What to expect at RSNA 2013

November 20, 2013
by Carol Ko, Staff Writer
The 99th Annual Radiological Society of North America’s Annual Meeting of 2013 takes place December 1-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and more than 50,000 attendees are expected.

The theme of this year’s meeting, “The Power of Partnership,” speaks to the profession’s need for increased teamwork to tackle challenges brought on by changes in health care. This means developing partnerships within radiology, between departments outside of radiology, and with patients. And as RSNA continues to draw an increasingly international audience, the organization expects to put more emphasis on global partnerships as well.

In accordance with this theme, RSNA sought to broaden its reach beyond a scientific audience by selecting former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice as the keynote speaker this year. Rice will deliver a speech about using education and leadership to tackle current challenges in health care. Rice is currently the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Graduate School of Business and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Other lectures offered at RSNA this year include Imaging in Partnership: With Physics and Quantitative Medicine by Dr. James E. Deye; Stem Cells: Implications for the Radiological Sciences by Dr. Irving L. Weissman; and Beneficial Liaisons: Imaging and Therapy by Dr. Paul M. Harari.

As always, attendees at the conference can broaden their professional experience through a variety of means, whether they’re learning about the latest in radiologic scientific research, viewing the latest imaging technologies, networking with their peers, or earning continuing education credits. This year, RSNA is trying something different with its Enhanced Education Exhibits: on a few traditional stand-alone posters, they will have embedded QR codes and additional features such as video clips, quiz material and teaching points that can be downloaded to smartphones and tablets to be viewed during the meeting or afterward.

Trends in this year’s scientific presentations and education exhibits include emerging modalities and techniques such as tomosynthesis, elastography, immunoradiology, PET/MR and high intensity-focused ultrasound.

Recent innovations in molecular imaging boosted education exhibit submissions on the topic by 25 percent — much of it fueled by abstracts around PET/MR, a new modality that holds exciting potential for oncologic, cardiovascular and neurologic applications.

Non-FDA PET biotracers for tumor detection — many of which have the potential to significantly improve imaging for cancer patients — will also be a focus during the Oncology series session on Tuesday.

On the breast submissions side, presentations will focus on new technologies such as tomosynthesis, quantitative imaging and MR screening for intermediate-risk women. In particular, the sessions will focus on imaging and risk prediction tailored toward individual patients.

High-intensity focused ultrasound, a novel technique that uses ultrasound energy to ablate damaged tissue, is also well-represented this year in both breast imaging and in musculoskeletal radiology.

In light of the industry’s focus on cost savings and budget management, RSNA will also introduce a new subcategory to its sessions this year: economics. Related sessions include, “The Role of Radiology in Accountable Care Organizations,” “What Does the Fiscal Cliff Compromise and Sequestration Really Mean,” and “Hospital Readmissions: A Penalty that Will Affect Interventional Radiologists.”

Attendees can also learn about relevant topics such as “Top Ten Commonly Misordered Diagnostic Imaging Studies by Primary Care Physicians” and “Current Status of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis.” Presentations around evidence-based medicine, quality, practice management and medical management will also help radiologists stay afoot of tips on managing costs for their department, and address the difficulties of trying to save costs without sacrificing quality of care.

On the exhibit floor, medical professionals will have a chance to see and learn about a variety of medical equipment and devices being offered up by over 650 companies from around the world.

Highlights on the 2013 show floor include: Exhibitor Product Theater, where professionals can discover new products, services and software systems from exhibitors; three vendor workshops where radiologists and other health care professionals will find hands-on learning experiences; IHR image sharing demonstrations that demonstrate how software systems can communicate seamlessly across locations; and publishers row, where attendees can shop for