RSNA: always changing

November 27, 2005

In years past I have always come to Chicago on Saturday. This year friends planned their wedding for Saturday, so I changed my plans and booked an early flight Sunday from their city to get me here before noon. Last week the bride-to-be called the wedding off, so I got up really early this morning to drive past several airports on the way to my flight. I was not happy, but I figure I’m still better off than the would-be groom.

In years past I have always come to Chicago on Saturday. This year friends planned their wedding for Saturday, so I changed my plans and booked an early flight Sunday from their city to get me here before noon. Last week the bride-to-be called the wedding off, so I got up really early this morning to drive past several airports on the way to my flight. I was not happy, but I figure I'm still better off than the would-be groom.

If you come to the RSNA every year, you realize there are changes. It will always be a medical meeting on steroids, but the generous radiologists who volunteer their time to put on this dog and pony show are constantly tweaking it. In addition, factors outside their control influence this show.

This year organizers made one of the best changes since they added the free train from McCormick Place to downtown: they either allowed or required every booth to have a raffle. If I don't win an iPOD while I'm here, I must have very bad karma. I know I entered at least 1500 iPOD raffles today.

Perhaps it is my imagination, but another change I noticed today is a dramatic decline in the number of US radiologists present. In terms of total attendance, I suspect we are outnumbered at least 50 to 1. The number of RSNA members present seems to be constant, but a significant number are not from North America. I spent this afternoon in the technical exhibits, so maybe the other US radiologists were just more dedicated than I and they all went to lectures. Tomorrow I will be in lectures, so perhaps my view will change.

The exhibitors continue to change. The imaging behemoths erect small cities to showcase their equipment, but they don't really change. The small exhibitors are the interesting ones. They tend to evolve. The first phase is typically a small booth showcasing a new idea they are selling or hoping to finance. The next phase (if the company is successful) involves a fancier booth with a color-coordinated sales force. Then the company has two options: it can become a fixture at the Chicago meeting with an ever-enlarging display, or it can be phagocytised into one of the imaging giants.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to attend another 2005 innovation, a day-long course based on case reviews in neuroradiology. Tonight I'm going to a party, so hopefully tomorrow I won't feel like I need a neuroradiologist. Change is good, and so is moderation.