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RSNA 2016 features AI, cloud and VNAs for medical imaging

Artificial intelligence and machine learning in medical imaging and cloud and telemedicine applications for radiology are among the technologies featured at RSNA 2016 in Chicago.

CHICAGO -- RSNA 2016 is an essential appointment for radiologists like Eliot Siegel, M.D., who appeared at an event sponsored by healthcare and consumer product giant Philips to tout the virtues of applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to medical imaging.

Siegel, chief of imaging services at VA Maryland Health Care System and vice chair of imaging informatics at University of Maryland, School of Medicine, was also at RSNA 2016 to participate in education panels about precision medicine and machine learning in radiology.

The event, formally known as the 102nd Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, drew about 52,000 attendees from around the world, more than half of them physicians and other medical professionals.

Applying machine learning and AI

Siegel has worked with Philips on a project to apply AI and machine learning to the interpretation of medical images.

That endeavor culminated in the Dutch company's introduction at RSNA 2016 of Illumeo. The imaging and informatics system is designed to provide predictive analytics and integrate the most relevant case information from disparate sources, such as EHR and radiology information system records, earlier radiology studies and lab results.

"I want to, in my role as a radiologist, as a consultant, to be able to combine genomic data, to be able to personalize the way I take care of patients," Siegel said at the Philips media event, where he was accompanied by two Philips executives and another physician.

"As I go to interpret a (radiology) study I don't want to read the study in isolation, I want to understand it in context of not only other imaging studies, but all the clinical information on my patient," he continued.

Enabling better patient diagnoses

Jeroen Tas, CEO of Connected Care and Health Informatics at Philips, said during the press conference the company wants to connect patients to the healthcare system via medical devices and to enable physicians to better diagnose patients and personalize care.

"Our quest is really to provide that deep and relevant context about the patient to help us quantify as much as possible the image, to help do that 'first time right' diagnosis and tee up a personalized treatment plan for the patient," Tas said.

I want to, in my role as a radiologist, as a consultant, to be able to combine genomic data, to be able to personalize the way I take care of patients.
Eliot Siegel, M.D.chief of imaging services, VA Maryland Health Care System

The sprawling show, traditionally the country's largest healthcare conference and always held at Chicago's McCormick Place convention center, was long mainly the preserve of big imaging hardware vendors, such as Philips, GE Healthcare, Siemens, Fujifilm, Hitachi and others.

The event in recent years has seen a steady growth in health IT content not only in the educational sessions and technical exhibits, but also on the show floor with dozens of software vendors showcasing modern imaging technologies, such as vendor neutral archives (VNA).

Event popular for healthcare vendor CIOs

Bob Carson, manager of healthcare software for one VNA vendor, Ohio-based Hyland Software Inc., noted that healthcare provider CIOs have been frequenting RSNA more and more each year, though they mostly go to the HIMSS shows.

The 2017 conference and exhibition of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society will be in Orlando in February.

Meanwhile, this is the second year that Hyland, which also sells enterprise content management systems into vertical markets beyond healthcare, has exhibited at RSNA.

VNA, PACS vendors on hand

Nearly every notable VNA and PACS (picture archiving and communication systems) vendor was on hand at RSNA 2016.

Among the more than 655 companies exhibiting at RSNA 2016 were VNA and PACS vendors including IBM-owned Merge Healthcare, Fujifilm TeraMedica, TeraRecon, Calgary Scientific, Lexmark-Acuo, Carestream Health, McKesson and Mach7 Technologies.

"It's important for us to be at a medical imaging show like RSNA," Carson, the Hyland executive said.

Healthcare CIOs and health information management executives have been Hyland's main customers since the company two years ago introduced a VNA  based on the DICOM standard (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), Carson said.

Hyland is now looking to expand into radiology.

"We are earning our reputation in the radiology space," Carson said. "We are utilizing the CIO customer to introduce into that space."

At the same time, Hyland and other VNA vendors -- along with some large healthcare systems -- are starting to bring other image-intensive medical specialties, such as cardiology, dermatology, pathology and ophthalmology, into the mainstream imaging workflow.

Next Steps

HIMSS 2017 conference sees medical imaging tech emerge as hot topic

Medical imaging storage is moving to the cloud

The future of VNAs lies in population health, precision medicine

How to integrate VNAs with population health technology

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