RSNA 2014: Turning a corner

Did radiology turn a corner at the 100th meeting of RSNA? I think so.  For 10 years, imaging informaticists and PACS vendors have talked about the enterprise versus the departmental view, but this year it was in the booths and clearly in practice as many radiologists shared strategies for handling all of the imaging needs of the enterprise, including both DICOM and non-DICOM images (more about that next week).

I’ve been attending arcane sessions about RadLex for at least six years—that I only partially understood—in which volunteer radiologists described the painstaking work involved in developing a standard language for radiology. This year, RadLex found its first major practical application in the ACR Dose Index Repository (DIR), which consumes dose data from multiple scanners and institutions that use an absurd variety of names for the same procedure. The DIR has been given the capability to normalize the naming conventions to RadLex term so that it can report back to the participants where they stand against national benchmarks. As health systems demand a single level of service across multiple sites, a single language is a very welcome development.

RSNA’s Radlex committee is in the final stages of linking RadLex to the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, better known as LOINC, which is a database and universal standard for identifying medical laboratory observations. This is a development that will make the lexicon even more useful in the electronic gathering and exchange of clinical results.

Happy 10th anniversary, RadLex, happy 100th anniversary, RSNA—and many happy returns.

This year the enterprise, next year the world.

Cheryl Proval