Big data, AI look set to come under scrutiny at ECR 2018
An Interview with Prof. B. Hamm on the next ECR
August 28, 2017 -- Big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and
radiomics will be among the hot topics at ECR 2018. The meeting is
only six months away, and in this interview, ECR President
Dr. Bernd Hamm looks ahead to the central themes on the agenda
Hamm is professor of radiology and chairman of all three merged
departments of radiology at the Charité, Humboldt-Universität zu
Berlin, and Freie Universität (Campus Mitte, Campus
Virchow-Klinikum, and Campus Benjamin Franklin). He is also
president of the European Society of Radiology (ESR) and clinical
director of the Charité Center, which includes radiology,
neuroradiology, nuclear medicine, and medical physics.
ECR 2018 will take place from 28 February to 4 March in
Vienna. Which aspects would you like to recommend to your
Dr. Bernd Hamm is professor of radiology and chairman of all
three merged departments of radiology at the Charité,
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Freie Universität. Image
courtesy of the ESR.
Hamm: The current hot topics in radiology are big data
(challenges and risks when dealing with ever larger amounts and
varieties of data), artificial intelligence, and radiomics. These
are exciting issues that we have to deal with in the near future by
recognizing the potential these developments have for us in terms
of improving the quality of our work and patient care. We need not
fear them as threats. I firmly believe that radiologists will
always have a pivotal role in both diagnostic and interventional
therapeutic patient management. And I also firmly believe our
specialty will benefit from these developments. Innovations mean
advancement -- a case in point in radiology is hybrid imaging,
which will be another focus at ECR 2018.
Another ECR format gaining significance that I would like to
recommend to my colleagues is the "Clinical Trials in Radiology"
sessions. These sessions are a platform for presenting the most
recent prospective studies and results of multicenter trials. This
is a true asset in the era of evidence-based medicine in
Furthermore, I hope that ECR 2018 will again be remembered for a
grand opening ceremony, the honorary lectures, the social events,
and most of all for a spirit of friendship and open-mindedness. The
essence of the ECR is to provide a platform where the presentation
of high-quality scientific and educational content goes hand in
hand with initiating and deepening professional contacts,
networking, and making new friends.
Which new and unusual features will be seen at ECR
The ECR has a worldwide reputation for tackling new challenges
and always being open to, and even introducing, innovations. For
instance, we started to present our lectures via livestream years
ago. Nowadays, not only are all lectures streamed live, but they
can also be viewed after the congress, via ECR Online for
12 months, until the next congress. In 2017, already almost 6,000
ESR members attended the congress remotely. Digital ECR attendance
is on the rise and meets the demands of our members.
For ECR 2018, we are going to use ECR Live to offer a
special service to our colleagues in China: 50 scientists from
various Chinese provinces will come to Vienna and translate 500
selected presentations into Mandarin. These presentations will then
be available with Mandarin subtitles, on demand, after the congress
in China via ECR Online. This will certainly provide the
ECR with an even bigger global presence. I am very much looking
forward to seeing how this turns out and eager to see what the
feedback will be. This is important for getting more people
interested in our society and promoting international
Further new ideas I would like to highlight refer to new formats
we are presenting. At ECR 2018 we will provide a platform for
residents and young radiologists who would like to present their
thesis as a first author, in a dynamic and entertaining scientific
session. These can be presented to an international audience in a
concise and catchy way in a brand new session titled "My Thesis in
3 Minutes -- MyT3".
Anyone who would like to present their thesis in such a "speedy"
focused manner is encouraged to apply. For this new format we have
rented a spectacular new location, the Sky High Stage, overlooking
the Austria Center and providing a magnificent view of Vienna from
the top of the nearby Saturn Tower.
"Coffee & Talk" sessions are another new format. In a
relaxed atmosphere in one of the Austria Center's stylish lounges,
short lectures and discussions will be offered on topics such as
clinical decision support, challenges for department chairs,
undergraduate teaching of radiology, radiation protection, and
imaging biobanks. Participants are invited to stop by and
contribute to the informal discussions while sipping their coffee
In addition, I am anxious to see how our new project
"Interventional Radiology at the Cube" will turn out. For this we
have rented rooms in a nearby church, a contemporary architectural
gem in a cuboid form, made of dark chromium steel; hence the term
the Cube. The program there is intended to introduce young
radiologists to the fascinating subspecialty of interventional
radiology (IR), and to provide enhanced knowledge of IR to
radiologists who need it in their everyday professional life.
Lectures and hands-on workshops focus on interaction with the
participants, simulating clinical routine and concentrating on
As a motto for ECR 2018 you chose "Diverse and United."
Could you tell us a little about this?
Radiology is such a diverse specialty, ranging from more and
more refined diagnostic options to image-guided minimally invasive
treatment options. Our specialty has something to offer for all of
us and also for future generations of physicians, radiographers,
and students. However, like in a mosaic, it is the connection of
all the pieces that create the big picture. By using this metaphor,
I wish to express my sincere wish and hope that, despite these
different and interesting facets and subspecialties, radiologists
should see themselves as a community and join forces to strengthen
our specialty in the best interest of our patients.
Abstract submission for ECR 2018 is still open until 10
October. The ECR has managed to maintain a high number, and more
importantly, a high level of scientific abstracts over the years,
even achieving a new record in the number of submissions for ECR
Yes, that is very encouraging; it confirms our commitment and
proves the level of high quality compared with international
standards. Apart from the "classic" scientific abstract for a paper
presentation, I would like to make sure potential submitters are
aware of our modern presentation formats, such as "The Voice of
EPOS", a platform for poster authors to present their posters in
person, or our completely new format at ECR 2018, "My Thesis in 3
Minutes -- MyT3", as already mentioned.
For radiology residents and trainee radiographers, the "Invest
in the Youth" support program is of special interest. The ESR
offers 1,000 places to young ESR members who submit a scientific
abstract. Successful applicants receive free registration for the
ECR and up to four nights' hotel accommodation.
I am sure there are presentation opportunities for anyone who
would like to be involved in the congress.
Over the last couple of years the ECR has increased its
appeal to radiographers. Where do you see further potential for
I see it as an obligation to commit ourselves even more to this
and important steps have already been taken. Daily clinical
radiology is teamwork, and radiographers are crucial members of the
team. We are planning to pay more attention to the needs and
interests of radiographers at the ECR in the future. To this end,
we are in contact with the European Federation of Radiographer
Societies (EFRS) and the national radiographer societies to tailor
special sections of the program to their specific interests. As
many radiographers see language as a major obstacle to attending
the ECR, we are again offering sessions for radiographers
simultaneously translated into French, German, Italian, and
In addition, we have initiated a new support program
specifically for radiographers: "Shape your Skills" is dedicated to
radiographers at the beginning of their career and supports 500
professionals by giving them free registration for the ECR and two
nights' hotel accommodation.
More information on ECR 2018 is available at www.myESR.org.
Last updated: Monday, August 28, 2017