The Future of Diagnostic Imaging: Radiology Roundup


The Future of Diagnostic ImagingAs we look forward to this year’s RSNA Annual meeting, we’re eager to learn how the radiology industry might evolve over the next 100 years.

To help radiologists demonstrate value, deal with the inevitability of machine-diagnosis, and move into healthcare leadership positions, we’ve rolled up the following 10 articles that are packed with expert vision on the future of diagnostic imaging.

We’ll start with an article featuring the RSNA President himself, Dr. Ronald Arenson, who poses a distinct challenge to radiologists.

#1 RSNA 2015 Opens with Spotlight on Technology

In this brief article, author Eric Barnes tells us Arenson wants radiologists to better communicate their value to policymakers, patients, and physicians. In a medical industry that is swiftly moving toward value-based reimbursement, demonstrating value is only becoming increasingly crucial.

Arenson will open this year’s RSNA event with a discussion on the imaging technologies that can drive this value-based transition.

#2 Look Ahead: Informatics – The Future is Almost Here

Dr. Adam E. Flanders offers a look at how informatics can provide context within ever-increasing streams of medical imaging data. While big data is not inclusive to medicine, practices like informatics aim to use that data to create new knowledge.

Flanders argues radiologists are at the center of this evolving diagnostic process, and are capable of combining the image interpretation process from a single PACS with the larger collection of pre-modeled data for more accurate diagnoses.

#3 Juvenile Arthritis: Current Treatment and Future Advances

Dr. John MacKenzie, Chief of Radiology at UCSF Mission Bay Medical Center, provides insight into new advances in imaging techniques for arthritis diagnoses, stemming from new PET/MRI research. MacKenzie notes the goal is to collect all necessary information with the lowest radiation exposure possible, so accurate diagnosis is essential for juvenile and rheumatoid arthritis patients. 

According to MacKenzie, the UCSF’s PET/MRI research trials are seeking to better understand the functions of arthritis, and effectively identify the activity within a child’s immune system. Better diagnoses in these areas can lead to more successful treatments going forward.

#4 Metrics for Radiologists in the Era of Value-based Health Care Delivery

Data will drive the future for radiology imaging, which means radiologists must consolidate their varied metric collection processes to focus on value. This recent report from Drs. Ammar Sarwar, Giles Boland, Jonathan B. Kruskal, and Annamarie Monks, MS, aims to provide metrics radiologists can use to better demonstrate their value in a data-driven environment.

#5 Future Shock: Challenges Facing U.S. Radiology

In this article, Dr. Frank J. Lexa offers tips for radiologists who struggle to transition from fee-for-service to value-based payment systems. To help, he discusses the holistic analysis of radiology’s contributions to the health care institution itself.

According to Lexa, radiologists should not only address preexisting external factors, but must also tie radiological contributions to “actionable elements of the imaging process,” lest they remain stuck in a volume-based payment structures.

#6 The Future-Proof Radiologist

How can radiologists best prepare themselves for emerging challenges? Liza Haar looks for the answer in this article, featuring Dr. Nicola H. Strickland of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London.

Strickland argues radiologists should serve as consultants to other care providers within a health enterprise, and should capitalize on future industry focuses: technology, globalizations, patient knowledge, and costs.

While a consultant radiologist can’t necessarily predict the future, she recommends they become more proactive through the use of imaging modalities, contrast media, and interventional radiology devices.

#7 Innovation, Value and Quantitation in a Patient-Centric Radiology Environment: A Discussion on the Future of Radiology

Mary Beth Massat examines ways radiologists can increase their visibility in a transition from volume- to value-based care. According to the insights Massat provides from Dr. Spencer Behr, Assistant Professor at UCSF Medical Center, the best course for radiologists involves combining technology with better relationship-building practices.

Behr notes while radiologists can’t rely on technology alone, they can leverage new tools to create more opportunities to communicate with patients. Building those relationships, he feels, will demonstrate greater value to patient care than the use of any individual tool. 

#8 Patient Pathways and Better Outcomes: The Future of Radiology

According to this article by Mary Tierney, Dr. Giorgios Karas, neuroradiologist and head of the department of radiology at St. Lucas-Andreas Hospital in Amsterdam, feels being “reporters of images” is no longer enough for modern radiologists.

Rather, Karas argues for the emergence of “care integrators,” who interact more frequently with patients and offer suggestions for care. He understands such a change won’t happen instantaneously, but will reward those who move toward being clinicians over reporters. 

#9 One Radiology Leader’s Perspectives on MU, the IT Market, and Radiology’s Future

Co-Owner and CEO at Regional Medical Imaging Dr. Randy Hicks says the medical industry is juggling ownership of medical data, as cited in this article by Mark Hagland. While the government will eventually read and evaluate the data, ownership and execution questions are still to be determined.

Hicks poses questions about how to sort data and its ownership, and subsequently argues the industry will see more “homogeneity of care delivery.” This, he says, will ultimately improve care for patients.

#10 Radiology’s Future: ‘Whoever Has the Best Data Wins’

With enough effort, radiological influence can be felt across the entire healthcare organization – right up to the C-suite level. Susan D. Hall, freelance writer at FierceHealthIT, contends that radiologists should aim for senior leadership positions to help foster efficient quality in radiology departments.

Now that you’ve read what other experts are saying, what does the future of radiology look like to you? Pose your own critical questions below, and share thoughts about how we can move forward together.

Learn more about the future of diagnostic imaging by subscribing to the Medical Imaging Talk blog. If you make it to Chicago for RSNA this year, be sure to stop by our booth (1135) in the South Hall. See you there!

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