Five Things to Watch in 2013
By Jim Knaub
Here’s an abbreviated version of our “5 Things to Watch” article, which will be published in our January issue.
1. Changing the Relationship Between Radiologists and Patients
“I am as proud as I’ve ever been of our profession and all its wonderful clinical, [and] technical advances and diagnostic advances,” Bisset told his RSNA audience. “The two things we radiologists haven’t done very well as of late are anticipating and responding to the new patient-centered trends in healthcare. We’re behind and we need to catch up. Not only have we failed to give patients a sense of clinical control and engagement. We’ve gone a step further and left ourselves invisible to most of them. And this makes us vulnerable.”
Patient satisfaction remains something of a soft science, and radiologists often aren’t on the front line with patients. But it may prove very important in places with heavy competition for patients—and such places seem to be growing in number.
2. Radiologists and Competition
3. VNA 2.0
One interesting change is the evolution of the vendor-neutral archive (VNA). Just a few years ago, most of imaging discussed VNAs in terms of the DICOM-compliant system that would simplify PACS migration from one highly proprietary PACS to a more open storage archive that would ease future PACS migrations.
Vendors at this year’s meeting discussed VNAs as the software layer connecting the disparate digital information silos found in most hospitals so information can be delivered wherever it is needed in the organization. DICOM images, patient records, reports, non-DICOM images from dermatology and wound care, and digital fluorescein angiography images from ophthalmology are just some examples. This VNA layer serves to store information and connect it to the mushrooming numbers of data users—increasingly through EMRs. That’s what I loosely term “VNA 2.0.”
4. Acceptance of Healthcare Reform
While reimbursement reductions have changed radiology from the booming growth years of the early 2000s, many think that uncertainty over the future of healthcare reform had its own dampening effect on the industry (and the larger economy). A little more clarity might nudge things in a positive direction.
5. Appropriateness Criteria
— Jim Knaub is editor of Radiology Today.