February 19, 2016

Informatics Expands Radiology Horizons at ACR 2016

Through 10 precisely targeted sessions, the “Informatics and Innovation” educational pathway at ACR 2016 will help radiologists learn and engage with rapidly evolving technological innovations that are advancing their practices and addressing their professional needs.

“The educational pathway for informatics was drawn in a broad stroke,” noted Planning Committee co-chair William W. Boonn, MD, “to allow members to engage in the many ways informatics and information technology are relevant to radiology.”

“Radiologists need to be active participants in discussions surrounding clinical decision support, electronic medical records interactions, mobile communications, actionable findings communication and CT lung cancer screening,” Boonn said. “New technologies, such as machine learning and big data, could present both challenges and opportunities for how radiologists practice.”

“In addition, radiology practices must be proactive in demonstrating their value by using business intelligence and data mining technologies in practice management and quality improvement.” Boonn added.

“We are faced with increasing demands to demonstrate radiology’s value in health care,” Boonn said. “Appropriate use of quality and productivity metrics combined with leadership and effective communications can bolster radiology’s value proposition by improving patient outcomes while reducing costs.”

A Tuesday morning session entitled “Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Big Data and Data Science in Radiology” will give radiologists a glimpse of how these powerful technologies could revolutionize radiology. Boonn noted there is some apprehension and uncertainty about what machine learning and big data might bring to our specialty. This session, led by Keith Dreyer, DO, PhD, FACR, chair of the ACR Informatics Commission, will aim at uncovering where these technologies are today, where they are heading in the future and, most importantly, what challenges and opportunities they pose for radiology.

Planning Committee co-chair David S. Hirschorn, MD, highlighted a Tuesday afternoon session on “Implementing Clinical Decision Support: Opportunities and Challenges.” It will emphasize the role radiologists will play in optimizing imaging clinical decision support systems. Their involvement is critical, according to Hirschorn, in those instances when referring clinicians ask why the decision support system is telling them the imaging exam they ordered in not the best test.

“To get an answer, they need to click on something that connects them with a subspecialty-trained radiologist who is best qualified to offer an explanation,” he said.

Although many ordering physicians will soon use ACR Select software for imaging clinical decision support, radiologists will learn at ACR 2016 that ACR Assist could become the next big thing to help them improve their reporting accuracy and consistency. Currently in development, ACR Assist will work with the radiologist’s voice-activated dictation system to input anatomical measurements into standard algorithms to assess pulmonary nodules and guide the radiologist’s recommendations for other potentially life-threatening conditions. It also promises to improve productivity by downloading relevant medical history and demographics from the patient’s electronic medical record.

“During Thursday’s session on “Optimizing Your Electronic Medical Record and Mobile Technology,” radiologists will learn how to use cell phones to schedule appointments and provide pre-exam instructions that increase patient compliance and reduce no-show rates,” Hirschorn said. Secure ways to communicate image results and to answer patient questions over cell phones will also be discussed.

Informatics and Innovation is one of nine education pathways available to ACR members and radiologists-in-training at ACR 2016. Visit the ACR website to register.