Innovate, or go out of business

Innovation Management and the future of radiology

Management in Radiology (MIR): this ESR subcommittee is dedicated to management topics, developments in eHealth, and major trends in the discipline.

“Radiologists need to put their feet into waters with regard to disruptive...
“Radiologists need to put their feet into waters with regard to disruptive emerging technologies to avoid being put out of business”: the renowned panel of speakers included Bruce Hillman, professor of Medical Imaging and Public Health at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Chaired by Prof. Yves Menu and Prof. Peter Mildenberger, the subcommittee organizes MIR sessions at ECR as well as a Scientific Meeting on related topics (October 9 – 11, Barcelona/Spain).

At this year’s ECR, the first of the two MIR sessions addressed the issue of innovation management and future challenges of the field. According to Bruce Hillman, one of the outstanding speakers, “accessed innovation” has been a remarkable success story during the past forty years. “It has brought radiology up from a specialty hidden in basements … to being one of the premier specialties in all of medicine”, said the professor of Medical Imaging and Public Health at the University of Virginia. “What we need now is innovation that will carry us into the future, responding to the major paradigmatic changes in medicine.” This includes innovations geared at enabling “P4”, precision medicine – at affordable cost.

Risks of innovations are greater today than in the past
Innovations have typically come from independent individuals in academia, the expert continued, to be translated into clinically viable technologies by the industry. This cycle has brought us technologies such as ultrasound, CT, MRI, and PET. Today, however, there is a highly disadvantageous milieu for this – because of the overall emphasis on cost and further pressures such as a general bias against medical imaging. “These factors are making companies cautious about investments in innovation”, according to Prof. Hillman. For this set of reasons, innovations will be done rather strategically by companies, with an eye towards the cost and the potential return for the investment.

Care providers need to be careful about the technologies they may be interested in with regard to when they purchase and what the value will be to patients and to their individual institution. This really holds true for technological innovations in all fields of medicine including radiology.
“Today, new technologies tend to be disruptive”, summarized Prof. Hillman: radiologists may tend to be rather satisfied with how their business is progressing, not worrying too much about innovation. “But new technologies may well sneak up on you and put you out of business before you know it.”
In order to ensure they can continue being the provider, radiologists therefore need to “put their feet into waters” while doing their conventional work even if emerging technologies may appear to be crude and costly. Information about innovations will increasingly come from social networks and further online sources.

by Michael Reiter

 

10.03.2013

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