The Year of the Enterprise

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 - Cheryl Proval
Cheryl Proval, Editor

Every regular conference-goer is familiar with that drinking-from-a-firehouse sensation in the heat of the event, and the recent SIIM meeting did not disappoint in that respect. The theme was big data, and there was a good deal of associated content on the data front. In fact, Paul Nagy, PhD, let fly so many bon mots on the subject of analytics, I’m compelled to share some of my favorites here:

  1. On the importance of investment in analytics: “When I go to my chair, I tell him that analytics is going to be the next big modality in radiology—and it's going to cost as much as an MR scanner.”
  2. On data velocity and the need to process data quickly: “The data is an isotope: it's value goes down exponentially over time.”
  3. On the need to move from reactive to proactive analytics: “Information metabolism is the energy used to process information: You need a better ROI than five years ago.”
  4. On the potential of informatics to amplify quality-improvement efforts: “I believe informatics is the Archimedes lever of quality improvement. I think we are missing a major opportunity to improve quality and create new value by leveraging informatics.”

Following a conference, the experience is quite different: Post-tsunami waves of recognition wash over the attendee as she—or he—processes what they’ve heard and seen. 

One week after the meeting, I think SIIM 2014 was the Year of the Enterprise, the year that radiology finally accepted the fact that imaging informatics is an enterprise affair.

We heard from the CIO of a children’s hospital with a patient base that is 50% Medicaid who explained that agility, cost and risk are his three primary concerns.

We heard from a radiologist and informaticist who has figured out how to obtain fresh data feeds from enterprise scheduling—as well as other enterprise information systems— to solve quality and service issues in the radiology department.

We also heard from Jim Whitfill, MD, CMO of an accountable-care organization—and former practice CIO—who said, “We need to learn to speak enterprise IT. They can bring great stability to departmental systems, they understand governance and systems approach to IT and they also understand innovation, efficiency and strategic thinking.  There is a lot we can learn from our colleagues.”

This year, SIIM took an important step in initiating that dialogue. Stay tuned as we continue to turn the SIIM tsunami into a steady stream of content.