Practical Applications in MRI

The ACR's annual MRI conference promises access to the leaders driving the technological change.practical applications

This year’s Annual MRI Conference will bring imaging experts together with technical experts in small group settings to foster an understanding of rapidly changing MRI technologies.

The Bulletin sat down with the conference’s program chair, Diego R. Martin, MD, PhD, to gain a better understanding of this year’s offerings.

Q: What new advances in MRI technology are critical for radiologists to know about?

A: MRI technology is evolving to become more plug-and-play with user interfaces that make utilization and results more reproducible between centers, in particular to achieve greater consistency between centers with different levels of experience. The result will be to drive up value and drive down cost, further exploiting the potential of MRI to impact the health outcomes of our patients.

Multiple facets of MRI technology are evolving, including biomarker measurements of disease, the ability to compensate for patient motion, and the ability to consistently reduce the patient room time per exam.

Q: Why should radiologists and practice managers attend?

A: MRI technologies and applications change rapidly from year to year, and there is a need to have those driving the technology and those using the technology meet together in a forum where everyone can communicate these updates. In addition, it is important that the technology drivers provide guidance to radiologists and their respective imaging team members, including administrative and technical staff.

An additional incentive to come is that the course design is a phase 1 component for education. The composition includes both didactic lectures and small-group sessions. These interactive sessions delve into the practical aspects of how to acquire high-quality MRI scans quickly. The objective is to lay the foundation for learning how to build or fully optimize an existing MRI practice.

The course is designed to interface with the ACR Education Center courses, which represents phase 2 of the learning process offered by the ACR. Learning Center courses that complement this didactic course include the courses on the abdomen and pelvis and on musculoskeletal disease. In addition, CME and SAM credits are available to provide an added incentive. We believe that at this time no other organization provides such a comprehensive and practical teaching environment.

Q: What’s new about this year’s conference?

A: The conference will feature breakout sessions in the afternoon focused on body, neuro, and MSK MRI. This will allow attendees to interact with leading experts in smaller groups to learn about optimization techniques, MRI system set-up, and study execution. Attendees will also participate in interactive case reviews.

Q: What makes this conference different from other educational opportunities?

A: Increased access to technical experts in small-group settings will be a key component of the conference. These experts are there to openly share their tips and tricks for improving MRI practices and for growing MRI services. This information is applicable to many imaging centers. This course is more practical than other traditional didactic courses or lecture series offered at many other meetings.

Q: What key, cutting-edge ideas, information, and techniques will attendees take away from this year’s meeting?

A: Attendees will learn about automated and fast-scanning techniques, strategies for making MRI a more viable component to an imaging practice, and new areas of technology and applications in MRI. Examples include the six-minute stroke protocol, quantitative imaging of liver disease, and advances in noncontrast angiography.

Q: What is the advantage of learning about body, neuro, and MSK MRI in one conference instead of focusing on just one aspect?

A: The main advantage is that we’re offering a one-stop shop. The emphasis of the conference will be on body, as this is the most underutilized and generally most requested area of emphasis by our ACR membership. However, covering all areas of MRI ties together how to build or further expand the MRI component within an imaging practice.

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