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Q&A with Dr. David Hirschorn, organizer of NYMIIS

Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | September 14, 2015
Dr. David Hirschorn
From the September 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

With health care informatics playing an ever-increasing role in medicine, it makes sense that the New York Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium, which will be held on Sept. 21, has steadily grown over the years. The event, established by Dr. David Hirschorn, the director of radiology informatics at Staten Island University Hospital, began in 2010 as somewhat of an East coast supplement to SIIM. We spoke with Hirschorn to learn more.

HCBN: How did NYMIIS come about?
DH:
I find technology marches on and there is great technology out there for hospitals to use; and the main reason they don’t is because they just don’t know what’s out there. It changes so fast, too, so it’s important to get educated.

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I’ve gone to SIIM since 2000. I started NYMIIS in 2010. I was very involved in informatics and I noticed that it never came to New York City. It’s an expensive city to travel to. So we made it a regional meeting for people that live nearby. It’s intentionally set for about six months off from SIIM so that it doesn’t compete with timing.

HCBN: Do you have a link to SIIM?
DH:
I advertise through their newsletter and I make mention of SIIM to our audience every year. But we’re just a meeting, not an organization. They’re much larger, more varied and do activities throughout the year, so there are other resources they have to offer. I also talk about RSNA and the American College of Radiology.

HCBN: Do you put presentations online?
DH:
Every year we put up the slides that the authors are willing to publish (usually almost all of them). They’re up for months afterward for people to download and go through. Yet, the whole point of the symposium is to get what you usually wouldn’t get from just the slides and get the chance to ask questions. The event is small and intimate.

Attendees aren’t 20 rows back . . . the back row is only like six rows back. So any attendee is not too far back from the speaker and it encourages interaction. That’s also why we have a good 45 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes of questions.

HCBN: Anything new and exciting at this year’s show?
DH:M
This is the first year we’ve put out a call for abstracts and we’ll have evening cocktails and an award ceremony to recognize the top submissions, with cash prizes for first, second and third place. There is also a vendor panel where the discussion will be about image enabling the EMR.

HCBN: What are your overall goals or top priorities for NYMIIS?
DH:
The goal is to raise consciousness about the importance of including images in medical records. Raising recognition that there’s a need and ways to fill that need. I also hope to impress upon the crowd the perspective of the CIO, and in order to do that we try to have at least one present each year so people can appreciate that perspective and recognize what they have to deal with, and to help them help you. An every-year goal is to give attendees information in the lecture hall on the latest in informatics and best practices. Then they can go to the marketplace and find what works for them. I’m careful to maintain neutrality and not suggest one vendor over another. Attendees can compare one against each other.

HCBN: What are the biggest challenges you face when producing the event?
DH:
Pulling it all together! Getting all the venders on board is challenging. Getting the speakers is the easiest part since there’s a network of people I work with. Getting together the Web site, vendors. Advertising and signup. This year, I also created a call for abstracts.

HCBN: How have things changed since that first event?
DH:
It’s gotten a little bigger each year. We’re hanging at about 250 people. When we started it was closer to 200. I’d argue that it’s not quantity, but quality — the people we get are decision makers — CEOs, physicians, CIOs, highly influential in the field. What has not changed is that we’ve always been at the Marriott. They’re happy to have our business. The number of vendors has definitely grown. Last year, we had 26 vendors. First year, probably about a dozen. We used to have seven lectures for credit. I took one away a couple of years ago for a non-credit activity — a vendor or customer panel with questions from the audience.

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