Outlook: mHealth Apps, Advances in X-ray & Expanded Role for Radiology
Reading Time: 4 minutes read
Radiology journalist says new developments will support goals of improved accuracy and reduced risks.
Miguel Ángel de la Cámara is one of the most active Spanish journalists in the field of radiology. With a goal of constantly increasing knowledge in radiology between professionals and patients, he combines his daily work as a radiology technician at Talarrubias Hospital (Extremadura Health Service) with his curiosity as a multi-skilled reporter. His work has distinguished him as one of the top influencers in healthcare in Spain . Everything Rad asked his opinion about the 33rd Congress of the Spanish Radiology Society held in Bilbao and the future of radiology.
What would you highlight at the Bilbao Congress from the viewpoint of professional radiology?
I think some important developments are emerging, such as the collaborative construction of knowledge. In radiology, everything is connected. Although radiology reports are the main value, we’re also creating value in many processes that were previously not so visible, such as the security culture or complex post-processing. I think we’re going far beyond radiology reports, although we’re forgetting, for example, about the enormous amount of radiology activity within primary care. Radiology is not only used in hospitals.
Do you think we have taken steps toward working together in a multidisciplinary way?
Yes. For example, this is the first time there’s been a program for graduates and technicians. It has opened the door to building a partnership where, as in the European Congress or the Société Française de Radiologie, technicians are present in the radiologists’ program and vice versa.
Are we in a process of “humanizing” radiology? What does this process mean for radiologists, technicians and patients?
Personally, for 2 years I’ve been researching and analyzing how to modify the experiences roadmap of patients in radiology. I’m convinced that patients will appreciate that medical radiology teams help them to reduce the huge uncertainties that medical imaging tests cause them.
In addition to including atmosphere experience projects (decoration), and messages or technologies for prior immersion (information before testing), there’s still a problem relating to knowledge about preparation, comfort and even the success of our tests. Patients are not clear why ‘similar’ tests are performed. Can we imagine that a pharmacy would give a patient pills that are ‘almost’ the same without explaining the reason? In this sense, immersion in mHealth (everything related to the use of apps and mobile devices) or websites and applications with immersive content (virtual reality or augmented reality) are tools that will give a new flow of useful information for radiology patients.
As a technician, what advantages do you see in the process of digitizing X-ray equipment?
The first surprise I’ve had in the past year is the inclusion of equivalent estimated dose data in the viewfinder of the new portable Carestream device, detected by the flat panel. This reflects the fact that the industry has already drawn its integral curve in adapting to the impending Euratom European directive in 2018. Digitization equipment for radiography, mammography and other two-dimensional tests will have to incorporate not only the exposure rates but also the equivalent dose data, but also some alerts on the dose indicator that quantify an anomaly in the technology used. In this sense, direct or indirect digitization will give us immediate benefits that I’m already investigating.
How will the trends develop in radiology?
It’s desirable for the industry to continue providing technological certainties in image quality, while also incorporating necessary new parameters, such as data analysis. Radiology Information Systems (RIS) fall outside the context of “big data” and resources for the requesting physician that include decision support systems for the prescribing of tests.
It’s now a fact that the trend will move in line with two areas of need: accuracy and risks. Everything we do in medical radiology demands improved accuracy, increased diagnostic capability and reduced risks in a way that’s individualized for each patient. Support and solutions such as CAD, hybridization, fusion or resources to improve operator and radiologist ergonomics and patient comfort are also incorporated. If you can work better and more comfortably, you have less risk of making mistakes.
What else would you highlight from the Congress?
What I liked about the SERAM Congress was the enthusiastic participation of many residents; the innovative inclusion of the radiology cloud; and the Twitter meeting where radiologists, technicians and industry people shared ideas and talked about the connectivity and reputation that we can bring to social networks. Since then, much more #radiology is flowing between us.
Miguel Ángel de la Cámara is a radiology technician; and health/ehealth technologies and radiology journalist