What’s Hot at RSNA 09?

With day two of RSNA in full swing, the Everything Rad team has assembled a quick look at five topics that are getting a lot of attention at this year’s conference…

  1. Patient-centric radiology—Sunday’s opening session presenters, who typically set the tone for the week to come, stressed the importance of always performing radiology with the interests of the patient first and foremost in mind. This general mantra, which few would argue with, led to deeper discussions around quality, performance measurement and the impact that both high and low quality have from a health outcome and economic viewpoint. With quality of care, cost and medical imaging all playing a role in the broader U.S. health reform discussion, look for this theme to continue in 2010.
  2. U.S. Health Reform—Given the current U.S. healthcare debate and the impact it will have on anyone that has a stake in how American medicine is practiced, this one is a no-brainer. Hallway and booth conversations are buzzing with folks expressing concern, hope, speculation and general debate on the path forward. Given the global nature of RSNA, there are a lot of diverse viewpoints represented—always a good thing!
  3. Dose Management—From CT manufacturers talking about their new lower dose systems to educational offerings focusing on dose, this ongoing topic continues to be a key issue from a vendor, provider and patient point of view. And rightfully so, given the amount of dose most of us are subjected to over the course of our lifetimes.
  4. Communicating Critical Results—This important topic was once again brought to life Sunday in a mock jury trial held by the RSNA, questioning whether a radiologist who detects possible lung cancer on a patient’s X-ray and issues a written report noting the finding and recommending a CT scan has adequately fulfilled his responsibility. Is he obligated to verbally communicate the findings to the referring physician or the patient? For the mock trial results, go here.
    Further, a new study reported in today’s RSNA Daily Bulletin showed that an overwhelming majority of respondents from one prominent U.S. research facility found it difficult communicating critical findings in their environment—more work in this area is required.
  5. Twitter—From exhibitor/vendor tweets and live updates and Twitter contests from the RSNA organization itself to “tweetup” (in person meetings for Twitter users) queries from local hoteliers and ongoing #rsna09 posts that announce attendees’ real-time thoughts and locales, Twitter is “in” at this year’s RSNA.

If you’re attending the show, did we miss anything? And if you’re not attending, tell us what you think… same old same old or new and exciting?

Roll up your sleeves and… cut the Thanksgiving turkey? Nope, we are busy creating our RSNA booth!

It’s hard to believe we are now less than a week away from RSNA 2009! We couldn’t be more excited about our upcoming participation at this year’s gathering of all-things radiology. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the busiest weeks of the year for us—as we make final preparations for what we expect to be another fantastic RSNA.

To our customers, partners, friends/colleagues and everyone else traveling to the conference, we wish you all safe travels and look forward to connecting with you in Chicago. Please come visit with us at Booth 211, Hall D.

As those of us in the U.S. celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this week, we want to acknowledge the many individuals who are giving up their holiday to setup the RSNA exhibit hall.

A small army of workers is already on-site at McCormick Place, laying electrical cables, hauling boxes of gear and setting up equipment—transforming an empty, faceless space into a gleaming venue worthy of hosting one of the world’s largest medical conferences.

Approximately 20 Carestream staff members are hard at work right now—setting up our 80 x 160’ booth, laying more than 300 computer lines and building a diagnostic imaging department comparable to a 150-bed hospital… in FIVE days! Pulling this off, as you can imagine, is no easy feat. We have a global team with representatives from all over the world driving this effort.

To keep us posted on progress, the Everything Rad team will be submitting pictures of our booth coming together throughout the week. Here’s an early glimpse of what’s to come (click on the images for a larger view)…

Providers look to advanced RIS solutions to cope with changing radiology landscape

As evidenced by industry reports like this recent Health Imaging & IT survey, many providers plan to address challenges such as reimbursement rate decreases and patient and procedure volume increases by implementing a new RIS—one that will enable them to increase utilization of existing imaging equipment and personnel.

