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

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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