Informatics meeting offers something old, something new

May 1, 2007

The theme for the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine's 2007 Annual Meeting could be "something old, something new." The society has streamlined the meeting to mix old favorites such as SIIM University with new programs such as a live demonstration to display workflow solutions for large data sets.

The theme for the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine's 2007 Annual Meeting could be "something old, something new." The society has streamlined the meeting to mix old favorites such as SIIM University with new programs such as a live demonstration to display workflow solutions for large data sets. The revamped program incorporates the expanded role of imaging informatics in the healthcare enterprise.

SIIM 2007, taking place June 7 to 10 in Providence, features a comprehensive educational and scientific program. The meeting theme, "Imaging Informatics for the Enterprise," is designed to capture its scope.

"The SIIM 2007 program covers topics that span the realm of imaging across the healthcare enterprise," said program committee chair Dr. Bradley J. Erickson of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

Program highlights take several shapes.

  • General sessions. The 2007 general sessions offer new perspectives on imaging informatics, featuring two keynote speakers and a live workflow demonstration. Opening speaker John P. Glaser, Ph.D., vice president and chief information officer of Partners Healthcare Systems, will discuss "The evolution of the role of imaging informatics in the healthcare delivery system." Closing speaker Dr. Edward H. Shortliffe, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and a professor at Arizona State University, will address "Biomedical informatics: its relationship to imaging research and practice."

A general session scheduled this year for the first time is a live workflow demonstration that will highlight some of the practical issues involved with managing large data sets. Three physicians representing varying specialty areas will each demonstrate resolution of an individual case using the same data set. The common data set for the case will also be made available to all exhibitors in the exhibit hall to plug in to products in their booths, allowing the educational session to continue in the hall as vendors demonstrate different workflow solutions on their own products.

"This is a chance to see how different systems and radiologists approach typical clinical scenarios, with emphasis on large data sets," Erickson said.

  • Scientific program. The scientific program has always been the place for cutting-edge research and a fresh look at innovative practices at the SIIM meeting. Of particular note in 2007 are new featured scientific sessions, which include a combination of invited speakers and abstract presentations, all related to one topic. This year's featured session topics are optimizing the interpretation process; image processing, 3D, and CAD; and productivity and workflow. Additional scientific papers will focus on infrastructure, imaging informatics in the enterprise, the Transforming the Radiological Interpretation Process (TRIP) initiative, and imaging informatics administration. A poster and demonstration session round out the offerings.

  • SIIM U and hot topics. For many attendees, the educational sessions, particularly the SIIM University program, are the main attractions at a SIIM meeting. SIIM U content is revamped each year to keep up with this dynamic field, and in 2007 it returns with 12 sections. It features introductory through advanced coursework in a variety of nuts-and-bolts topics designed to help those implementing, upgrading, or replacing PACS and RIS.

Sessions of particular interest include communicating results throughout the enterprise, taught by section 5 head Dr. Ramin Khorasani, and enterprise integration strategies toward the multimedia electronic health record, taught by section 10 head Dr. Paul J. Chang. The content of SIIM U this year reflects the society's greater focus on enterprise informatics issues, according to Erickson.

Hot Topic sessions address timely issues not covered by the traditional curriculum of SIIM U. This year, three sessions that address imaging issues throughout the enterprise-procedure room workflow in the interventional radiology/cardiology suite, PACS/RIS replacement, and leveraging IT for quality and safety-will each incorporate a one-hour breakout session to facilitate interaction with invited speakers, thought leaders, and other attendees.

  • Virtual tour. As the SIIM meeting grows, the virtual tour program will allow more attendees to take a facility tour without lost time commuting to different facilities. SIIM is piloting the program this year, offering a virtual facility tour of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The virtual tour, titled "Diagnostic imaging: the patient's progress through an automated imaging department," will be shown throughout the meeting, with a session featuring M.D. Anderson representatives to answer specific questions about the facility and the technology in use there.

  • IIP preconference symposium. Now in its fifth year, the Imaging Informatics Professional (IIP) symposium offers a blend of old and new. The one-day preconference symposium will be held just prior to SIIM 2007, on June 6, at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The course addresses the knowledge gap experienced by many PACS administrators by exploring the blend of competencies required for imaging informatics administration. This year's course is designed to assist individuals who are interested in or plan to take the new Certified Imaging Informatics Professional (CIIP) exam. The first test is scheduled to be administered in fall 2007. Presenters will focus on topics included in the CIIP Certification Test Content Outline and will also direct participants to additional IIP sessions of interest within the meeting's educational content. SIIM will publish a road map for IIPs to assist them in navigating content of specific interest to the field.

  • Scholarship and professional development. This meeting is all about scholarship and learning, and that aspect is also part of the something new. The annual Resident Scholarships will be presented during the meeting. Meeting and travel expenses for recipients have been paid by SIIM to encourage resident participation in informatics programs.

At the Annual Membership Meeting, new members of the College of SIIM Fellows will be inducted. This group includes pioneers in imaging informatics who have made significant achievements and contributions to the field. At the R&D Symposium, the 2006 SIIM grant recipient, Dr. William Boonn, will present his research findings on an open source web-based application for radiology decision support. SIIM recognizes ingenuity and innovation with the Roger A. Bauman Award for best student paper and top prizes for the poster and demonstration winners.

  • Technical exhibits. Many established names will appear in the Exhibit Hall as well as more than a dozen first-time exhibitors. Each year, the SIIM technical exhibits grow as attendees and exhibitors realize the advantages of one-on-one interaction in the collegial atmosphere of the hall. The size of the meeting allows for small, personal product demonstrations and Q&A with vendor representatives.

  • Networking. Perhaps the main reason many people attend the SIIM meeting is an old one: networking. The annual event is known for its relaxed atmosphere and the many opportunities for one-on-one interaction with some of the top experts in imaging informatics. Sharing observations or exchanging knowledge and experiences with colleagues often leads to impromptu gatherings and lasting friendships. First-time attendees to the meeting should gain an appreciation of imaging informatics and increase their knowledge of the field, while returning attendees continue to build relationships and add to their body of knowledge.

One always-popular networking event is the annual welcome reception, which this year takes place in conjunction with the Providence WaterFire. The award-winning WaterFire involves nearly 100 bonfires set to instrumental music along the Providence River Walk.

Complete program information and logistics, along with the Annual Meeting Preliminary Program, can be found at www.siim2007.org.

Ms. Wilson is director, publications and media, for the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine.