Test addresses need for both RT and IT expertise

June 11, 2007

One hundred radiology and information technologists took a pilot exam Saturday that will allow them to become certified imaging informatics professionals. The test is a new step in the drive to bring professional recognition to the management of radiology informatics systems.

One hundred radiology and information technologists took a pilot exam Saturday that will allow them to become certified imaging informatics professionals. The test is a new step in the drive to bring professional recognition to the management of radiology informatics systems.

The exam was offered by the American Board of Imaging Informatics, a new nonprofit organization formed by the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Test participants expressed varying opinions about the 150-question exam during a breakfast meeting Sunday. Among the larger challenges was the need to bridge IT and RT backgrounds. Both groups play a growing role in managing radiology informatics systems and are eager to see the field achieve greater recognition.

One RT observed that the test seemed to be weighted more heavily to the IT than the RT perspective. Another participant with an IT background said the test contained too many RT-type questions.

Test takers were required not to disclose details about the test, which will be offered again on Sept. 28 and made available nationwide through a national testing service.

One person did, however, say the test seemed to include too many questions about Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, an RSNA initiative designed to promote interoperability among informatics systems offered by different vendors.

In defense, Charles Socia of Arkansas Medical Imaging in Little Rock, a member of the panel that developed the test, said much of what radiology informatics administrators deal with is workflow, and little documentation besides the IHE addresses radiology workflow.

Another participant said the test included a lot of acronyms, not all of them defined by the questions.

One concern expressed was how the certification program will be promoted and received by facility administrators who control salaries and purse strings.

Vendors have discussed the possibility of offering equipment discounts to facilities that employ certified imaging informatics professionals on grounds that they'll need to spend less time at the facility solving problems, Socia said.

The exam covered 10 general subject areas: image management, information systems and technology, clinical engineering, operations, systems management, procurement, project management, medical informatics, communications, and training.

Eligibility is based on a seven-point system that covers experience and education. The application fee is $400. The pilot test was limited to 100 test takers, and about 150 applied, Socia said.

The American Board of Imaging Informatics is set to review the test results June 26. Results will be announced sometime after that.