The roles of picture archiving and communication system administrators and radiology information system administrators is changing as they need a new skill--data analyst, says Christopher Meenan, M.D., director of clinical informatics for diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “The ability of these folks to understand and interpret data for their leadership is becoming critical.”

These administrators know the data that they have; the challenge is how to get it out of the systems, structure it in usable formats, synthesize the data and provide a uniform view of insights to leadership. Meenan will co-present an educational session at SIIM2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine, to teach the basics of data mining and explain how SIIM’s Workflow Initiative in Medicine, called SWIM, can support analytics.

SWIM is a project to establish a lexicon, or naming convention, to describe the workflow for medical imaging. For instance, vendors of radiology systems use different terms for the same functions; an exam is “ended” in one system, but “completed” in another, and that makes it tough to compare timesheets. So, SWIM is an attempt to standardize verbiage of the workflow processes of an imaging examination, Meenan explains.

But much of the session will be an analytics tutorial, explaining useful tools for data mining and then holding a data mining exercise from a sample dataset. The goal for the presenters is simple, Meenan says. “We want them to walk away with the belief that this is something they can do, that they are empowered with their own data and can interpret the data.”

The Tools of the Trade Learning Lab, “Getting Your Hands Dirty Using BI Tools,” is scheduled at 1:15 p.m. on June 8. More information is available at

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