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William Brennan, M.A., R.T.(R)(CT)(ARRT), CIIP
Senior Systems Engineer
New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

William (Bill) Brennan is in the enviable position of having left a job he enjoyed to take a job that he enjoys just as much.

As a former radiography educational program director, he loved teaching — especially that moment when the proverbial “light bulb” appeared over the head of a student who had been wrestling with a difficult concept. Today, he enthusiastically describes his move to PACS as getting in on the ground floor of the most important next step in radiology.

Put another way, he’s the radiology department’s “chief cook and bottle washer” as well as “occasional fire fighter.”

The cooking-and-bottle-washing reference translates into daily responsibilities for Bill: making sure all systems are running, that studies from the previous day have been read, and verifying and resolving problems with images. The fires he fights tend to involve password issues, connectivity problems and hardware failures.

Those skills areas worked together when his institution recently added a facility that had its own radiology department with IT systems different from theirs. “Integrating them into our PACS system brings new challenges,” he says, “and continues to be a learning experience for all involved.”

Where to from the ground floor? Bill plans to ride the crest of imaging informatics advances. “We’re evolving at a geometric rate, with the continual demand for increasing amounts of data showing no signs of slowing down,” he says. “New modalities will continue to come on line and the number and complexity of images they will create are going to require better hardware and infrastructure to support them.”

Asked to go out on a limb with five- and 10-year forecasts for the field, Bill declines, saying, “If the recent past is any indication of the future, predicting even a few years from now would be an exercise in science fiction.” Throw in the hard reality of cost and the not-yet-realized full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, he adds, and the possibilities are seemingly endless.

One of his favorite quotes — and it’s been key to his career path — is from Teddy Roosevelt:  “When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!” Then get busy and find out how to do it.” As for additional advice Bill would offer those contemplating entering the profession:  “Get your education in the basics, but don’t ever be afraid to try new things — and always realize that you have more to learn.”

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