The Future is Now

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By Debra A. Lopez, CRA, FAHRA

I have been in the imaging business a long, long time. Cut film changers, cardboard film holders, pneumoencephalography chairs, elliptical tomography, mastoid and skull series, matrix cameras in CT (that held very heavy cassettes that had to be dragged to a faraway darkroom), chain cystograms, lymphangiograms, sialograms . . . anyone in Generation Y will have to ask a Boomer about some of these “special” exams we did and tools we used back in those dark ages—or should I say “darkroom” ages? But who would have ever thought that the day would come when our radiologists would be able to sign off reports on a wireless smart phone? Just last month I wrote about learning how to use my iPhone, and commented about a discussion on our list server specific to the prolific use of smart phones by some of our members—members who either love their iPhones or “Crackberries,” or those who think blackberries are for eating.

Well, I was reviewing the May issue of the Imaging Economics e-newsletter and read that Integrated Document Solutions (IDS) just launched iPhone mobile reporting and workflow applications. They use cloud computing architecture to archive patient data offsite and make it securely available to physicians and administrators on the internet. These new applications will allow physicians to read and sign off reports from their iPhones as well as create reports using templates on their iPhones (without dictation). In addition, IDS has made it possible for both physicians and administrators to use their iPhones or Blackberrys to receive live reporting data on referring physician ordering patterns, track report turnaround times, and get procedure volume information, among other information. I think our smart phones are here to stay, at least until the next innovation comes along. We had a speaker at a recent annual meeting who warned us that the technology changes we have seen in the last 20 years would be nothing like what we would see in just the next five, and boy did his words ring true!

I found another interesting article in the April/May issue of Radiology Business Journal. Did you know that the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reported that they estimate the number of botulinum toxin A (BOTOX) injections increased by over 3000% between 1997 and 2003, and collagen injections increased by a much more modest 79%. So what does that have to do with imaging ?  Zig Haskel, MD, professor of radiology and chief of vascular and interventional radiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, believes that radiologists are in a great position to take advantage of this rapidly expanding marketplace. Since many vascular/interventional radiologists already treat patients for varicose veins, he feels they have the tools, knowledge, skill, and the right kind of space to perform some cosmetic procedures. Is this hard to imagine? Thinking about all of the changes in our profession over the years, perhaps not!

The future is now. Are you ready?

The finishing touches are well underway in preparation for the 2010 Annual Meeting.  It is being held in Washington, DC this year, at the beautiful Gaylord National Hotel along the Potomac River. Your Design Team, exceptionally led by Becky Lambert, has been working very hard at putting together a fabulous meeting for you, filled with classes and vendors ready to share current information and technology with you. Please check out the meeting details on the AHRA Website!

This month features a member of the AHRA staff who is well versed in current technology: Ryan Ocampo.

Ryan Ocampo

AHRA Department: Website Administrator

Hometown: Medway, MA

Family: I was born in the Philippines and grew up in the small town of Maynard, MA. The oldest of three boys, I have two brothers Alberto, 20, and Christopher, 23. My dad loves to sing karaoke and actually won a handful of singing contests growing up. My mom has been a nurse for over 15 years. I now live in Medway, MA with my wife Charlene and our two spoiled dogs, Bailey and Summer.

Interests: Basketball, football, travel, art, exotic foods, photography, cars, walking my dogs, and those cheesy reality TV shows!

Deb Lopez, CRA, FAHRA is President of the 2009-2010 AHRA Board of Directors.  She lives in San Jose, CA and can be reached at

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