SIIM-bound: 30,000 feet over nashville
Honestly, if this plane flew right over Orlando and around the world, I still wouldn’t finish all of the work I have in my bag, so I am taking a few minutes to post a pre-SIIM blog entry from the sky. Where better to ponder what lies in store at the annual meeting of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine? I can’t help but wonder what I will find on the exhibit floor. Let’s face it, these are hard times in the world and radiology has taken more than its fair share of knocks. Have reimbursement cuts affected informatics vendors as deeply as the equipment vendors? I suspect and hope not, because many in radiology are counting on informatics advances to help pick up the slack. Will it be evident in the session rooms that the increased focus in radiology departments and practices on productivity, workflow, and performance enhancement has diverted attention away from the clinical advances that have characterized the specialty? Will this be the year that vendors finally push radiology into the cloud? Huge efforts and countless marketing dollars have gone into convincing the reluctant health care sector to venture into the cloud, but any major new investment in health care—and almost anything in radiology is a significant investment—must offer a return on investment. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal, offered a brief review of the CBO’s latest report on the country’s fiscal outlook, and it’s not good. (Yes, that’s Jim Morgan, VP medical informatics, FUJIFILM holding the WSJ report.) By the end of the year, cumulative US debt will reach 70% of the GDP. (Just try getting a mortgage with those numbers.) Without changes in entitlements (especially Medicare) and increased taxes, that figure will balloon to almost 200% of GDP in 25 years. In the event that anyone thinks the focus on efficiency is misguided, these numbers should dispel that thought. It will be interesting to see what added value imaging informatics vendors bring to their cloud offerings this year. When they get away from the idea of huge parking lots in the sky and start offering some of the benefits that massive computing power can bring, what brave new possibilities will emerge, economically and clinically?