by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | May 01, 2012
From the May 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
For the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine, 2012 is a special year. It’s the 30th anniversary of one of the foundational events in the history of picture archiving and communications systems: a 1982 meeting in Los Angeles that drew together radiologists, computer scientists and engineers and helped lay the groundwork for the standards image-sharing technology uses today.
But PACS has come a long way since then. And at SIIM’s annual meeting scheduled to be held in Orlando June 7-10, the society says it’s looking to the future, both at the new technologies coming up and at ways to nurture the careers of young informaticists who are just starting out.
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As at meetings past, the society will honor Samuel J. Dwyer, III, an engineer and PACS pioneer who helped organize that LA conference 30 years ago, with a lecture presented in his memory. For this year’s Dwyer Lecture, his colleague Dr. Eliot Siegel, a PACS pioneer in his own right, will talk about the work he’s doing at University of Maryland on the next generation of computing in radiology: the creation of an AI “radiology fellow” powered by the technology behind IBM’s “Jeopardy”-playing Watson.
“Dr. Siegel is a one of a kind thought leader and educator, and it should be a very outstanding lecture,” Anna Marie Mason, SIIM’s executive director, told DOTmed News.
Startups and beyond
The society is also hoping to cultivate new technologies by extending a few programs it introduced in 2011. Last year, SIIM ran a contest to recognize the best five IT projects of young informatics entrepreneurs. The contest is back this year, Mason said, with a bonus — the winners all receive scholarships to attend the conference and share their ideas in a hot topic session.
“We saw that we needed to give more recognition to the people with winning projects, to give them the opportunity to present their work,” she said.
According to Mason, the contest is one part of a two-pronged strategy to recognize and encourage innovators. New this year in the SIIM exhibit hall is SIIM’s other big push, Innovators Alley, meant for entrepreneurs a little further along in the process of turning concepts into business realities. In this, SIIM provides some floor space at the show to very early-stage startups looking to drum up enthusiasm (and potential funding) for their imaging informatics innovations.
In addition to encouraging technologies, SIIM says it’s working on developing human capital, too. The annual meeting opens, in fact, with a general session on the “Power of the CIIP,” a discussion panel of CIIP experts who will talk about the role and influence of Certified Imaging Informatics Professionals, or CIIPs (pronounced “sips”). “It focuses on how CIIPs are becoming an integral part of the imaging team, and how they are solving critical issues facing facilities providing medical imaging services,” Mason said.
SIIM helped create the CIIP certification several years ago, and 767 CIIPs have been certified by the American Board of Imaging Informatics (ABII) since the first test was administered in fall 2007, Mason said. She said SIIM is continuing its support for professional and educational development within the profession, and also organizes a “boot camp” as a preconference course for informaticists who are studying for their CIIP exams or just wanting to learn the fundamentals.
Keeping with both its career-development aims and its promotion of young talent, SIIM is closing with a roundtable on the future leaders of the profession: millennials. As with many generational terms, the boundaries vary, but in general, people born in the mid-70s or later are considered to fall into this group, also sometimes called Generation Y. “You’re going to hear people like Dr. Siegel who can predict the future very well and who have done tremendous things,” Mason said. “But there will also be a chance to hear from ‘the rising stars’ with a new vision using the newer media of their generation to communicate future directions in imaging informatics.”