It's been fun, but I'm whupped

November 30, 2005

Today, the RSNA won. This meeting can be exhausting. Surprisingly, I did far less at night this year than I have done in the past. Maybe that’s my problem -- I didn’t party enough. There's always next November to test my hypothesis.

Today, the RSNA won. This meeting can be exhausting. Surprisingly, I did far less at night this year than I have done in the past. Maybe that's my problem - I didn't party enough. There's always next November to test my hypothesis.

I also approached the meeting differently this year. I was intrigued by the new case review courses, so I signed up for three of them. Monday was all day on neuro, Tuesday was interventional, and today was pediatrics. All three were excellent. The interventionalists did slightly better in my mind, by having several speakers on the stage at once, interacting and discussing the cases.

However, I think I made a mistake. By signing up for three full days of courses, I missed all the special sessions. I realize now these are actually the RSNA's strong suit. The annual oration, the Pendergrass New Horizon lecture, and the frequent special sessions on controversial topics are all things you can't get anywhere else. Courses on neuro and interventional abound year round. And pediatric radiology courses are available, though not quite as numerous. Peds has never been a glamour subspecialty.

Next year, I will go back to my old approach, a few courses and more emphasis on hot topics and controversy. Still, I did stumble on a few surprises.

You think you have turf problems? Talk to someone from the University of California, Davis. Apparently, the institution has a new dean who has instituted an open imaging policy. If your specialty says you are qualified to read a study, you can do so. If the housekeepers' union says the janitor can read head CTs, she can apply to do so. Makes you wonder who is going to run their department when all the radiologists leave. I'm sure we'll read more about this in months to come.

Teleradiology seems to be exploding. New players were too many to count in the exhibit hall this year. They all are recruiting centers to send them studies and radiologists to read them. More and more of us will be reading from home in years to come.

Sixty-four-slice scanners are clearly a two-edged sword. They do amazing things but require major changes. You can't just install the scanner and keep on doing studies as usual. Well, you can, but you're wasting your money. You have to revamp all your protocols, retrain your techs, and design systems to handle huge data sets. Many current PACS apparently can't do it. These are the issues that eat lots of time and generate no income.

I wonder who will be doing these jobs in institutions with open imaging policies?

As always, it has been a pleasure sharing RSNA with DI readers. Now, I'll sign off. It occurs to me that I still have one more night to try and get my energy back.