The Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting and trade show in Chicago last week was even bigger than last year's massive get-together, according to Dave Fellers, chief executive officer of the not-for-profit association.
Vendors and exhibitors paid $30 a square foot to book a record 485,000 square feet of convention floor space--more than 10 acres--which was up 8% from 2004, Fellers said. There were 722 exhibitors, also a record, and 134 new exhibitors, he said. As of Nov. 30, the fourth day of its six-day run, the show, billed as "the world's largest annual medical meeting," had already drawn 61,268 people, also a record, well over the six-day total of 60,338 last year. That's not bad for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based society, which has about 38,000-members.
About half the RSNA show attendees are professionals, including physicians, nurses and technicians, and the other half are exhibitors and guests, Fellers said. "It's the place where you get all of radiology under one roof," Fellers said.
Or multiple roofs. The show spread across all three buildings at Chicago's McCormick Place exposition center, with the largest CT and MRI vendors boasting enclosed display areas that were two stories high and as long as strip malls.
Naturally, cutting edge technology played a large role. Bruce Kaufman, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said he wasn't shopping for a scanner, but a clinical IT system that would allow him to see the images and reports from patients he'd referred to his colleagues in radiology.
The RSNA show was more than just a sales opportunity for vendors; it provided a venue for upwards of 3,000 scientific exhibits and presentations. Jonathon Silverstein, a surgeon and director of the Center for Clinical Information at the University of Chicago, was among several presenters showing off the prodigious bandwidth of Abilene, the network backbone of Internet 2, a technology consortium focused on high-speed data transmission.
Gregory Weinger, senior software engineer at the Medical Imaging Informatics Group at the University of California at Los Angeles, demonstrated an open-source software system for radiological images developed at his organization. "Open source is sort of a new movement and, if it takes off" the group's software could have the potential to become a real product for smaller organizations, he said. It "also provides a platform for adding research into these products," Weinger said.