHR initiative through its role with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and will showcase recent technological developments at the conference’s Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) image-sharing demonstration. Past RSNA demonstrations have helped accelerate the adoption of DICOM standards and IHE profiles for medical imaging.

With all this and much, much more to cover, it’s going to a busy week; see you there!


RSNA 2009: Product Review

Chicago will welcome 733 exhibitors showing the full breadth of technology, pharmaceuticals, and support products used by radiology departments and imaging services. Here’s a preview of some of the products that attendees will find along the aisles of the exhibit hall in McCormick Place.

MRI System Is Boreless to Provide Unlimited Lateral View

The Bore-Less Oasis 1.2T MRI from Hitachi Medical Systems America, Inc, offers high-quality MRI with an unlimited lateral view, creating new opportunities for pediatric, geriatric, bariatric, breast, and sports-medicine revenue. The scanner’s high-performance imaging platform and Hitachi’s no-charge support programs (ranging from follow-up applications training to periodic software upgrades and accreditation support) aid in meeting providers’ high-field MRI needs.

Versatile DR and Patient-centered PACS

Agfa HealthCare will highlight both DR and imaging informatics productivity solutions. The vendor’s DX-D 300 universal arm system and DX-D 500 versatile ceiling-mounted and wall-stand DR room use Agfa’s familiar NX interface, as does the new DX-G CR system, with a five-plate drop-and-go buffer for improved workflow. IMPAX, the company’s medical imaging informatics platform, facilitates the capture, management, distribution, and accessibility of patient-centered imaging information for both radiologists and referring physicians.

Accurate Coding for Prompt Reimbursement

A-Life Medical, a provider of radiology computer-assisted coding products and services, will feature its radiology solutions built on a proprietary natural language processing technology called LifeCode. A-Life’s solutions decipher electronic radiology reports via Internet and code them appropriately to provide prompt radiologist reimbursement. A-Life’s data center processes more than 5 million reports monthly for more than 40,000 physicians nationwide for customers ranging from medical billing companies to radiology physician groups and hospital departments.

Radiology Portal With Referrers in Mind

AMICAS, Inc, will feature AMICAS Reach, a radiology electronic medical record and portal designed specifically for referring physicians. The Reach solution works with PACS and uses common email and secure messaging to deliver radiology images, reports, and information to email-enabled devices via secure, Web-based portal. In addition, AMICAS Reach is a zero-installation application, eliminating the difficulties associated with downloading and installing software for viewing radiology images and results.

Importing Hard Copy to PACS

The Integrity medical image importer from Codonics, Inc, is a user-friendly, Web-based solution that reads DICOM studies from CDs or DVDs, reconciles patient demographics, and stores to PACS or an archive. A split-workflow design enables users to read discs where patients arrive and empowers the PACS administrator to offload reconciliation to other personnel. Integrity features a low-cost, compact design; an intuitive interface; rules-based searching; and built-in antivirus protection. Multisite facilities can combine Integrity units for centralized reconciliation.

Reconciling Workflows Across Databases

Compressus Inc will feature its MEDxConnect technology for seamless connectivity and interoperability among diagnostic acquisition devices, PACS, hospital information systems, RIS, and related information systems. In addition, Compressus will introduce a new solution to address workflows across disparate systems and databases. Work Tool Design provides unique filtering capabilities with configurable components driven via easy-to-use wizard, optimizing patient location, workflow requirements, and productivity. The solution also includes new report-editor capabilities for use with disparate voice-recognition/transcription databases.

Subspecialty Teleradiology Coast to Coast

Franklin & Seidelmann is a national full-service radiology provider offering final subspecialty and emergency-department reports. The practice’s clinically specific, detailed reports and consultative services enable clients to improve referring-physician satisfaction while optimizing radiologist staffing costs. Franklin & Seidelmann has a staff team of more than 100 radiologists licensed in all 50 states; areas of subspecialization include musculoskeletal, neuroradiological, body, cardiac, and emergency-department imaging and breast MRI. Franklin & Seidelmann uses a powerful in-house technology platform to distribute images and reports.

3D Visualization With PACS Integration

FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA, Inc, extends its Synapse product portfolio with an array of new imaging and informatics products and features, including Synapse 3D, Synapse communications, and enhancements for full-field digital mammography. Synapse 3D, which is currently awaiting FDA approval, fully integrates with Synapse PACS and offers more than a dozen modules: 2D, 3D, 4D, visual-ultrasound, liver-analysis, lung-analysis, coronary CT/MRI-analysis, and cardiac-fusion applications and more.