Advanced RIS solutions can also help providers manage, monitor and adapt their departmental processes—creating a streamlined workflow that improves staff productivity while delivering more accurate and timely reports to referring physicians. Faster reporting can improve referring physician satisfaction, leading to higher referral rates and additional revenue. Our RIS can integrate with existing systems—or we can provide a cohesive solution that includes voice recognition, critical results notification, peer review and other functions that marries exceptional productivity with ease of use.

New generation RIS solutions also deliver better management reporting tools that clearly identify information needed to analyze overall operations, including detailed data that measures overall efficiency of staff and resources. With the recent focus on equipment utilization rates, this will continue to provide tremendous value.

Will you be looking at new RIS capabilities at RSNA? What do you need to get out of your RIS to cope with the ever-changing medical imaging landscape?

More information on the new CARESTREAM RIS can be found on our website

– Joe Maune, Worldwide Manager, Digital Medical Solutions, Marketing Initiatives

Five reasons to visit Carestream Health at RSNA 2009

Every RSNA attendee faces the same challenge: there’s too much to see and not enough time. Everyone wants to experience the year’s most innovative and advanced new products. But inevitably, unless you can clone yourself, you’ll have to choose among RSNA’s vast array of 700+ exhibitors.

Here are five reasons you should come visit us at Booth 211 (Hall D):

  • U.S. debut of the DRX-Evolution, a fully automated DR suite that maximizes the positioning flexibility of the industry’s first cassette-size, wireless DR detector.
  • New DRX-mobile retrofit kit to install wireless cassette-sized detectors on customers’ existing portable units.
  • New RIS platform with innovative new features for schedulers, radiologists and managers that streamline workflow throughout the enterprise; and critical results reporting to help ensure the highest level of patient care.
  • Newest PACS that delivers unprecedented productivity gains, with a single user interface and access to all diagnostic tools from any onsite or remote workstation.
  • First opportunity to view our new CARESTREAM Cardiology PACS—providing a single integrated platform for diagnosis, image review and reporting for echocardiography, cardiac catheterization and nuclear cardiology procedures as well as electrocardiogram management.

You can also schedule a personal demo or request more information by clicking here.

What are you interested in seeing at this year’s RSNA? Please tell us how we can help!

– Jo Linder, Marketing | Carestream Health

Out-of-bucky and cross-table exams made easy (finally)

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CARESTREAM DRX-Evolution

One of the few limitations of DR technology has been the need to use CR cassettes for out-of-Bucky work and complex cross-table exams. Now a new DR system makes those requirements obsolete.

The fully automated CARESTREAM DRX-Evolution system delivers dynamic throughput with autopositioning and autocentering features with the use of a wall stand and/or table. Instead of a having a fixed DR detector, this solution offers a movable wireless cassette-sized DR detector that can be used anywhere within the room—in a wall stand, table or tabletop exams.

The advantages of this new system are particularly evident for trauma and orthopedic exams. Having the ability to position the detector where staff needs CR today is a thing of the past.  This not only boosts productivity but also improves image quality that one would expect from DR.

Does your staff need to use CR cassettes during some DR-based procedures? Where would a DR suite with a movable DR detector provide the greatest benefits at your facility?

David Chan, Product Line Manager, Digital Radiography | Carestream Health

Mammography Around the World: Guest Post from Dr. Richard Hirsh

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Dr. Richard Hirsh

Breast cancer is one of the greatest causes of cancer death among women in developing countries. As these countries progress with improved living and economic conditions, women’s health issues gradually assume increasing priority. There is a tremendous worldwide need for breast cancer education and awareness, as well as technical assistance in the form of donated mammography equipment and training.

Regardless of where you are in the world, breast cancer remains apolitical and nonpartisan. It knows no cultural, ethnic or religious boundaries. It respects nothing and no one. It’s an equal opportunity disease.

