SIIM – Q&A with Dr. Paul Nagy, 2016 SIIM Chair

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 16, 2016
Dr. Paul Nagy
From the June 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

In advance of SIIM’s annual meeting, being held in Portland, Oregon, from June 29 to July 1, HealthCare Business News interviewed incoming society chair Paul Nagy to learn about his background and where he hopes to lead the society.

HCB News: How did you get involved in health care?
I love experimental physics and computer science and I did a Ph.D. program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I took classes with medical students and had great mentors on partnering with physicians and nurses to engineer new solutions to clinical problems. I spent many weekends in the CT control room imaging anthropomorphic phantoms. This is the early 1990s, so I became the PACS, literally. I was the sneakernet of ACR NEMA format for medical images on optical disks transferring them back and forth from DAT tapes. I worked on computer vision segmentation projects using some of the early imaging libraries. The interactions I had with radiologists and technologists taught me the most on how to be a technical liaison and colleague.

I went to work for GE medical in the mid-1990s working with X-ray tube engineering. During that time, I fell in love with Six Sigma and its progressive management principles. I was brought back to the Medical College of Wisconsin as a faculty member in 2001 to lead them through their big transition from film into the digital environment.

HCB News: What had them reaching out to you for the opportunity?
The chairman remembered I was the guy that helped everyone with their computers. I guess the perk of being PC support was that I had access to every aspect of radiology and even got noticed by its leadership.

HCB News: How did you get involved in SIIM?
It really started with me at SCAR in 2001, in Utah. SIIM was known as SCAR, the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology, at the time and PACS was beginning to shift to the more modern systems from engineering exercises. There I met Eliot Siegel, who became a great mentor, and quickly realized that SIIM is about community, networking and learning best practices from others. There are so many changes that go on when you deploy a health IT system. Having those connections were invaluable. I got involved with committees and shared what I learned with others. I grew professionally with SIIM and in many ways am a product of SIIM. Helping others through the society is where I learned a lot about leadership. SIIM is an amazing multi-disciplinary society where radiologists, computer scientists, imaging informatics professionals, administrators, technologists and industry work side by side to improve health care.

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