Having just returned from the 100th Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), I continue to be amazed by its scale even after attending for nearly 20 years. The educational sessions offered, the vendors demonstrating their offerings, and the sheer magnitude of the opportunity to network with industry peers continue to impress.
Here are my 5 key takeaways from this year’s visit:
- Strong Educational Sessions. Meaningful Use is “Uniquely Gray” … I appreciated the session “Health IT Incentive Programs: Experience from Radiology Practices in Hospitals and Health Systems,” which presented a balanced view of how radiology practices should think about Meaningful Use. Each presenter offered their experiences, which were in stark contrast to the others. After a lively audience debate, the session validated that Meaningful Use for radiology practices isn’t black and white — each needs to consider their unique situation before deciding to move in that direction.
- Analytics continue as expected. Natural Language Processing (NLP) On the Rise … vRad continues to invest heavily in analytics solutions both internally, with analytics for operational and clinical insight, and externally by partnering with clients (radiology practices and hospitals alike). While I didn’t find anything new or compelling, I was encouraged to see a number of educational sessions and vendors focused on how NLP is important beyond just coding and billing. The insights that can be gleaned using NLP on a radiology report are endless — now imagine turning NLP lose on more than the current report (actively during dictation – think critical results, prior reports, other clinical documentation). I know Analytics and NLP will continue to be key discussion topics throughout 2015 – and in Chicago next year as well.
- The “Bloom is Off the VNA Rose” … I understand the value of integrating more than Radiology/DICOM imaging and appreciate the complete patient record approach. I was part of the Acuo Technologies acquisition by Perceptive Software that provided the first integrated VNA/ECM approach and brought all patient data and content forward, typically presented through the EMR. That said it has been two years now … shouldn’t we expect more? What about data sharing? What about approaching big data through the VNA/ECM solution? I’m pleased with the consolidation occurring within the image/data sharing space (Nuance/Accelerad, Perceptive/GNAX), but where will these larger players take it? What is the strategy? Big Data is only cutting its teeth at this point, but who better than a VNA/ECM/content management player to start thinking about what this means for healthcare? It isn’t just about data storage or retrieval; it should be about what does the data mean, and when can we begin to predict outcomes?
- Radiology and Pathology Finally Coming Together? Especially in the oncology space we still don’t have a good solution around how radiology and pathology results can be integrated. I was surprised to hear about how pathology solutions provided by traditional major radiology players are coming together. I was even more surprised to see the infamous PACSMan reference it in his AuntMinnie interview – http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=rca&sub=rsna_2014&pag=dis&ItemID=109569&wf=6302 (~ 4 minute mark. You may have to log in to view).
- RSNA Spans the Globe … RSNA has always been a good place to engage the international market, and this year was no different with a noted increase in international participants. As vRad looks to expand its offerings, the international market looks promising with a number of developed and underdeveloped teleradiology markets that could be well served by an international teleradiology player with vRad’s scale.
- Teleradiology/Telemedicine Workflow Solutions Appearing … (OK – so I had 6 observations) It was interesting to find new companies either introducing or driving harder toward specific teleradiology/telemedicine workflow solutions. Put the viewer and hardware/infrastructure aside for a moment and think solely about the complexity and requirements of being a national or international telemedicine provider (demand forecasting, capacity scheduling, clinical and operational workflow, financial/invoicing/compensation, reporting, etc.). This is clearly a market that will develop as the telemedicine space grows.
Bottom line: RSNA continues to impress. I was even astonished by innovative offerings from the larger players (especially around pathology).
However, I do continue to be disappointed by the attention given to federal programs/incentives (like Meaningful Use), plus the fact that organizations spend so much time focusing on specific financial models they think are in vogue. Why not listen to your clients and learn how they want to purchase and invest in solutions?
It is obvious healthcare IT still stands to learn more … listening is a good first step. Will go back in 2015 to listen some more.