Medical Imaging Review

I love being a neuroradiologist and helping patients. I’ve always loved it. But there are downsides to the work as well. The stress levels might be high, you can feel isolated or restricted and your work list may control everything you do—it’s no wonder burnout is so high in our profession these days.

As far back as my undergraduate years, I knew I wanted to work in a field that combined medicine with computer science. I actually had a professor who told me that was a silly combination. He said there’d never be a real-world need for it. How wrong he was—and how fortunate I am to now work for a radiology practice whose hallmark is its enthusiastic embrace of IT and imaging informatics.

Imad Nijim, chief information officer of MEDNAX Radiology Solutions and Virtual Radiologic (vRad), has been in medical imaging and informatics for more than 18 years. He’s seen a lot during that time, but nothing quite as groundbreaking or exciting as the artificial intelligence (AI) currently being developed by researchers all over the world. Nijim spoke with Radiology Business about MEDNAX Radiology Solutions’ plans for AI, what he sees in the industry today, and the company’s big plans for RSNA 2018.

A little more than a year ago, I left my full partnership position at a successful radiology practice for a teleradiology job with vRad, a MEDNAX company. I was a bit nervous making such a life-changing decision, but I knew I needed a change. Partnership had been a life goal since med school, but now I had different priorities. I had kids, new interests. Making the move allowed me to focus more on me and my family while still doing the work that I love.

If a mad scientist were to meld the mind of a passionate teaching radiologist with that of an especially acquisitive museum curator, the result would surely be someone very much like Benjamin W. Strong, MD.

When Merritt Hawkins published its 2018 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, it contained some exciting news for radiologists: after a rough few years earlier this decade, the radiology job market has climbed back with a vengeance.

In a California emergency room, a trauma patient in critical condition is wheeled in following a motorcycle accident. In Texas, a patient presenting with stroke-like symptoms is brought into the hospital by frantic family members.

To meet the latest guidelines on promptness from the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA), providers must image suspected stroke patients within 20 minutes of their arrival. For a brain deprived of oxygen by a blood clot, every second counts.

Medical historians may one day look back on 2018 as the year having a stroke stopped bringing an inescapably bleak prognosis to victims who went a while before noticing the symptoms.

The Miami Cancer Institute (MCI) started nearly 10 years ago as a collection of widely distributed service lines without an identifiable physical presence. The idea was to bring together local and regional cancer experts from every medical discipline and every support service. The vision was mass collaboration around providing world-class cancer care to patients from across the Southeastern U.S. as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.

Natural language processing (NLP)—the concept of training computer programs to extract specific content from words and phrases—has existed in one form or another since the 1950s, but its potential to impact radiology has only been brought into focus in recent years. Vendors all over the world, including vRad, a MEDNAX company, are working around the clock to see just how much NLP can do to revolutionize healthcare—and they are finding that it can do quite a lot.

Today’s radiology leaders face a significant number of challenges, including complex reimbursement policies, evolving technologies, and increasing demands for 24/7 subspecialty care. MEDNAX Radiology Solutions hosted a webinar on Feb. 21, 2018, that focused on these challenges and what leaders can do to ensure their practices thrive in today’s growing, competitive marketplace.