editorDemanding RSNA-goers shouted out their coffee orders at the McCormick Place Starbuck’s. Custom-made, that’s how they wanted it.

Back on the exhibit floor (all 450,000 square feet of it), tailored CT, MRI, X-ray, ultrasound and PET products filled the menus. Web PACS and image management got a lot of attention, too. And always the same expectation — custom, easy-to-swallow solutions — with a jolt of caffeine-like speed.

To help you make sense of that brew, our editors have compiled a 34-page RSNA Wrap-up. It begins on Page 23. Among the more unusual items this year were try-before-you-buy software and a CT scanner that’s sold only on the Web. In-between there was PET, souped-up multislice CT scanners and open MRI systems. Ultrasound scanners got smaller, or more multifunctional, while DR and CR pushed X-ray into the 21st century.

GE’s new eFlexTrial program promises to deliver a new CT or MRI application direct to a customer’s scanner in just 40 seconds. Point, click, try it — that’s GE’s spiel. The facility gets 30 days to try the app — for free — and evaluate its clinical impact. Eight MR and nine CT software packages are available right now; a total of 150 are promised by the end of the year, including X-ray, nuclear medicine and information technology products.

Available exclusively through the Web, Siemens’ Somatom Smile CT scanner has only 11 components. All can be replaced by the customer. I’m told the parts are easier to swap than some toner cartridges. The Smile is aimed at the low-end with a $245,000 price tag.

PET, oh sweet PET. There was good news about approved and pending reimbursements, and terrific news about its cancer detection capabilities. Two years ago, few were brave enough to touch it. Now everyone wants to adopt PET — if they can just figure out where it fits into their strategic plans.

Hot rod multislice CT scanners burned up the bits at McCormick Place. You get more slices and sharper images — but don’t forget to buy enough computing and archiving power to keep all that image data racing to the OR and back.

Open MRI continues to be a public pleaser. Vendors are adding new features that rival higher field strength units. Patients seek out centers that combine better studies with the comfort of an open magnet, and older units are being replaced ferociously. The new spin is cardiac MR, which is gaining strength among the clinical community.

X-ray’s bickering DR and CR siblings are older now and with new civility, dwelled in peaceful co-existence at RSNA, producing many real-life success stories.

And no system was complete if it couldn’t interface with image management. What to do with images — great as they may be — is crucial, and vendors are providing wider selection, flexibility and price points than ever before.

So order up a cup of java, however you like it, and happy reading. And may you succeed in meeting your New Year’s resolutions!

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Mary C. Tierney, Editor
[email protected]