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Q&A with SIIM chair-elect Dr. Marc Kohli

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 23, 2020
Health IT
From the May 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

SIIM is a place where I’ve been able to hone my presentation skills and my communications skills. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work on publications through SIIM. And importantly, I’ve made new relationships that definitely benefit my day-to-day life. For instance, we’re setting up a DICOM router at UCSF and because of SIIM, I know other people who have the same DICOM router. So when we have problems, I can reach out and send an email and connect our teams and troubleshoot. We also actually chose our router based on conversations I had at SIIM. So the interconnectivity and relationships have been unique and valuable for my day-to-day work.

HCB News: Who should consider joining the society?
MK: We have a couple of different groups of members within SIIM. Folks we call imaging informatics professionals — those are people who work with systems like PACS and radiology information systems in order to deliver care for our patients. Those folks generally come from an information technology background, or are also radiologic technologists looking to learn more about the IT side. We have a good number of M.D. and Ph.D. imaging informaticists who are interested in operations and novel science. We also have a rapidly growing group of trainees. The society recently made memberships free for trainees a year to a year and a half ago. Another thing that makes SIIM unique is that our vendor partners are members in the society, which creates uniquely beneficial dynamics.

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HCB News: Are there other societies SIIM works with?
MK: Absolutely. We have strong partnerships with RSNA, ACR, and AAPM (American Association of Physicists in Medicine).

We recently signed an MOU with EUSOMII (European Society of Medical Imaging Informatics), which is SIIM’s counterpart in Europe. We also have a new relationship with DPA (Digital Pathology Association) that we’re excited about. One of SIIM’s goals is to be more inclusive beyond radiology, so we’re quite excited about this opportunity.

HCB News: Does SIIM do any lobbying?
MK: Not officially. But we work closely with MITA and the ACR. We do respond to requests for public comments, but don’t actively lobby.

HCB News: What are some big developments in imaging informatics over the last year?
MK: I’d say the continued push behind machine learning and artificial intelligence are probably the biggest hot topics. I think another thing is that many institutions are going through what I call the third-wave of PACS replacement. Those are the two big themes.

I think that integrating AI tools into our workflow is at the top of many lists. That means things like DICOM routers are becoming more important. When we think about having a suite of artificial intelligence applications, [while] some only care about a particular type of study data, thinking how you’re going to implement and route images is going to be important in the future.

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