Three Trends to Keep in Mind as You’re Sampling the RSNA ’12 Buffet
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RSNA is like an all-you-can-eat buffet – you think you can handle an enormous amount, but you end up running out of time and appetite. After a couple of days of educational sessions and new product demos on the show floor, you’re pooped and eager to hop on the plane back home.
But it’s important to leave room in the week to assess fast-growing trends and issues, so you can do some short-and long-range planning. What appears like a frill now may soon become a main part of medicine. Here are three trends that will have a major impact on radiology and healthcare in general:
Everything, it seems, is going mobile, and the prime agents for this trend are smart phones and tablets. All computerized applications can now be accessed through high-powered mobile devices and high-speed networks. Radiologists may have shrugged off the phones as being too small for meaningful viewing of images. But screens are getting better – just look at the high-res Retina screens on the new iPhones and iPads. And this fall, Apple and many other companies are coming out with smaller tablets that are more portable than iPads. (In Apple’s case, it the iPad mini. Samsung, Microsoft and others are producing their own devices.)
Even if radiologists aren’t going to use them, many other physicians are. They will be reviewing diagnostic images on these devices, and in some cases, viewing the image at the point of care while the rad explains his or her diagnosis. It only makes sense to see what’s going to hit the medical world, as many new software apps are appearing for the mobile devices each week.
With so much computer data being created, security and privacy have become big issues. News came out of the UK recently that 1.8 million patient records were lost in a one year period! And in the United States, more than 500 data breaches have been confirmed since 2009. In Canada, three class action suits were launched this year against health authorities in the province of Newfoundland by patients whose records were examined by caregivers without authorization. There are repercussions when security breaches happen, and it’s important to ensure that your data is secure, and that the right people have access to it.
We’ve been hearing about the move to patient-centred care for some time. Much of it seems to have been rhetoric spouted by the marketing departments of hospitals. But now we’re seeing doctors themselves criticizing the healthcare sector for not paying enough attention to patients – to their rights to make treatment decisions, their desires for convenience and quality, and their demands for access to their own records. This is coming to fore in many ways. Systems that make healthcare easier and more convenient for the patients are appearing, such as self-scheduling systems. And increasingly, hospitals are sharing their records and images with patients through the creation of personal health records (PHR) systems.
These are all fast moving trends making their way into the software and systems that physicians are using, or will soon use. Check for them as you’re grazing at the RSNA’s smorgasbord.
Jerry Zeidenberg is Publisher and Editor of Canadian Healthcare Technology, based in Toronto, Canada. www.canhealth.com