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RSNA Reminiscing

December 31, 2009
by Joe Marion
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Here I sit at the end of another interesting year for healthcare technology, reflecting on some recent reminiscing I did at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting at the end of November in Chicago.

A colleague of mine and I were kibitzing at one of the vendor receptions about the “good old days” of Computed Tomography (CT). We started rattling off all the names of the early CT vendors, and it really taxed the brain cells in a few instances -no easy task after a few drinks!. Does anyone remember EMI? Sure, that one was easy. But then, there was AS&E, Artronix, G. D. Searle, Pfizer, and Ohio Nuclear, not to mention some names that are still around, namely the big imaging companies. The same can be said for PACS vendors. Remember AT&T’s ComView? Or Raytel? Imation? Cemax-Icon? eMed?

The amazing thing is the number of companies that weren’t even absorbed into the big players of today. The list of companies that were is just as interesting, including Elscint, Picker, ALI, Acuson, etc. It seems as if there have been a lot of vendors that have come and gone over the years, only to be replaced by new ones – some of whom will not be there in subsequent years. Ah, the price of progress!

Thinking back to those days, I can relate to Mark Hagland’s 12/3 posting about the different atmosphere at past RSNA’s versus 2009. The world has certainly changed with respect to technology, and it certainly has had an effect on the RSNA and other major trade events.

Allow me a few moments to reminisce over past RSNA “buzz” that have long since died. Here are a few of my favorites. Remember when:

  1. v More images were displayed on film illuminated by backlit panels than electronically?
  2. v Film companies made up a significant amount of exhibit space – Kodak, Agfa, Fuji, Dupont
  3. v There was no mention of DICOM or HL7?
  4. v Electronic displays were all on Cathode Ray Tubes (remember those?), and not a single flat panel in sight
  5. v Ultrasound vendors hawked their wears with young ladies in wet tee shirts!
  6. v All the attendees (providers and vendors) wore business attire?
  7. v The Israeli company SmartLight was going to revolutionize film viewing with an alternator that used electronic collimators to reduce the background light, improving the accuracy and productivity of reading?
  8. v Imnet Systems was going to revolutionize image storage with an enterprise archival system?
  9. v StorComm tried to convince the world that capturing digitized X-Rays on analog optical discs was the answer to low-cost film storage?
  10. v Magnetic Resonance would make CT a thing of the past?

OK. Enough reminiscing . The point is that a lot of technology has come and gone to get us to where we are today. As we close out 2009, and anticipate healthcare reform in 2010, one can only wonder what impact it will have on imaging technology of the future?

Have a safe and happy New Year’s eve, and a prosperous New Year!

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