10 Questions with Katherine Andriole, PhD, FSIIM

December 7, 2015

For this “10 Questions” series, we spoke with Katherine Andriole, PhD, FSIIM, about her work and the future of radiology and imaging informatics.

Our "10 Questions" series asks the same questions to a diverse group of professionals in the imaging community.

Here, we profiled Katherine Andriole, PhD, FSIIM.

1. Please state your name, title and the organization you work for. 

Katherine P. Andriole, PhD, FSIIM, Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Director of Medical Imaging Information Technologies, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Director of Imaging Informatics, Director of Fellowship Programs, Center for Evidence-Based Imaging

2. How did you get where you are today?[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"43949","attributes":{"alt":"Katherine P. Andriole, PhD, FSIIM","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_5951450806109","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"4884","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 280px; width: 200px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"Katherine P. Andriole, PhD, FSIIM","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

I studied biomedical engineering as an undergraduate student at Duke University where there existed a unique (at that time) collaborative relationship between the School of Engineering and the Medical School. I was able to see the practical applications of the physics and engineering principles I was learning, and was introduced to multidisciplinary team science.

I studied electrical engineering, signal processing, and medicine in graduate school at Yale University, followed by postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), where I was part of the team that built one of the first picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) before you could buy one. I became faculty at UCSF, and my career evolved to focus on digital medical imaging and medical imaging informatics. After a dozen years on the west coast, I came back east to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

3. Why did you choose your profession?

I was intrigued by the application of physics and engineering principles to solve problems in medicine. The use of technology was exploding and radiology was at the forefront with increasingly sophisticated imaging modalities maturing. As a field, we had to embrace computing to manage and make sense of all the data being generated. PACS and imaging informatics became necessities. I have had a blast growing with the field.

4. What is your biggest day-to-day challenge? 

For the radiologist, I think the biggest day-to-day challenge is being bombarded by increasing amounts of information of which they must make sense – more patients, more examinations, more series, and more images, as well as all the relevant nonimaging data they must assimilate.  For the imaging informaticist, I think integration of data from separate distinct silos and reconciliation and normalization of the data is a huge problem.  And in my opinion, we still are doing a relatively poor job at designing graphical- and functional-user interfaces (GUIs, FUIs). I am excited by the use of business analytics to attack both of these problems.

5. What worries, if any, do you have about the future of radiology? If none, where do you think the field is going?

Though we all strongly believe that radiology is an essential part of the practice of medicine, I think we have done a poor job showing it. Providing evidence and objective measures of the value of medical imaging will become increasingly important in the changing economics of medicine.

6. What one thing would make your job better?

Fewer meetings and more time to play with new technologies, think, and explore ideas.

7. What is your favorite thing about radiology?

Radiology uses noninvasive techniques to explore the body; radiologists use all of their knowledge of medicine combined with the signals they see in medical images. Imaging informaticists use mathematics, engineering, and computer science to uncover the signals in the noise. The two combine for great results. It’s like being a detective!

8. What is your least favorite thing about radiology?

From an informatics standpoint, there are issues we know how to solve from a technology perspective, but people and policy impede the adoption of new methods and processes.

9. What is the field’s biggest obstacle?

I believe radiologists are concerned about the impending changes to reimbursement for medical imaging and radiological expertise. For informaticists, it’s understanding the medical application environment in order to implement the right technologies in the appropriate way, and the overriding challenge will always be uncovering knowledge in the overwhelming flow of medical data.

10. If you could give the radiology specialty one piece of advice, what would it be?

Continue to embrace technology, but always remember that at the center of medicine is the patient and the physician.

Is there someone in the imaging community that you want to hear from? E-mail us their name and we'll ask them 10 questions.

Is there someone in the imaging community that you want to hear from? 

E-mail us

 their name and we'll ask them 10 questions. - See more at: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/10-questions-bruce-reiner-md#sthash.vKQ0fGOa.dpufIs there someone in the imaging community that you want to hear from? 

E-mail us

 their name and we'll ask them 10 questions. - See more at: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/10-questions-bruce-reiner-md#sthash.vKQ0fGOa.dpuf

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