IT Matters – A banner year for health IT education
June 05, 2015
by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor
Health IT has many major challenges ahead. From integrating PACS to perform above and beyond its originally intended level, to dealing with employee-owned devices being utilized in the workplace, to the looming ICD-10 deadline that can’t be kicked down the road forever, health IT professionals have their plates full. Fortunately, for every problem, professionals are finding answers and the professionals within the health IT community are increasingly open to sharing those answers with their peers. One of the more popular ways to exchange information is to attend conferences.
With spring finally here, the show and conference season is starting to pick up. HealthCare Business News spoke with Dr. David Hirschorn, one of the leading voices in health informatics, about some of the big events taking place over the next few months. The first, ACR 2015, takes place in Washington D.C., starts on May 17 and runs through May 21.
ACR has presented an annual meeting for nearly half a century. According to Hirschorn, this year marks the first year that there will be a “knowledge pathway” or educational track, dedicated to informatics and innovation. Hirschorn, who co-chaired the group that developed the educational tracks for informatics, is excited about the offerings.
Attendees will have the chance to learn more about the potential impact mobile apps will have on radiology and will also learn about FDA regulations that continue to shape the future of those mobile apps.
Another offering deals with social media and how it can be used to advance medical imaging efforts. Other educational track offerings include a section on optimizing electronic health records to improve patient care; image sharing and data management; clinical decision support; sections on dose reduction/control; teleradiology; and personalized medicine.
On the final day of the conference, the informatics and innovation educational track wraps with a topic that Hirschorn has been delving into quite extensively — clinical test result management. According to Hirschorn, clinical test result management requires non-routine communication between the radiologist and physician of record for the patient — such as in-person meetings and phone calls.
Just a week later, the IT offerings get ramped up from one learning path to the whole focus of the conference when the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine presents its annual meeting at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The show, taking place from May 28 through the 30, is carrying the theme, “Creating the Image Enabled Enterprise.” With more than two decades of history, PACS’ place in the future of health care has received more attention in recent years. Some predict PACS will be replaced by something quite different, while others anticipate updates and adjustments to make it play nice with the numerous information sources today’s hospitals have to manage. That’s why this year’s SIIM opening general session presenter Donald K. Dennison, of the consulting firm Don K. Dennison Solutions, Inc., will likely give attendees quite a lot to consider when he gives his talk, “The Next Imaging Evolution: A World Without PACS (as we know it).”
During his presentation, Dennison will explore how some of the components of the picture archiving and the communications components that make up PACS are starting to be picked up by other applications, with for example, EMR systems taking some of those roles over. With those changes to the actual systems also comes a change to some of the long-standing processes within the hospital, with radiologists no longer the gatekeepers of all the related information.
Attendees will learn why the change is occurring and how to best prepare for the future. Immediately following the opening presentation, a town hall-style discussion will take place where attendees will learn more about the future of PACS during the presentation, “Surviving (and Thriving) in a World without PACS.”
While Dennison’s talks will help to set the mood for the show, in all, there are more than 60 educational offerings and events to choose from during the show, meaning IT professionals should find topics of interest no matter what they’re looking to learn about. Another event to mark on your calendar (or in your smart phone) is the NYC Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium happening in New York in September. Hirschorn has put together the symposium for the last five years and already has a number of well-respected presenters lined up, the likes of which included Dr. Eliot Siegel and Dr. Keith Dreyer. Hirschorn has worked with other luminaries in the field to present the latest in imaging informatics, helping to keep participants educated and able to handle the fast-moving changes in health IT today.