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Getting prepared for the biggest event in imaging informatics

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 04, 2021
Health IT X-Ray
From the May 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: How long have you been a member of SIIM?
CR: Since around 2013 or 2014. In 2013 we went live with our electronic health record. I dabbled a little bit getting to know the society in 2012, but really in earnest trying to get myself involved in learning about the space in 2013 and 2014.

HCB News: And what attracted you to the society?

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CR: It was a few things. Healthcare is a big world. Best practice sharing is a big part of what I try to do and what I have to rely on to provide the best care for my patients. You get that through the annual meeting, through the publications, through the webinars. I remember going through my electronic healthcare records rollout and I was pretty adamant about trying to get information about how university X was doing it, because I knew they were doing a good job from what I was reading. Obviously the EHRs and imaging companies couldn’t tell me much because of IP reasons… and it’s not great to steal everyone’s secret sauce, but I wanted to learn and provide the best for my patients so I was pretty insistent. So SIIM was about the community of people sharing, “here’s how we do this,” and letting me hear what’s working to bring those ideas back to best take care of my patients.

HCB News: Who should consider joining the society?
CR: I mentioned healthcare is a big space. Imaging and informatics are big, complicated, messy parts of that big space. the people who should consider joining are those involved in imaging informatics in any form: clinical, industry, hospital system support, research and scientists. There are a few groups who we in SIIM believe should especially consider joining. Imaging subspecialties who aren’t as familiar with best practices of imaging — so dermatology, GI, ophthalmology, pathology, others — those are the specialties that I believe can learn a lot from the progress that’s been made and will find themselves in a community of people where we’re all trying to understand how to best care for patients. Electronic health records being ubiquitous and such a large part of day-to-day activities across those societies now, we would like to see more participation from the EHRs. There is a large imaging community outside North America who can connect with us more easily now than ever before. For me, the people I would like to reach out to are those imaging informatics professionals, those physicians, industry inventor product partners who can move the needle.

HCB News: Would you say there’s value for C-suite executives to be members?
CR: Whether anyone likes it or not, imaging is a big driver of the bottom line of the hospital in a fee-for-service positive way now. And as population-based payment capitation gains traction, if we’re all looking at number of covered lives in a catchment area as a part of our bottom line, imaging might be a negative pressure on the bottom line. So those people who are in healthcare leadership positions can really understand that big component of the bottom line when they are involved and they see some of the 30,000-feet things we’re doing. That this is to say nothing about the clear value of diagnostic and documentary imaging in the care of those patients. If nothing else, they would recognize the importance of it. They may not get into the weeds, but they may understand just enough to be able to drive strategy and implementation of their space.

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