Imaging informatics meeting brings changes into focus

April 2, 2006
Caroline Wilson

The theme of the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology 2006 meeting is "Imaging Informatics in Focus." The meeting promises to highlight a broad range of imaging topics of interest to physicians, scientists, technologists, IT specialists, and administrators representing radiology as well as other clinical specialties.

The theme of the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology 2006 meeting is "Imaging Informatics in Focus." The meeting promises to highlight a broad range of imaging topics of interest to physicians, scientists, technologists, IT specialists, and administrators representing radiology as well as other clinical specialties.

SCAR 2006, which takes place April 27 to 30 in Austin, is shaping up as the biggest annual meeting to date. In recent years, SCAR has positioned its gathering as a leading scientific meeting with a practical edge, as well as a midyear marketing opportunity for vendors and purchasers of medical informatics equipment. In addition to the scientific and educational program, SCAR 2006 provides an opportunity to network with colleagues and industry thought leaders and view the latest medical imaging product innovations.

"There will be a substantial announcement regarding the future direction of SCAR as a leader in imaging informatics," said SCAR chair Richard L. Morin, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.

CERTIFICATION UPDATE

The development of a certification program for practitioners is under way. The purpose of certification is to allow healthcare professionals who manage imaging and information systems to achieve an accredited industry standard certification.

"SCAR has listened to its members and progressed with due diligence to create a body that will ultimately be independent of SCAR," Morin said.

The society will announce the timetable and rollout of the SCAR imaging informatics professional certification program, including a schedule for pilot testing, at the meeting.

The society has also revamped its PACS administration preconference course. Now called "Imaging Informatics Administration Symposium," the full-day course on April 26, just prior to the regular meeting, offers participants two tracks: one for the RT professional and one for the IT professional. The course is designed to give each an idea of the other's workflow and help augment clinical knowledge for attendees with an IT background and technical skills for radiology technologists and clinicians. Attendees will learn about the impact of PACS across the entire medical enterprise. This course will help explain the framework for future Imaging Informatics Administration certification.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

SCAR welcomes two keynote speakers to the 2006 program. Ben Shneiderman, Ph.D., will provide a look into next-generation user interfaces for medical informatics in his opening general session keynote address. Shneiderman is a professor in the department of computer science at the University of Maryland and founding director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL).

Douglas Lenat, Ph.D., president and CEO of Austin-based Cycorp and one of the founders of the artificial intelligence movement, will examine computers versus common sense in his closing general session keynote address.

"As the two general session speakers will point out, as image overload increases stress levels across the industry, it will be more important than ever to focus on how we can better utilize computers to fit us, rather than we fit them," says program committee chair Dr. Bradley J. Erickson.

The sixth SCAR Research and Development Committee Symposium, following the opening general session, will feature the research of one of SCAR's 2005 grant recipients and include a discussion on "What is imaging informatics?" as well as an update on the society's Transforming the Radiological Interpretation Process initiative.

SCAR University will feature 13 sections, and special sessions will focus on a variety of topics from architectural planning to PACS policies and procedures.

"The sessions on information interchange and 3D imaging labs, in particular, are expected to be hot topics," Erickson said.

DICOM DEMO

New this year is a DICOM calibration demonstration, which takes place in the exhibit hall on Friday afternoon. Exhibiting companies will be on hand to demonstrate how to do the calibration on a monitor, and attendees can ask questions about the process. Erickson expects this demo to be of interest to a wide range of SCAR meeting attendees, from quality control techs to physicists, depending on the institution. An informal "ask the experts" panel is being organized in conjunction with the DICOM demo.

TRIP

The TRIP initiative continues to generate interest in the informatics community. The society invited its three TRIP corporate partners to a private forum in Sarasota, FL, earlier this year to provide a vendor perspective, and significant developments are occurring as a result of the forum. SCAR has scheduled the next private forum to take place during the meeting in Austin. An update on TRIP will also be provided at the R&D Symposium.

"Imaging informatics has become a better recognized entity," Erickson said. "It's become identified as a legitimate arena for scientific endeavors."

In addition, SCAR is ratcheting up the scientific component of the annual meeting while retaining the practical hands-on atmosphere that has become its hallmark.

The society will host a press conference on the opening day of the meeting to announce the recipients of the first SCAR resident's scholarship and additional major announcements.

For more information visit www.scarnet.org.

Ms. Wilson is director of publications and media for the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology.