It’s that time of year again. For many of us in the radiology community, no sooner will we finish celebrating Thanksgiving when we will find ourselves in Chicago to “Celebrate the Image” at RSNA 2011.

It seems to me that “celebrating” is an appropriate theme for the medical imaging community. As editor of Axis Imaging News for more than 4 years, I have learned a great deal about the life-saving power of diagnostic imaging. But as a health care consumer, I’m even more impressed.

Recently, I headed to East River Medical Imaging, PC in New York City and my “patient experience” was second to none. I underwent a bone density test and two types of ultrasound scans. The place was packed with patients—but the personal attention I received made me feel like I was the only person they were attending to at the time. The administrative staff was efficient, the wait was short, the radiologic technologists were professional yet friendly, and my physician had called with my test results before I even arrived home! Now, that’s an experience to “celebrate.”

So what will we be celebrating at RSNA this year? For certain, the launch of several new technologies and enhancements to existing modalities. With approximately 700 vendors exhibiting, you’re in for an eyeful of surprises. For a sneak preview of what you’ll find debuting on the show floor, see our articles “A World of Imaging” and “Time to Retool?” in this issue.

At RSNA, we’ll be celebrating important new research findings, too. The event promises approximately 3,000 scientific presentations and posters covering the newest trends in radiological research. From Alzheimer’s disease to women’s imaging, researchers will uncover new findings that offer renewed hope for clinicians and patients.

Although it is a scientific meeting, RSNA is a forum for sharing business ideas as well. A host of sessions will provide valuable insight on how to handle today’s challenges and keep your organization competitive. Now that’s something to celebrate! Anticipated courses and sessions include “Healthcare Reform: What Does It Mean for Radiology?,” “Are We Training Too Many Radiologists?,” “Can We Reduce Workups for Incidental Findings? Reporting, Costs, and Medicolegal Issues,” and an interactive session, “Shaping Your Future Practice: ACOs and Practice Development.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, at RSNA we’ll be celebrating the patient. Select courses focus on the importance of the radiologist-patient relationship. For example, Mark Mamlouk, MD, will lead “How to Become a Clinical Diagnostic Radiologist: The Answer Is Not Clinically Correlate,” where he’ll explore the value of radiologists interacting with patients to increase patient awareness, discuss benefits and risks, and relay and explain exam results.

Michael N. Linver, MD, will present “Talking with Patients: Ways to Gain Their Trust.” The session will cover useful verbal and body language and the importance of infusing these skills with compassion and empathy as well as a special emphasis on the art of delivering bad news. (To learn more about Linver’s approach to the subject, see the article he authored for this issue of Axis Imaging News.)

The overriding goal of diagnostic imaging is to deliver faster, more accurate detection and earlier diagnoses leading to improved outcomes for patients. Our community—radiologists, technologists, researchers, vendors, association members, and others—works diligently every day to save lives. So after you celebrate Thanksgiving, make sure to attend RSNA 2011 and celebrate life.

Marianne Matthews

Marianne Matthews