I look forward to future collaborations and to continuing our work with our AOSR colleagues
Describe your journey from AIIMS to being the President of RSNA.
I was born in New Delhi in a family of physicians and engineers. I am the youngest of six. After graduating from AIIMS, I came to the US with my husband Koneti Rao to pursue higher education. I completed my residency education in radiology at Thomas Jefferson University and got recruited by my chairman Jack Edeiken, MD to join the faculty to do head and neck radiology. Little did I know that Jefferson would become my home away from home. I enjoyed the challenge of bringing new emerging technologies such as CT and MRI to build a strong service at Jefferson. My next chairman David Levin, MD got me interested in health services research. Health services research became my second passion. I cherished presenting my research work both in head and neck radiology and health services at national meetings especially RSNA.
RSNA Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting became one of the most exciting events in my professional life year after year. Each year I looked forward to the meeting because this was the venue to see revolutionary technologies, innovation, and have an opportunity to participate in forums discussing cutting-edge science and education. I got invited to present refresher courses at RSNA, ASHNR and other meetings. I became more and more passionate about the mission of the RSNA, volunteered to serve on a variety of committees and then was fortunate enough to be appointed to the RSNA Research & Education Foundation board, and subsequently to the RSNA Board of Directors. Being named RSNA president is a privilege.
What innovative changes have taken place at RSNA?
The RSNA Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting grows bigger and better each year, with the latest technological innovations on the exhibition floor, more interactive Diagnosis Live sessions and expanded virtual meeting offerings. Innovation was front and centre at RSNA 2017 with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and machine learning. We had a dedicated area featuring machine learning education, as well as the machine learning showcase, which gave attendees the chance to view the latest in AI technology from vendors. The theme for RSNA 2018 is ‘Tomorrow’s Radiology Today,’ and we are looking forward to providing more groundbreaking radiology innovations in our sessions and on our show floor.
What future role do you envision between RSNA and AOSR?
One of RSNA’s core tenets is to foster collaborations with other groups and societies. We have had a number of successful partnerships and collaborations with our international colleagues, and I value the relationship we have with the AOSR.
In 2016, RSNA and AOSR jointly sponsored the RSNA/ AOSR Symposium, which addressed a growing health issue of concern on both continents: liver cancer. The symposium was held at both AOCR and the RSNA annual meeting and was very well received. In 2018, the RSNA/ AOSR joint symposium—to be presented at AOCR in January 2018 and RSNA 2018—will be on multi-modality of head and neck imaging.
In 2017, our societies jointly organised an RSNA International Visiting Professor (IVP) programme in Malaysia, marking the first such collaboration in the IVP programme’s history. In 2018, a joint RSNA/AOSR IVP team will visit Indonesia.
I look forward to future collaborations and to continuing our work with our AOSR colleagues to strengthen radiology around the world with the shared goal of optimising patient care.
What advice would you like to give for radiologists from the Asian OCEANIAN region?
It is critically important that policymakers and radiologists identify and follow trends in utilisation, cost and quality of imaging. We must always be asking ourselves how imaging influences patient care and how our quality improvement efforts affect outcomes. While practice patterns and policies vary from country to country, radiologists everywhere should explore ways to add value and help reduce waste in healthcare.
On the research side, artificial intelligence is an emerging trend to which we all must pay attention and employ to improve patient care. Artificial intelligence applications hold the promise not only to benefit research and education, but also to ease manpower shortages and make radiologists more effective, quantitative and precise in diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
What has been the most useful innovation in radiology?
There have been so many. Technological innovations such as ultrasound, CT, MRI and PET have revolutionised the field of imaging. More recently, the advent of precision medicine has brought about many remarkable imaging technologies. Combining imaging biomarkers with genomic information may increase imaging utilisation.
I think artificial intelligence applications are already proving themselves extremely useful in radiology, and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. Artificial intelligence applications provide tools to make us more efficient, freeing up time for radiologists to become more visible and patient-centered. This will allow us to make a more meaningful contribution to personalised medicine in the years to come.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your field of speciality?
Currently, the way radiology practice is structured in the US, emphasis is placed on volume. Policymakers lack understanding of imaging’s contribution to patient care, as well as the array of services that radiologists provide. To continue down this path would be disastrous for our speciality. That is why it is imperative that we transition to a value-based model of care, where radiologists are actively consulting with patients and their referring physicians as part of the healthcare team.