by Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | May 23, 2012
From the May 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Nearly 15 years ago, Dr. Raymond Geis, a radiologist, started attending The Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine’s conferences. He was a newbie who knew absolutely nothing about the society. Fast-forward to present day, he is now SIIM chair. Geis recently talked to DOTmed News about SIIM, how he came to hold his coveted position and his goals as incoming chair of the society.
DMBN: Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
I am a private practice radiologist with Advanced Medical Imaging Consultants, P.C. in Fort Collins, Colorado. We are a group of 30 radiologists, covering over 25 sites that range from large tertiary referral hospitals to multiple small hospitals and imaging sites over Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. I received my medical training at the University of Colorado and I have engineering degrees from Stanford and Carnegie Mellon.
DMBN: What has been the high point of your professional career to date?
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In the late ‘90s, I helped Poudre Valley Health System implement one of the first PACS and RIS systems in a community hospital. I also helped design and implement our own group’s imaging IT package, which now includes everything from PACS, RIS and report generation to a sophisticated coding and billing system. We like to think we improve medical care in the 400-mile region of nearby rural towns by being their own top-flight subspecialty radiologists. They get the same service the tertiary care hospitals get.
DMBN: How long have you been a member of SIIM and why did you become involved with the society?
I started attending SIIM in the late ‘90s, as a new guy who knew nothing about any of this stuff. Every expert in imaging IT goes to SIIM. But it’s a relaxed atmosphere where I could have access to those people. I started asking lots of questions. One thing led to another and now here I am -- chair of the whole thing. Now, I hope to help new people who come to me with questions. SIIM is a place where I can always find people with similar problems, and learn how they are dealing with them. It’s the only place I know where users and people from the industry let their hair down and talk about things outside of that buyer/seller relationship. Everyone can just work on learning from each other and solving problems.
DMBN: Are there initiatives you'll be pursuing during your time as chair?
Trying to get the organization and industry connected with the next generation of innovators is important to me. We see a number of young, smart radiologists or IT people who have gotten into imaging and they have great ideas. Young people show up with a laptop with some amazing workflow problem they have solved. The question is, how does that person with a great idea get from there to actually having a real product that people can use? We really hope to focus on that process. The other focus during my tenure is looking at how we can use IT and technology to improve workflow and efficiency, for radiologists, radiology departments and the enterprise as a whole.
DMBN: What is the biggest challenge SIIM members face in today's professional health care environment?
One of the biggest challenges is to teach CIOs and CEOs about the uniqueness of imaging IT, and to demonstrate how it’s worth investing resources to develop top-flight imaging informatics IT. That has a real payoff if it’s done right. I think there is a little bit of a sense at the C-level sometimes that imaging IT is done now and it’s just a “keep the lights on” thing. It’s not. It will help hospitals and health care enterprises to be much more efficient and profitable and provide better quality care. Another challenge is how to help SIIM members, many of whom work in imaging IT departments. We want to give them the skills to move up in the enterprise IT hierarchy. And finally, the third challenge is to learn how to promote innovation in imaging informatics to get it from the ideas stage to products used by people.