Now it seems everybody has a spinion

December 11, 2009

Opinions are done. Finis. Kaput. They can’t compete with spinions. A spinion is a hybrid of spin and opinion. They are opinions on steroids, serving as vehicles for promoting a deeply and strategically developed agenda.

Opinions are done. Finis. Kaput. They can't compete with spinions.

A spinion is a hybrid of spin and opinion. Like opinions, spinions embody ideas held by individuals or companies that may not be shared by everyone. But they are more than that. They are opinions on steroids, serving as vehicles for promoting sometimes deeply and strategically developed agenda.

Typically, spinions seek to redefine the concepts that underlie one product or another. They have been used in computed radiography to redefine CR plates as digital detectors, making CR part of a previously separate group, DR. This opened the door for CR makers to bid on digital radiography contracts.

At this RSNA meeting, a spinion sought to do the reverse by turning radiography/fluoroscopy into a new form of radiography-dynamic radiography-thereby helping to distinguish a relatively common technology as novel. Spinions also defined a battle on the RSNA exhibit floor between MR vendors whose efforts to spin their cylindrical scanners as "open" spurred a "boreless" retort from one of the pioneers of open MR.

As competition heats up in other areas of medical imaging, we'll see more such twists. Iterative reconstruction (IR) seems made for spinning. This software offers the potential to reduce dose without affecting image quality. While all the major CT vendors now have a form of IR, some aren't willing to concede that competitors' products are the same caliber or even in the same class as their own.

Turning iterative reconstruction from green to rosy ripe for the picking is its dependence on statistics. One IR offering may cut dose by 40%; another by 80%. Is one twice as good as the other? Not if one dose reduction came from a different body part than the other. But then, that may be open to spinion.

So, like their cousins opinions, spinions are not bad by definition, nor are they necessarily false. I found at the RSNA meeting that they can even be fun to discuss. I learned to be careful, however, when doing so. Spinionated people have varying levels of tolerance for spinions other than their own.