Spectral Imaging for Optimizing CT

GE Healthcare will feature its Gemstone spectral-imaging technology, which helps expedite and assist in accurate CT diagnosis by quantifying and separating the chemical composition of materials. Spectral imaging, available on the manufacturer’s Discovery CT750 HD scanner, can be leveraged to separate materials for closer evaluation (for example, assessing whether a lesion is being enhanced). Spectral images optimize low-contrast visualization for ideal image display, reduce beam-hardening artifacts, and promote the acquisition of accurate CT numbers for quantitative assessment.

Preliminary/Final Interpretations, Vacation Coverage, and More

Imaging On Call, LLC, is a full-service teleradiology provider with flexible service packages that include preliminary or final interpretations, overflow coverage, vacation coverage, breast MRI interpretation, and image processing and interpretation for coronary CT angiography. Imaging On Call’s board-certified, fellowship-trained radiology staff is skilled in all modalities and has subspecialty training in all areas.

Thin-client, Scalable Advanced Visualization

Visage Imaging Inc will introduce its new Visage 7 platform, which combines and extends the clinical toolsets from previous versions of Visage PACS and Visage CS. Visage 7 is fully scalable and can perform as an efficient thin-client, server-streaming layer on top of an existing RIS/PACS infrastructure or as a comprehensive turnkey solution for diagnostic imaging IT. Visage 7 will include the universal viewer, a single application for reading, processing, and reviewing every type of radiological exam on Windows or Macintosh computers.

Integrating Patient Study Data With PACS

MedRad will feature its Certegra informatics platform, a suite of products designed to allow evidence-based decision-making while optimizing workflow, facilitating compliance, and improving patient outcomes. Certegra products integrate patient/study information with clinical systems; automate record keeping; provide flexible access to more complete, accurate data; and personalize contrast-enhanced imaging. The Certegra ConnectPACS application integrates patients’ CT contrast-injection records with their associated clinical image sets in PACS to permit real-time retrospective image analysis.

Teleradiology From Overreading to Peer Review

ProScan Reading Services is a teleradiology provider offering services ranging from primary interpretation and overreading to vacation coverage and peer review. ProScan’s teleradiology services feature a collaborative approach with physicians and their medical staff, and the company’s board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists provide timely and accurate diagnostic interpretations.

PACS Three Ways

The array of RIS/PACS products from RamSoft, Inc, includes the company’s PowerServer PACS platforms, the PowerServer RIS/PACS, the RS1 RIS/PACS/billing solution, and Gateway Mammo Viewer. PowerServer PACS comes in three forms: the original Web-based image-management solution; TelePACS, which is designed to meet the needs of teleradiology-based practices; and Lite PACS, an entry-level Web-based PACS scaled to meet the needs of smaller imaging facilities.

Contrast Agents and RFID Management

Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals will feature an array of contrast agents for imaging, including contrast agents for MRI and CT, as well as a contrast-media management system based on a radiofrequency identification platform. The company continues to develop new contrast agents and is building a strong pipeline of PET tracers for subspecialty needs such as neuroimaging, oncology, and cardiovascular diseases.


Featured RSNA 2009 Sessions

Image-interpretation Session
Sunday, November 29, 4–6 pm
Moderated by George S. Bisset III, MD, this year, the popular image-interpretation session will feature transceivers enabling up to 1,500 attendees to vote for a diagnosis.

“Medical Myth Busters: Fact and Fables in Radiology”
Monday, November 30, 7–8 am

New Horizons Lecture
Monday, November 30, 1:30–2:45 pm
This year’s New Horizons Lecture, “Qualitative and Quantitative Ways of Understanding Clinical Images,” will be presented by Graeme Bydder, MB, ChB.

“Prostate MRI: Is There an Added Value in Clinical Management?”
Monday, November 30, 4:30–6 pm

“Asset Protection and Retirement Planning in the New (Stimulus?) Era”
Monday, November 30, 4:30–6:30 pm

Musculoskeletal Radiology Quiz Bowl
Wednesday, December 2, 4:30–6 pm

“Structured Reporting: How Much Structure Is Enough?”
Wednesday, December 2, 4:30–6 pm

“Advances in High-Speed MRI and CT: What Are the Tradeoffs?”
Thursday, December 3, 7–8 am

RSNA/American Association of Physicists in Medicine Symposium
Thursday, December 3, 1:30–3 pm
The topic of this year’s symposium will be “Advances in Quantitative Imaging: Linking the Phenome to the Genome.”

“Government Mandates and Regulations: Impact on Radiology and Facility Accreditation”
Thursday, December 3, 3–4 pm