Are you ready for the SIIM annual meeting?

por Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | June 14, 2024
Health IT
Paul Yi
Dr. Paul Yi is the director of the University of Maryland Medical Intelligent Imaging (UM2ii) Center, as well as the vice-chair of the SIIM Annual Program Planning Committee. So, who better to talk to in order to find out what's happening with imaging informatics, and what attendees can expect at the upcoming Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine annual meeting?

HCB News: What inspired you to get into healthcare and more specifically, into imaging informatics?
Dr. Paul Yi: I was inspired to enter healthcare as a physician initially because of a sports injury in high school. I originally intended to become an orthopaedic surgeon and completed 2 years of residency before switching specialties to radiology. But the common thread between the two was being able to help alleviate human suffering and improve the lives of people as a result.

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How I got into imaging informatics was a bit of serendipity. When I switched into radiology residency, I had a long-standing interest in clinical research from my orthopaedic days, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on. In 2017, I met an ophthalmologist from Singapore named Daniel Ting -- who was doing a Fulbright Scholarship at Johns Hopkins, where I was doing my residency. Daniel had been doing AI work in imaging of the eye for a few years prior to that and introduced me to this new thing called ‘deep learning.’ I didn’t know much about it, but Daniel insisted it would change medicine across all fields, including radiology. And so I started looking into this AI thing and my eyes were opened to the possibilities of this technology to transform the practice of radiology. I decided then to focus my research efforts into AI and informatics, and the rest is history.

HCB News: How long have you been a member of SIIM?
PY: I have been a member of SIIM for roughly 7 years, starting as a Member-in-Training during my radiology residency and continuing to this day. It’s been my primary professional society and where I have felt most ‘at home.’ In some ways, this is where I have ‘grown up’ professionally starting as a resident member and now serving as the Vice Chair of the Annual Meeting Program Planning Committee.

HCB News: Who should consider joining the society?
PY: Anyone interested in the development, translation, and applications of technology in medical imaging. SIIM Is extremely diverse with representation of MD physicians (both radiologists and non-radiologists!), PhD scientists, and IT professionals – we don’t have any single ‘phenotype’ and welcome fresh and diverse perspectives. Whatever your interests, be them clinical, research, or something in between, you’ll find a welcoming environment and community at SIIM.

HCB News: What are some big developments in imaging informatics over the last year?
PY: Probably the biggest development in imaging informatics, like pretty much all other fields, is the advent of Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT. These massive models which have been expanded to handle multimodal data (images, video, etc., in addition to text), have demonstrated incredible potential to perform a wide variety of tasks that could transform imaging informatics.

Another big ‘development’ was the importance of cybersecurity, which we unfortunately saw as a field in security breaches of major imaging informatics companies that resulted n delays in patient care and a lot of lost revenue. This is not so much a new development, as one that became more widely recognized.

HCB News: Are imaging informatics professionals more integrated into the mainstream day-to-day of healthcare organizations than they have been in the past?
PY: Absolutely. In the past, imaging informatics professionals may have been seen as a niche kind of group. But as technologies like the PACS have become more woven into the fabric of large healthcare systems, the imaging informatics professional has become a vital part of these organizations. Case in point, several SIIM members who started out as Vice Chairs of Informatics in Departments of Radiology are now serving C-Suite roles at hospital or health systems levels, e.g., Chief Medical Information Officer.

HCB News: Are there any particular sessions or presentations you're excited about at the upcoming meeting?
PY: First, the ‘pre-meeting’ sessions have a lot of focused content that many attendees might not be aware of. This is on the day before the formal meeting (Wednesday, 6/26/24), and has a few meetings: 1) 2024 SIIM-ACR Data Science Summit, 2) Imaging Informatics Professional Bootcamp, and 3) SIIM Epic Users Group Meeting. For anyone with a focused interest in these topics, it’s a more relaxed and intimate setting to learn and connect. I will also be giving the Keynote Talk for the SIIM-ACR Data Science Summit, which I am personally looking forward to.

For the formal meeting, we have some amazing speakers and presentations. I am excited about our phenomenal keynote speakers, who will cover topics ranging from the bioethics of AI in medical imaging (Kadija Ferryman, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Public Health) to ‘Random Acts of Medicine’ – how big data and statistics can help us uncover hidden truths about healthcare and society (Anupam ‘Bapu’ Jena, MD, PhD of Harvard Medical School and the Freakonomics MD podcast). Our Dwyer Lecture is an annual crowdpleaser by one of our SIIM Fellows – this year J. Raym Geis, MD will be closing out the meeting with a forward-looking talk about how we can use AI to create intelligent medical imaging systems beyond technical proofs-of-concepts.

Beyond the keynotes, I’m excited about the scientific sessions, which will cover a wide range of topics, including ‘AI Optimization and Fairness’ and ‘Patient Education.’ I’m also looking forward to the various educational sessions, including ‘AI at the Heart of Academia – Commercial Solutions for Efficiency & Outcomes,’ ‘Multimodal LLMs Learning Lab,’ and ‘Harnessing Large Language Models (LLMs) in Healthcare’s Digital Frontier.’

Last, but not least, the networking and community events are probably my favorite part of the meeting. Don’t miss out on the SIIM 24 Welcome Reception on Wednesday evening and the SIIMFund Silent Auction on Thursday evening! It’ll be a blast.

HCB News: How is imaging informatics going to change over the next five years?
PY: Honestly, I am not sure. The technologies in the world keep changing so quickly, whether it’s LLMs or the actual computational hardware available. I feel like any prediction I can make will almost assuredly be wrong.

That said, I do think broadly speaking, we will see imaging informatics become more interdisciplinary, spanning fields that traditionally were siloed. SIIM started originally as a radiology-focused group, but we have branched out to groups like the Digital Pathology Association, and I believe we will continue to do so. What will result from these partnerships and collaborations will be more sophisticated and creative ways of doing imaging informatics. What that will look like exactly, time will tell. But I am very excited for it.

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