by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | June 04, 2021
From the May 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
SIIM’s annual meeting is coming up on its second anniversary of navigating a worldwide pandemic.
The timing of shutdowns last time meant the organization was one of the earlier key societies to have to figure things out. One year later, the pandemic is still with us but SIIM has had a year to plan and evolve its offerings. HealthCare Business News spoke with Dr. Christopher Roth, associate professor of radiology, vice chair Information Technology and Clinical Informatics, director of Imaging Informatics Strategy at Duke Health and SIIM Annual Meeting committee chair to learn more about his background, the latest on the society and what to expect at this year’s meeting.
HealthCare Business News: What inspired you to go into a career in healthcare?
I was fortunate to play football in college and was on some really terrific football teams. I played at the University of Michigan. I had all the best healthcare available to me. We won the national championship in 1997, had two Big 10 championships — it was awesome, absolutely awesome. But I had a series of injuries — actually, my personal statement for radiology residency listed all my injuries — and I wound up seeing lots of my own imaging. Now, if you play football and go into healthcare, most players go into orthopedic surgery because that’s what they’re familiar with from all their injuries, but I took an interest in my own brain since I didn’t play my senior year of football at Michigan because of concussions. After getting my last concussion and they knew I was going to medical school, they said I was done. They took my equipment away from me.
HCB News: How many concussions did you end up with?
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It’s hard to know because people didn’t really track that stuff back then. It was a different era. Knowing what I know now, it’s at least five. Some worse than others. The second to last one, I was actually biking from practice to an organic chemistry exam and got hit on my bike — not wearing a helmet of course — by one of our academic advisors who was driving an F150.
The result of all of those injuries is that I wound up seeing not just a bunch of radiographic fractures, but my own brain on MR and CT. I chose radiology because of the fascination I had with the imaging.
The choice was beneficial because I got to see lots of patients at once and I felt like I could help lots of patients in a smaller period of time. I went into informatics because if I was trying to help as many people as I could, I realized quality improvement needed data. And data requires understanding to do good things with it.