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SIIM 2019 Annual Meeting Recap



It’s rush hour and you’re running late for an important meeting. You order a ride from your phone, head to the nearest helipad two minutes away, and catch a ride from the flying autonomous taxi you ordered. With little to no air traffic, you arrive at the meeting with minutes to spare.

Are we there yet? Unfortunately, the reality of autonomous flying artificially intelligent taxis remains many years away, but the research, applications, and overall hype of AI in radiology is booming. Regardless of which sessions you attended at the 2019 Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) annual meeting in Aurora, Colo., you likely heard about AI in some form. Sessions ranged from those focused on scientific research and hands-on learning labs to discussions on the ethics, economics, and FDA considerations for AI implementation. AI was everywhere.

Beyond the Hype and Back to the Patient Perspective

The meeting kicked off with an emotional story from keynote speaker, Allison Massari, who survived a terrible accident which burned over 50 percent of her body. In her inspiring address, she reminded the audience that compassionate patient care can take many forms, including employing advanced software techniques to improve a patient’s outcomes.

In line with the theme of using advanced technologies and AI to meet the needs of our patients, Charles E. Kahn Jr., MD, MS, FACR, from the University of Pennsylvania Health System, was awarded the closing keynote Dwyer Lectureship, and discussed the challenges ahead in assuring that the AI systems we deploy are accurate, safe, ethical and effective.

Residents, Fellows, and Doctoral Student Community

Since its inception in 2018, the SIIM Residents, Fellows, and Doctoral Student (RFDS) community has seen considerable growth, in part due to its emphasis on scholarship and mentorship. At SIIM19, RFDS perks included informal chats with informatics leaders, an RFDS lounge with plenty of snacks, and a networking meetup. Many RFDS members also played key roles at the meeting serving as session chairs and moderators, in keeping with SIIM’s mission to develop RFDS members into leaders in imaging informatics.

Trainee Research Awards at SIIM19

Each year, a small number of trainee presenters receive the New Investigator Travel Award for outstanding scientific abstracts. This year’s recipients were Huy M. Do, MD, from the National Institutes of Health, Jack W. Luo from McGill University, Ish A. Talati, MS, from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and Walter F. Wiggins MD, PhD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The Best Scientific Paper Award went to Jen-Tang Lu, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital, for his work entitled, “Deep AAA: Automated Detection of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Using Deep Learning”. His group achieved high performance using a deep learning algorithm for AAA detection on contrast and non-contrast CT scans.

The Roger A. Bauman award, which honors Dr. Bauman’s contributions to imaging informatics and his role as Founding Editor of the Journal of Digital Imaging, was awarded to Andreas M. Rauschecker, MD, PhD, a neuroradiology fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. His group’s work showed that an AI system can automatically detect brain lesions, quantify important characteristics, and combine these features into differential diagnoses at the level of subspecialist academic neuroradiology attendings.

Pneumothorax Challenge

One of the most exciting announcements at SIIM19 was the launch of the Pneumothorax Challenge. The ACR, SIIM, and the Society of Thoracic Radiology (STR), along with imaging AI developer MD.ai, have joined forces to host this challenge. The top 10 teams with the best-performing algorithms will be awarded a total of $30,000 in prize money. Currently, there are 1,062 teams in the running, and the winning algorithms will be open-sourced.

Hackathon #SIIMHacks

Hacking has become a tradition at the annual meeting. Each year SIIM hosts a Hackathon, and over the course of the meeting teams conceive an idea, collaborate to write the software code, and ultimately showcase their applications on the last day of the conference.

This year, a multi-institutional team, including members Arseny Osemin, Alejandra Castelblanco, Les Folio, Do Huy, and Oge Marques, collaborated on a projected entitled, “PACS Man,” and took home both 1st place and the People’s Choice Award. Their winning code allowed users to segment lesions in a game environment accessible from a phone or computer. The application served as a prototype of a crowd sourcing platform where training set images can be uploaded for the users to help with annotation.

Innovation Challenge

Launched in 2016, the SIIM Innovation Challenge offers recipients a $10,000 prize to bring an innovative idea to fruition, strengthen product development, and gain access to valuable resources through the SIIM network. This year’s winner was Kim-Ann Git, MD, from Selayang Hospital in Selangor, Malaysia, for her work on US annotation using AI. Dr. Git also received a grant to attend SIIM19 as part of the first “inbound” SIIM Global Ambassador Program.

Women in Imaging Informatics & #RadXX

Women in imaging informatics face unique difficulties including pay inequities, challenges to upward career mobility, and unconscious bias. In an effort to address these disparities and provide strategies for improvement, SIIM19 dedicated several sessions to this topic, and hosted distinguished faculty including Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, chair of the ACR BOC and leader of the #RADxx movement, adjunct professor and engineer Teri M. Sippel Schmidt, and session co-chairs Tessa S. Cook, MD, PhD, and Amy L. Kotsenas, MD, FACR. A large #RADxx networking event sponsored by Ambra Health was also held at the meeting.


Have you ever attended a meeting and realized that multiple interesting sessions were happening at the same time? I know I have! SIIM has found a solution through SIIM University (SIIMU), its online learning platform. Newly launched at this meeting, if you registered and attended the meeting, and completed the post-meeting survey, you will receive a code which can be used starting August 2019 to access all of the SIIM19 session recordings.

A Glimpse Into the Future

SIIM19 made it clear that innovation and technological advancements will continue to find their way into interpretative and non-interpretative aspects of radiology. As we move beyond the AI hype to focus on current and future practical applications, radiology residents and fellows who adapt and embrace AI will be poised to lead this transformational change within our field.

I hope you will join me at the 40th anniversary #SIIM20 meeting in Austin, Texas!

 Teresa Martin-Carreras, MD, is a 5th year radiology resident and Imaging Informatics Fellow at the Hospital of the Univ. of Pennsylvania.

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