That’s why I founded Radiology Mammography International (RMI) in 1996, a non-profit organization with the mission of helping developing regions improve mammography education and obtaining needed equipment to achieve their goals. RMI is dedicated to supporting the mammography and breast cancer education needs of underserved regions all around the world through technical assistance, donations, and hands-on training.

We take a team of technologists, engineers, radiologists and women’s health educators on the missions. Our volunteers help underprivileged people in far-off lands, with our missions lasting two to three weeks. We do this because we know that mammograms save lives by detecting breast cancer early enough to treat it.

If you or any of your colleagues are interested in supporting our work, please visit our website at http://www.radiologymammography.org/ or leave a message on my voice mail at (330) 375-3567. 

– Dr. Richard Hirsh, Founder, Radiology Mammography International

Dr. Hirsh is also Radiologist, Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio and Assistant Professor of Radiology at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

Proposed CMS Utilization Rates: Shortsighted and Illogical

The flurry of attention and concern over decreased reimbursement intensified this past week with the recent CMS announcement calling for new Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rules that would raise the assumed utilization rate for outpatient services from 50 to 90 percent for imaging equipment with an initial purchase price of more than $1 million.

The specific impact on a center would depend on a number of factors including patient mix and imaging services offered. But as we all know, this change means lower reimbursement rates across modalities at these centers. Only an act of Congress can help us avoid what could be severe cuts in Medicare reimbursement starting in just a couple of months.

While we are 100 percent in support of sensible and fair use of medical imaging services, we believe that this is the wrong thing to do for the U.S. population. It goes against what health reform is supposed to be about: reducing costs long-term and improving access to care. We know that imaging leads to earlier diagnosis of disease and earlier treatment—often at a stage when treatment costs less and patients have better chances for improvement. It’s also inconsistent with the mandate for implementing EMR/EHR/IHE capabilities, an important step that requires capital and resources for integrating massive amounts of digital imaging data.    

Rather than cutting the legs out from underneath medical imaging facilities, the focus should be on improving productivity and reducing costs in a sustainable manner. That’s why we are working with our customers to create as lean a department as possible; one that gains and retains as many referrals as possible and provides efficient multi-site reading architectures—driving profitability and great patient care.

As we’re gearing up for RSNA, it’s important to consider that for attendees, decreased reimbursement rates are certainly going to be top of mind. Despite the economic situation and changing reimbursement landscape in the U.S., demand for healthcare services remains strong worldwide. And that is a critical factor in this whole equation. If healthcare facilities streamline processes, operations can remain healthy—as can the patients we serve.

– Diana Nole, President, Digital Medical Solutions

Examining a Weak Link in Radiology Reading: Lack of Patient Data

Guest Post: Dr. Roger Eng, MD, MPH; Chief of Radiology; Chinese Hospital, San Francisco

When it comes to the radiology reading, one of the weakest links is the lack of access to patient information. To provide an accurate read, radiologists should have patient information as well as current and prior imaging studies. As a radiologist, the typical patient clinical information I receive is a three-word description—and sometimes not even that.

Integration of data and imaging systems is the key to delivering access to patient information. RIS and PACS are now more tightly integrated than ever before and other information systems need to be integrated as well. Vendors are working to embrace industry standards and dissolve these silos of information. Carestream Health, for example, delivers centralized storage and viewing of non-DICOM and DICOM data to expedite access.

Existing PACS systems need to be able to interface with not just RIS, but also HIS, EMR and departmental systems (such as pathology, lab and others) that contain patient data.

As the U.S. discusses moving toward greater sharing of patient healthcare records on a regional and national basis, it is essential that we start with the ability to access data that is stored within a local healthcare institutions and the providers its serves. Then we can extend access across a broader group of healthcare providers and users.

Are radiologists at your institution getting access to pertinent patient information as they are reading exams? What systems have you linked together to deliver patient information? And how easy is it for radiologists to get to the data?

If you are a radiologist, do you feel comfortable with the patient data you currently have available?

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Dr. Eng, Chinese Hospital, San Francisco, CA