SIIM 2022 Recap

SIIM 2022 Sign

The first in-person SIIM meeting since COVID hit is officially a wrap, delivering the latest in informatics and a family reunion vibe that might have surpassed any other imaging event. Here’s the top takeaways from the biggest imaging informatics conference of the year.

Crowds & Conversations – We understand there were 300 to 400 on-site attendees at SIIM 2022 (excluding exhibitors), with far more attendees in the educational sessions and afterparties than the exhibit hall booths. Still, it was clear that there’s no better place for informatics leaders and vendors to get together than SIIM.

Big Cloud – The shift to the cloud felt more inevitable than ever last week. The cloud was at the center of nearly every vendor and providers’ informatics roadmaps, while the AWS/GCP/Azure “healthcare cloud land grab” appears to be having an underrated influence on cloud adoption. That said, SIIM22’s cloud PACS conversations hadn’t changed much from previous years…

  • Everyone still agrees about the cloud’s security and administrative upsides
  • PACS vendors are still debating cloud native vs. cloud enabled (…and questioning whether providers know the difference or care as much as they do)
  • Nobody is willing to adopt cloud at the expense of PACS performance
  • And because of that, hybrid cloud remains the realistic starting point for many providers

Integrating AI – AI remained a major theme at SIIM, although most conversations focused on how to adopt and integrate AI (and then get ROI), rather than how AI can improve diagnosis. That probably explains why the exhibit hall featured far more AI distributors (AI marketplaces, PACS AI platforms, etc.) than AI developers, and it serves as a good reminder for AI vendors to continue improving their integration capabilities.

Productivity Hacks – Unsurprisingly, radiologist productivity was a common theme through the presentations and exhibit hall booths, ranging from the ultra-logical (fast PACS, administrative AI) to the ultra-ambitious (single-vendor unified imaging IT systems). 

Inconsistent Imaging – This might be old news to many of you, but I was amazed to learn how far many organizations are from achieving informatics best practice. I heard a lot about patched together workflows, outdated PACS versions, inconsistent site setups, antiquated imaging sharing, and narrowly-defined enterprise imaging. The silver lining to that is there’s plenty of room for improvement, but it also suggests that some imaging organizations will need a lot of work before they’re technologically prepared for the next-gen stuff we talked about all week.

The Takeaway

SIIM 2022 made it abundantly clear that there are seismic changes coming to imaging informatics, and even if those changes will probably take longer than some might hope, their impact might be greater than many of us expect. There’s also plenty of opportunities to improve radiology workflows in the short-term, and some of the smartest people in healthcare are ready to deliver these improvements.

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