Matthews.Marianne_1467_colorAt RSNA 2014, imaging professionals will reflect on radiology’s roots while focusing on the future significance of the specialty, too.

By Marianne Matthews

It’s a nostalgic year for the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting. At RSNA 2014, the radiology community will celebrate “A Century of Transforming Medicine.” In addition to the over 4000 educational sessions and 700 technical exhibits, there will be a Centennial Showcase that lets attendees “see, hear, and discover the many advancements that have shaped radiology.”

Visitors will be welcomed to the Centennial Showcase by none other than Wilhelm Roentgen, “a virtual presenter that will share an account of the events that sparked a specialty.” The showcase will include cases of the century, too, where radiologists can test their knowledge by diagnosing vintage images. There will even be historical (read unrecognizable!) radiology equipment in the gallery.

While radiology has been “transforming medicine” for 100 years, in recent years, the profession of radiology has been undergoing quite a transformation itself. We’ve heard so much about the need to transition from volume to value; the need to reinvent oneself; and, the focus on Imaging 3.0.

So in a sense, it will be refreshing for radiologists to reflect on their roots and get back to basics at RSNA. After all, as much as the profession has evolved, the main mission of the radiologist remains the same: Proper diagnosis. Many of you have expanded your consultative role, are playing a bigger part on the overall care team, and are getting closer to your patients. Even so, radiologists still spend a good deal of their time sitting at a workstation and interpreting scans. So, what makes for a good read?

That’s the key question that The MarkeTech Group, an independent healthcare research agency, asked 223 radiologists working in Europe and North America. The findings: 91% said image quality is the most important display aspect that impacts performance; 77% believe efficient workflow impacts reading sessions; and 70% said that ergonomics is very important to a good read.

The MarkeTech study looked at some of the most basic challenges that radiologists face in their typical workday. For example, 74% of respondents cited the increasing volume of imaging studies as their biggest challenge, while 53% said it was the growing complexity of studies. A whopping 87% of respondents said they experience physical discomfort such as eye fatigue, neck strain, or back pain when reading images.

No matter how much the profession evolves, radiologists will likely continue to face many of these basic challenges and occupational hazards in their daily work lives. So while at RSNA, save some time to explore the exhibit floor where you’ll find the very latest products and technology tools that can make your job easier and more efficient, improve your overall clinical practice, and most important, help ensure accurate diagnosis and better patient outcomes.

At RSNA 2014, there will be a lot of good stuff to look back on—great moments in radiology history, if you will. But make sure you look forward, too. It’s the time and the place to prepare yourself—and your profession—for a progressive future.