Radiology and public health have an emerging opportunity to collaborate, in which radiology's vast supply of imaging data can be integrated into public health information systems for epidemiologic assessments and responses to population health problems. Fueling the linkage of radiology and public health include (i) the transition from analog film to digital formats, enabling flexible use of radiologic data; (ii) radiology's role in imaging across nearly all medical and surgical subspecialties, which establishes a foundation for a consolidated and uniform database of images and reports for public health use; and (iii) the use of radiologic data to characterize disease patterns in a population occupying a geographic area at one time and to characterize disease progression over time via follow-up examinations. The backbone for this integration is through informatics projects such as Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms and RadLex constructing terminology libraries and ontologies, as well as algorithms integrating data from the electronic health record and Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine Structured Reporting. Radiology's role in public health is being tested in disease surveillance systems for outbreak detection and bioterrorism, such as the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics. Challenges for radiologic public health informatics include refining the systems and user interfaces, adhering to privacy regulations, and strengthening collaborative relations among stakeholders, including radiologists and public health officials. Linking radiology with public health, radiologic public health informatics is a promising avenue through which radiology can contribute to public health decision making and health policy.
- Imaging informatics
- disease surveillance
- electronic medical record
- health information technology
- health policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging