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Radiologists Can Use Enterprise Imaging To Create Value

Radiologists Can Use Enterprise Imaging To Create Value

September 5, 2019 -- Radiology may have a secure role in healthcare, but the future of radiologists isn't as well-defined. Enterprise imaging can help radiologists demonstrate their value, however, according to Dr. Cheryl Petersilge, who spoke Wednesday in a webinar held by the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM).

Radiologists can create value with enterprise imaging for their organizations in a number of key ways, including sharing imaging technology and workflow knowledge, accessing all images to improve interpretation, and supporting image quality initiatives outside of radiology -- particularly for point-of-care ultrasound, said Petersilge, a radiologist and former medical director for integrated content and enterprise imaging at the Cleveland Clinic. She is also founder and CEO of consulting firm Vidagos Partners.

"[Radiologists] have been one of the leaders in those types of services, and we really should be extending our knowledge for the benefit of the patients," she said. "One of the critical shifts that we as radiologists, or in the radiology industry, need to think about is shifting our focus to the outcomes at the enterprise level or at a patient level, and use our radiology environment and [enterprise imaging] as tools to affect the enterprise outcome."

Applying imaging expertise

Radiology departments have been the masters of the PACS, RIS, reporting system, and integration with the electronic medical record (EMR), and have also been the forerunners of image exchange -- beginning with media such as CDs and DVDs, and now advancing to multiple other forms of digital exchange, Petersilge said. Radiologists can apply this knowledge and help their enterprises advance these services to all image-generating specialties in their organization.

"We need to be instrumental in helping other service lines adopt these technologies within their image-generating departments, and we can do that by being the leaders and extending enterprise imaging across the entire healthcare organization," she said. "We can help prevent redundancies, can help lead to cost-efficiencies, and we can show ourselves to be leaders in this arena, and thereby bring additional value to our organization."

Just as they had to manage the shift from film-based operation to PACS, radiologists need to embrace the next wave of technology evolution, which includes enterprise imaging and also artificial intelligence (AI).

"In healthcare, we're moving to more patient-centric care and we're also on that volume-to-value transition, really working hard to make sure that the value of the radiologists ... to continue to make that value apparent to the rest of the healthcare enterprise," Petersilge said.

In the future of the AI-enabled radiologist, a lot of routine tasks will be handled by AI. This will provide the opportunity for radiologists to direct their focus to more complex layers of thinking, she said.

"We need to maintain our role as synthesizers of information," she said.

Integrating diagnostic specialties

Petersilge also noted efforts are underway to recognize diagnostic specialties -- pathology, radiology, and eventually, genomics -- as the leaders in diagnostics and to consider whether they should be incorporated together in function.

"We're going to need radiology, pathology, and genomics all working together to arrive at an individual's diagnosis," she said. "And this is leading to the drive toward precision medicine. We really have great opportunity in that arena."