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Preparing for imaging informatic's biggest event

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | May 27, 2022
Health IT
Dr. Christopher Roth
In addition to his role as vice chairman of radiology, information technology and clinical informatics at Duke University, Dr. Christopher Roth is also the annual meeting program committee chair for the Society for Imaging Informatics in Imaging. We sat down with him to find out how imaging informatics have evolved over the last few years, and what attendees can expect at the upcoming SIIM meeting.

HCB News: How has the pandemic shaped conversations in imaging informatics?
Dr. Christopher Roth: Telehealth and remote clinical work grew quickly. Leadership became more comfortable with cloud data storage and security. People had more time to do research and it showed in the advancements of imaging artificial intelligence. At the same time imaging medical education slowed down for two years because of lower quality, remote interactions between learners and faculty. In some ways imaging informatics support culture took a hit because analysts were transitioned to work-from-home. Lots of planned projects had to be mothballed or slow-played because resources were tied up elsewhere. I think lots of sites are taking a deep breath, reassessing their strategic priorities and resources, and deciding where to attack.

HCB News: Is interoperability between different technologies still at the forefront of imaging informatics? Has there been progress on that front?
CR: Anytime there is a new innovation it has to be connected to the existing platforms, and often in novel ways. Interoperability gaps will be the norm for as long as I'm working in this field for that reason. People would ask that AI model outputs be delivered to reporting systems or the EHR. That is reasonable... until you realize that we have lots more outputs and more models now, and each model may create many different findings that need to be incorporated in a user-friendly and readable way. Finding one lung nodule and moving those specifics is straightforward. When the model finds ten with different appearances, different locations, how should those data be represented in a transaction adding to a report? New innovations create new interoperability problems to solve and are great for my job security.

HCB News: This year's SIIM meeting will be virtual and in person. Can you tell us what the two different experiences will be like?
CR: we are very excited to get our friends together again to share the best practices and innovations in imaging informatics. It will be a three-day meeting in Orlando with a heavier emphasis on interactive and immersive learning opportunities. The virtual program will include a subset of the full SIIM22 program. Being in person gets you all the live educational and scientific content and also the virtual program. We recognize that training budgets may be lower, that informaticists or their families may not be comfortable with travel yet, and that many of our members are increasingly international and just can't do travel easily from that far away. A virtual program serves a different group of SIIM22 members than our live program.

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