The Year 2021 in Review

By JOHN PICKETT, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

This has to be the year of waiting for the next news cycle and searching for the key words that indicate ANYTHING is improving. Regardless of your opinion about “the virus” and whether it is real or not, to take the vaccine or not; the effect it has had on our society and the entire world has been profound.


We are nearly two years into this and despite personal loss and pain -innovation has triumphed. Who could imagine, in the imaging business, multiple professional meetings beginning in 2020 and extending into 2021 being “virtual?”


Interactions between the medical teams and the patients, where possible, turned to virtual. And even now, I dare say it may be more convenient to see your doctor on your phone versus in person. Yet, we are all adapting to the new “normal,” whatever that is currently.


In the face of adversity, Artificial Intelligence or AI has become a leading topic of interest in imaging. I remember when CAD was used in its infancy and developed to assist the radiologists in Mammography and other areas. And AI while it might sound like it came from a science fiction film, is just a natural extension. It is advancing as a real tool to assist our physicians in our care. Being a young technologist in the late 70’s I used the best tools I had at the time to do what I knew was the best that could be done. Computers with a 12 MB memory “platter” were the size of a small car (well maybe not that big) and the platter was big enough to put that Thanksgiving turkey on. Glad things aren’t that big anymore or we wouldn’t be able to get the CT, MR, and PET/CT systems we have in our fleet of mobiles. That fleet has grown 25% in the last year and continues to be in significant demand.


A whole new department and demand continues to expand in IT versus the facility maintenance folks who used to bring you a new multi-line telephone in the department. We literally cannot image anymore without IT/PACS teams creating an environment to store, share (across oceans), or whatever we need to do with our images.


There are a lot of sayings that relate to a rear-view mirror and the windshield of our car. I think it is appropriate to look with excited anticipation at the road ahead and stay focused, as we expect newer and even better advances in imaging in 2022.


Speaking of looking forward and not back, my colleague for well over 40 years here at Numed, Kitz Parker, is retiring from Numed the end of 2021. That is a long time in the same field much less the same company. Kitz has been instrumental in the growth and development of our company. We all warmly wish Kitz well in the next chapter of his life!

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