By Robert "Bob"
After spending some time
digesting some of the latest chatter, rumor and innuendo regarding what’s in
store for imaging, whether it be the future of “meaningful use,” or the efforts
of the various governing bodies to help advocate the cause of radiology, or
just the need for radiology to stay relevant, a few trends seem clear to me.
1) Structured (and quantitative) reporting requirements
2) Stricter accreditation standards
3) Increasing use of registries for a variety of data
4) Requirements for patient communication
Call the above safe bet,
but it struck me as ironic that this sounds a lot like the current state of
affairs in breast imaging.
Ironic in that the “big
guys” haven’t done enough to integrate all the requirements of breast imaging
into their systems. Why? Well, there are host of reasons. Not the least of
which is that the annual procedure count is only about 8% of the overall
imaging procedures in the U.S., so it’s a “small” market. Relatively speaking,
the conversion to soft copy has also lagged other imaging modalities. It’s also
quite possible they just don’t understand or choose to hear this small
passionate, vocal minority.
Looking at the big PACS
players, for example, the native mammo functions have been built to be “good
enough,” but by no means “enough.” Same for RIS or reporting or whatever. This
is not to say that there aren’t smaller, so-called niche vendors who have
thought about and integrated all of the requirements, workflow, etc. into a
solution. Although, it is no small challenge to get these solutions to work
along side of all the rest of the systems in place. Of course, it’s also not
good politics to tell a selection committee who just spent $2 million on a
“complete” system replacement, that “oh yeah, you missed one.”
Now granted, there is much
work to do, particularly as it relates all this “stuff” into the right product
across all of imaging. But I’d argue that for a vendor to be relevant over the
next few years, taking a look at the needs of mammography, and getting it
right, now, will be a big boost towards meeting the future mandates of imaging.
Ironic isn’t it? That the
last to convert to digital may have had it right all along?
Bio: Robert “Bob” Cooke is a corporate strategist with over 20 years
of experience in the medical imaging informatics and equipment market, and is
currently working with a number of small companies and start up ventures.He is
the former former Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Fujifilm
Medical Systems. Bob was also the Vice President and Global General
Manager at Agfa Healthcare. Bob's expertise is in creating
growth, designing new business ventures and developing and managing strategic