TierneyWe can’t enter a New Year and sing a few bars of “Auld Lang Syne” (even without the real words!) without making a few resolutions. It’s just natural.

With a new year, we evaluate old priorities and set new ones, and are always glad to clear our mental slate to see more clearly our true goals.

After promising ourselves to lose a few pounds, clear up a troubled relationship or quit a favorite vice, we turn to work priorities — knowing we won’t move mountains, but knowing that changes are necessary. It’s the right time to do it. The world is back in business-mode.

In radiology, we’re still thinking of those must-haves we saw at RSNA or what new systems’ we’re looking to acquire or services we’ve committed to start. And if nothing else, we’ve got to soup it up since procedures are up and time, well there’s never enough of it.

And if there are still technologies or modalities you need to learn more about to gain that essential edge, turn to our RSNA Wrap-up section that begins on page 27. Have you gotten the low-down on CAD? Or the advances in PET-CT? How about multi-slice CT or RIS/PACS? What do you know about hand-carried or 4D (real-time 3D) ultrasound systems? Or have you heard about real-time digital fluoro? Our writers have cut through the buzz to summarize for you the features and functionalities you’ll want to learn about. For systems you want further detail on, most vendors’ web sites provide great spec sheets to start with.

CAD for mammography got a boost from an independent study (of 120 breast cancer cases) reported at RSNA that found that three FDA-approved units on the market performed well and consistently in side-by-side tests. The study also found that CAD identified more cancers, namely smaller lesions. Works-in-progress CAD systems for lung and colon cancer detection debuting at the meeting also show great promise of increasing the speed and accuracy of cancer screening.

Another study presented at RSNA found that PET-CT and whole-body MRI complement each other well in detecting malignant diseases. While fused PET-CT images found more cancers than whole-body MRI when staging primary tumors, MRI had an advantage with bone metastases. Both PET-CT and MRI (high-field and open systems) deserve another serious look.

IT is a priority everywhere. Better-stronger-faster PACS offerings (for facilities large and small) are more user friendly these days, and a bit more budget friendly, too. More facilities are legitimizing their need and ordering systems that can manage large volumes of data — fast — from multi-slice CT and high-speed MR scanners. RIS/PACS is attracting attention also, as is Web-enabled PACS. And economic PC-based PACS provide great migration paths for the future.

Ultrasound systems small and large have gained processing power that automates many functions, provides fine detailed images and create tailored reports more easily. 4D adds the power of real time to three-dimensions for ob and cardiac applications, for now. And hand-carried and portable ultrasound units virtually remove transportation barriers, and bring functionality of units much larger.

Now is the time to take a second look at those technologies you’ve been eyeing — and I hope you succeed in keeping your New Year’s resolutions!

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Mary C. Tierney, Editor
mtierney@mwc.com