Announcing the winners of Radiology Business Journal’s 3rd annual Imaging Innovation Awards

After sorting through dozens of entries, Radiology Business Journal named five winners as part of its third annual Imaging Innovation Awards on Wednesday.

A panel of judges started with nearly 30 qualifying entries—up from the 17 in the inaugural competition—and used a simple comparison-scoring system to reach the final field. With RSNA 2020 taking place over the web in December, RBJ is dropping trophies in the mail this week. The magazine also will publish the winning entries in an upcoming digital issue.

“This year all our winning entries are based in clinical care or research, but all suggest positive ripple effects on the other aspects of radiology practice, including business considerations,” editor Dave Pearson said during a Zoom ceremony with the winners, more than 70 attendees and sponsor Intelerad. “Our judging process, once again, separated the exceptional from the merely excellent.”

Here's a quick rundown of the honorees:

Department of Radiology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio: Determining Departmental Staffing and Resource Utilization During COVID-19. The project team created a calculator right in Microsoft Excel that allows leaders to input region-specific info on the prevalence of COVID-19, including census, practice patterns and resource utilization. The goal was to create a local decision-making tool to help guide the organization in the deployment of scarce resources amid the pandemic. Though the program was designed with an imaging department in mind, Nationwide Children’s made the tool customizable for other clinical departments.  

Duke Health Department of Radiology, Durham, North Carolinia: Closing the Loop on Unexpected Findings: Improving Communication to Ensure Appropriate Follow-up. Duke University Health System devised an EHR-based program utilizing dedicated radiology patient navigators—all with backgrounds in medical imaging—to shepherd patients through follow-up exams and procedures. The navigators also spearhead communications with referring clinicians to ensure continuity of care. 

McGovern Medical School at U Texas Health/Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston: The Center for Advanced Imaging Processing. This winning team successfully conceived of, planned and built a centralized operation to supply post-processing of advanced imaging for the entire health system. CAIP was created from a need to enhance patient care while increasing tech availability and imaging quality through innovation. To date, the center has cut the cost of using and maintaining imaging software by 50%, saving the health system around $2 million a year.

Penn Medicine Department of Radiology, Philadelphia: Linking Abdominal Imaging Traits to EHR Phenotypes. Penn leaders developed a deep learning algorithm that automatically extracts a dozen or so quantitative imaging traits from abdominal CT to, among other things, tie fatty liver with genetic markers for driving translational research as well as precision medicine. The team was able to train the algorithm in the cloud but made it adaptable for clinical workflows without requiring a sizable investment in cloud computing or new hardware.

University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia: Patient-Oriented Radiology Reporter. These awardees designed an EHR-integrated system for making radiology reports readable by patients who access them through a patient portal. Thanks to the effort, patients at varying levels of health literacy can understand their clinical findings as well as the role of radiologists in healthcare. All told, Penn compiled a glossary of 14,000 words and phrases and made sure to render the definitions accessible at an eighth grade reading level or lower.

Awards organizers say they hope to return to in-person presentations at RSNA 2021 with the 4th Annual Imaging Innovation Awards. Watch this website and its e-newsletter for the call for entries, coming soon. You can watch a video recording of this year's presentation here