By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer
    November 17, 2010

    At last year's RSNA meeting, practice management and economics sessions focused on quality improvement. This year, the hot topics include radiation safety, decision modeling, and how to thrive the challenging economic times ahead.

    At last year's RSNA meeting, practice management and economics sessions focused on quality improvement. This year, the hot topic is radiation safety.

    At the meeting, watch for presentations that address this issue, such as Wednesday's "Radiation Safety and Informed Decision Making" session (SSK08, December 1, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Room S102D).

    "There will be a number of presentations about ways to improve our ability to limit radiation dose and to comply with the principle of 'as low as reasonably achievable,' " RSNA health policy subcommittee chair Ruth Carlos, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor told "There will also be some good discussion on evaluating the risk of radiation-induced cancer."

    Also up for discussion will be the use of decision modeling, or synthesizing evidence about imaging's effectiveness for policymakers, according to Carlos. In session SSJ13 (Tuesday, November 30, 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Room S102D), Carolyn Rutter, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, will kick off a series of presentations that investigate various decision models and how they each seek to incorporate results from randomized controlled trials, observational and epidemiologic studies, and expert opinion.

    "Radiologists are being challenged to come up with evidence that shows a particular type of imaging or imaging approach is effective," Carlos said. "And decision modeling can also be used in comparative effectiveness research, helping clinicians determine how many patients it actually takes to do a good randomized, controlled trial -- important as we face continued declining reimbursements. Unless we have the evidence to support guidelines for coverage decisions, for example, [radiology] is going to be on the losing end of reimbursement."

    Other hot topics will be covered in sessions such as refresher course RC127, which will investigate how radiologists can thrive in the challenging economic times ahead (Sunday, November 28, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Room S505AB); a special interest session on American College of Radiology (ACR) appropriateness criteria and how they translate to clinical practice (Monday, November 29, SI25, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Room E353C); and another refresher course that will explore how radiologists can deal with threats to their profession such as commoditization, self-referral, and utilization control (RC527, Wednesday, December 1, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., Room S505AB).

    Keep reading for more highlights of the intriguing health policy and practice management presentations scheduled for this year's RSNA meeting. And if you'd like to view the RSNA's listing of abstracts for this year's scientific and educational program, click here.

    Scientific and Educational Presentations
    More docs using MRI to follow up equivocal results in abdomen
    Monday, November 29 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSC07-03 | Room S102D
    More clinicians are recommending further MRI exams more often after initial abdominal MRIs prove equivocal, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston.
    Same-day renal function testing helps manage contrast dose for CT, MRI
    Monday, November 29 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSC07-04 | Room S102D
    Testing patients' renal function the same day they are scheduled for MRI or CT exams helps clinicians better manage contrast dose, according to researchers from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY.
    iPhone visualizes telestroke images well, but speed is slow
    Monday, November 29 | 11:10 a.m.-11:20 a.m. | SSC07-05 | Room S102D
    Image quality and accuracy of interpretation is excellent when the iPhone is used for visualizing telestroke images, but due to the device's slower speed and smaller field-of-view, it's still not up to par compared to a PACS workstation, Boston researchers report.
    Offering mammography screening at retail locations could boost compliance
    Monday, November 29 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSC07-07 | Room S102D
    Offering women screening mammography at retail healthcare clinics could boost compliance, concluded this study from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, scheduled for presentation on Monday.
    Use of CT spikes in emergency department
    Monday, November 29 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSC07-09 | Room S102D
    The use of CT in hospital emergency departments has increased at a higher rate than the technology's use in other settings, according to researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
    Educating radiologists about CTPA doesn't reduce overuse rates
    Monday, November 29 | 3:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m. | SSE12-02 | Room S102D
    In this scientific session, Michigan researchers will discuss how educating radiologists about workup guidelines for suspected pulmonary embolus doesn't necessarily curb overutilization rates for CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) in the emergency room.
    Women aren't getting breast MRI screening according to ACS guidelines
    Monday, November 29 | 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | SSE12-05 | Room S102D
    Women at high risk for breast cancer aren't getting screened with MRI -- in addition to mammography -- as called for by guidelines from the American Cancer Society, according to a new study to be presented in this Monday session.
    Self-referral by nonradiologists continues to drive imaging use rates
    Monday, November 29 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSE12-06 | Room S102D
    Self-referral practices by nonradiologists are a significant driver of imaging utilization, and over the next decade, these practices could incur unnecessary costs in the range of $20 billion to $87 billion, researchers from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, have found.
    Upping equipment utilization rate will limit resources
    Tuesday, November 30 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSG07-03 | Room S102D
    Boosting the equipment utilization rate to 75% in 2011 as a way to lower Medicare costs will actually limit resources as a flood of new enrollees enter the system, especially in rural areas, according to researchers from St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.
    Open MRI doesn't necessarily reduce claustrophobia
    Tuesday, November 30 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSG07-04 | Room S102D
    Despite a design intended to minimize claustrophobia, neither short-bore nor open MR imaging can totally prevent these reactions in patients, researchers will report in this Tuesday scientific session.
    One-third of delayed diagnoses not recognized on subsequent exams
    Tuesday, November 30 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSG07-07 | Room S102D
    Delayed diagnoses in radiology are often not recognized on subsequent radiological examinations, due to multiple types of diagnostic errors, according to researchers from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.
    Gadolinium contrast for MRI is safe
    Tuesday, November 30 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSG07-09 | Room S102D
    Using gadolinium-based contrast agents with enhanced MRI studies is safe, according to researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University in New York City.
    Survey finds lack of radiation awareness among radiology professionals
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSK08-08 | Room S102D
    How many radiology professionals believe that MRI and ultrasound use ionizing radiation? A worldwide poll of radiology professionals found that 13% believe ionizing radiation is used in MRI scans, while 15% say ionizing radiation is used in ultrasound.

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