The number of certified imaging informatics professionals (CIIP) who have earned certification through the American Board of Imaging Informatics (ABII) continues to grow. In fact, according to the ABII, 90 CIIPs passed the most recent certification examination, raising the total number of people who have earned the designation to 1,024.
In a recent interview with Diagnostic Imaging, Paul Nagy, quality director at Johns Hopkins University radiology and radiological sciences department, explained exactly how such professionals are adding value to radiology departments. He called CIIPs the "chief technology officer[s] of the radiology group," saying that they are highly involved in the decision making regarding IT systems such radiology information systems and PACS. Their main responsibility, he added, is to ensure smooth operation of such systems--a proposition he called "lose-lose," since no one notices them unless a breakdown occurs.
"It's only when there's trouble--like when the PACS is broken--that you're likely to see people," Nagy said. "[T]hen, they only associate you with negative events, and they don't think you're doing your job."
The key role for a CIIP, Nagy said, is as a value innovator--someone who can analyze data from systems like a RIS or PACS to help improve efficiency, productivity and patient safety. "I think CIIPs are well positioned to do this because they can bridge the technical and the clinical," Nagy said.
Of course, that will only happen if the CIIP is able to totally integrate him or herself into a radiology practice or department. If a CIIP is "too passive," he or she won't be seen as part of a solution, Nagy said, and instead will be viewed as more of a data entry support person.
Nagy said that in order to increase their value CIIPs should do what they can to understand the challenges faced by radiology in today's healthcare environment--such as dealing with issues related to declining reimbursements or the quality requirements of the joint commission--so that they are "part of all conversations."