SCAR ponders broader direction for future efforts

May 5, 2005

The Society for Computer Applications in Radiology will celebrate its silver anniversary at this year's annual meeting in Orlando with a new look. In a move designed to reposition itself in the changing world of electronic imaging, the society will unveil a new tagline at the conference next month: Innovating Imaging Informatics.

The Society for Computer Applications in Radiology will celebrate its silver anniversary at this year's annual meeting in Orlando with a new look. In a move designed to reposition itself in the changing world of electronic imaging, the society will unveil a new tagline at the conference next month: Innovating Imaging Informatics.

The tagline change acknowledges the fact that while its roots are deep in radiology, the society also seeks to advance education and research in all of medical imaging, said executive director Anna Marie Mason.

SCAR grew out of a need for an organization that would oversee issues of implementation involving radiology information systems, patient scheduling and demographics, radiology reporting, reporting repositories, and radiology work list functions, all within an analog imaging environment, said society chair Dr. Anthony Seibert.

"Most imaging was performed in radiology as a radiology-centric activity," Seibert said.

As imaging moved to digital technology, SCAR was there for the earliest implementations of PACS, he said. The newest PACS have made Web-based technology commonplace and have pushed the distribution of electronic images throughout the hospital enterprise.

"Being at the right place at the right time with the right membership-radiologists, physicists, technologists, information specialists, and administrators-has allowed the SCAR annual meeting to grow tremendously," Seibert said.

That membership may soon grow further to include other medical specialties. SCAR is not solely a society for radiology but is changing along with the rest of the medical field, according to Seibert.

Other specialties are embracing imaging and informatics technologies, spurring members of the SCAR board of directors to contemplate a possible name change to reflect the new imaging landscape.

"Our membership is not exclusive. We welcome all medical imaging specialists, technologists, information technology personnel, administrators, and others who might gain from membership and the opportunities and value-added benefits that are available through our society," Seibert said.

The theme "Past, Present, and Future" will be reflected in a variety of ways throughout the meeting, including a talk by Seibert that will present a retrospective history of the society, Mason said. Corporate vendors are being invited to develop historical displays to be presented in the registration area.

The society has already addressed some of the changes brought about by technological advances. Its Transforming the Radiological Interpretation Process (TRIP) initiative has targeted the problem of information overload.

The meeting's closing session will feature a panel of experts, Dr. Paul J. Chang, Dr. Richard L. Morin, and Dr. Eliot L. Siegel, providing their own glimpses into the future of electronic radiology.

"Certainly, the rate of change is going to continue to increase. What will be the agenda at the annual meeting at the 50th anniversary of SCAR-or whatever its name might be at the time-makes for some interesting conversation and future thought," Seibert said.