Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dalai Speaks! Audience Stays Awake!

I gave my little talk sponsored by healthinc on Wednesday night, to a very gracious and polite audience. As near as I could tell, only my fellow American dozed off for any significant time, but I'll attribute that to jet lag and not boredom. My talk consisted of the highlights of my experiences as the premier (only) radiologist PACS blogger, and my battles with IT and various PACS vendors. The radiologists in the crowd at least were very appreciative of the comments, and I suspect that the trials and tribulations we suffer in the US are similar to those of rads everywhere. There were several folks in the audience who used to to work for or with Agfa, GE, or both. Most appeared to agree with some of my more disparaging comments, and I'm told that one GE supporter simply sunk deeper and deeper into his seat as I continued to drone on. All in all, a very satisfying experience, and I hope everyone enjoyed it at least half as much as I did.

Yesterday, I spent some time in the healthinc booth, although radiologist traffic was rather minimal. Thus I got to wander the exhibit all, and attend a few quite excellent talks. I'm not sure how to transfer CME from the Australian version, so I'll simply have to be happy with having learned something. There are about 1,800 radiologists in all of Australia, and perhaps 2-300 attend the RANZCR/CSM meeting all told. There were only three simultaneous lecture tracks (not 50 as we see at RSNA), and the exhibit floor was more the size one sees at an SNM in North America, say about a tenth the size of that at RSNA. That allows this meeting to have something you'll never see at RSNA: free lunch amongst the exhibits!

I spoke with several folks on the exhibit floor, some friends of friends of friends, some as prearranged appointments, some whose booths I just wandered in to see. The friendliness of the folks here is unparalleled, and the way they took time to speak with this Yank was much appreciated.

I spent some time at the Visage booth, looking over their new offering that will arrive at RSNA time. Visage is owned by an Australian company, Promedicus, creators of another Australian RIS. In a nutshell, version 3.2 is designed to serve as a more generic viewer, adding the ability to look at CR's and CT's and everything else to the advanced visualization capabilities. One of the Promedicus execs told me that the aim is to "behead" a PACS, overlaying their viewer on top of a dysfunctional program to be used in its stead. (I could name a few dysfunctional PACS, by the way.) This would work better with RIS-driven workflow, which seems to be more popular here. Frankly, I think the idea has merit. Of course, I should probably see if we could rig Amicas PACS to do the same thing. . . Grafting a new interface over an old PACS might give us the best of all worlds.

Speaking of PACS that no one likes. . . I've spoken to a number of Agfa and GE users here. The consensus is that their PACS sucks. Sorry, there is no more genteel way to put it, guys. I should think the fact that there is international dislike of a product ought to mean something, but that's just me, I guess.

In the rumour department, it was floating about the floor that a large vendor has something in the IT realm coming out at RSNA that will leapfrog the competition. I could find no specifics, but the story seemed real enough that I just might have to go to RSNA after all and find out the truth.

I do have to tell you about a sphincter-tightening moment. I was introduced to a very eloquent and friendly fellow at the meeting, someone who worked with someone who had attended my talk. When he realized who I was, he looked at me and said, "I got in some very deep shit because of your blog!" It seems that he had used one of my various diatribes against complicated, semi-working systems as evidence that radiologists don't like such things. However, someone else in the same operation who did want to purchase some sort of complicated, semi-working program dug through my blog and found some nasty post (I'm guessing this one), which he apparently used in an attempt to discredit me, my blog, and my position on the topic, as well as the reputation of my new friend. Fortunately, his approach didn't work, and the truth as I published it prevailed. My friend lived on in his position to fight another day. While I'm certainly embarassed about the turn of events, the ending was a happy one (for most involved, anyway) and all's well that ends well. I have to emphasize that this blog is a personal publication, made up of things that amuse me. I do confess to having a childish sense of humour at times, but that, and the ability to post this stuff, is what keeps me from needing psychotropic medication.

On a happy note, there is a wonderful place here in Brisbane called the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (found online at This place is home to 130 koala bears (actually they are marsupials, not bears) as well as dozens of kangaroos, and other indigenous wildlife. For a small fee, I got to hold little Barnacle here:

He's cute, but those claws could do some damage!

Back to Sydney this afternoon and home on Sunday! Cheers!


Anonymous said...

having trouble distinguishing which one is the koala...

A Doc 2 Be said...

Glad you had a great trip down under and are now hopefully, recovering from jet lag. I cannot fathom flying that far in less than 168 hours. Yikes!

But more glad, that you have retained a sense of humor. In the field that physicians inhabit, I have found the ones that can laugh, and play, and enjoy life are far easier to work with and be around, than those who can't.

Hope you like my pig videos :P