Live from Chicago, RSNA is in Full Swing!

Sunday morning, I had the honor to address the 101st Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, also known as RSNA 2015.

My talk was about how we must continue radiology’s legacy of innovation. After all, radiology is arguably the field of medicine most committed to, in fact nearly completely founded on, technological innovation. It is gratifying to review recent tech advances in radiology:

  • We use HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) to target and destroy malignancies.
  • We are getting very close to dramatic breakthroughs with steerable catheters under MR guidance.
  • And we now use hyperpolarized C13, an MR-visible contrast agent that allows us to image metabolism in vivo and in real time, increasing the contrast sensitivity with MRI by a factor up to 100,000 times current agents.

Despite the critical role of innovation in our field, there are forces working against technological advancements. This is because, globally, we face more pressure to do more with less-- especially do more in less time and with fewer human resources. We also face significant imaging storage, retrieval, and transmission requirements. Further, we confront our profession’s marginalization as medicine becomes more team-oriented. Under normal circumstances, team orientation is a positive force for radiology. On the other hand, our field could face real risks of becoming merely a service provided to teams, rather than radiologists becoming integrated team members.

What can we do to make sure radiology innovates on all fronts in the next 100 years-- and beyond?

  • Don’t stop being open to technological change. New innovations are coming rapidly. Embrace them in your clinical practice, your research and your classrooms. While we certainly have a lot to be proud of, we cannot rest on our laurels. Continue to consider and learn more about how we can reduce radiation for patients and practitioners.
  • And while technology is certainly a marvel, reaffirm your commitment to being “patient-centric”  Don’t become so enamored by technology that you, as a practitioner, forget the essential human connection. Visit the RSNA Radiology Cares site for practical resources on providing great patient experiences.
  • Encourage your institution to participate in new programs like RSNA Image Share and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise. These projects are devoted to advancing and facilitating medicine’s use of new technologies.
  • To vastly advance radiology’s role in clinical trials and practice, please consider becoming active in RSNA’s Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance.

I will say it again-- it has been a great honor, one of the greatest of my life, to serve RSNA during its 100th year. I’m now looking forward to the next several days of seeing first-hand what our colleagues and our partners have learned in the last year and are planning going forward.

We are sure to have so much going on in the next few days. Please refer to our blog for a regularly updated list of events involving your UCSF colleagues. I encourage you to capture ideas and images and broadcast them on our social networks with the tags @ucsfimaging and #rsna15.


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