ACR Bulletin December 2018


News from the ACR and Beyond

White House Leadership Fellowship Awarded to Radiologist

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Michelle L. Dorsey, MD, is pictured in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Richard Skokowski, a White House Leadership Development Program Fellow.

Michelle L. Dorsey, MD, chief of radiology at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs (VA) Health System, has been named a recipient of the White House Leadership Fellowship. Dorsey, the first VA physician fellow, will spend a year in Washington, D.C., working in the White House Office of Management and Budget to provide programmatic leadership for the federal government’s customer experience cross-agency priority goal. According to Dorsey, “This fellowship will prepare me to develop transformative, collaborative programs that can make a genuine difference in the lives of veterans. In particular, I anticipate that my work in ‘customer experience’ will translate into actionable initiatives here in Phoenix to enhance veterans’ satisfaction with the delivery of care.”

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Final Read

Marnee M. Spierer

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Pictured left to right are Kimberley McDaniel, RN, Miriam Trejo, a breast cancer survivor, and Marnee M. Spierer, MD, at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Why is it important for radiologists to practice patient-centered care?

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Five Things I Want My Radiologist to Know

 A patient shares her insights into small things radiologists can do to make a big difference.

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My first cancer diagnosis came in August of 2008. Since then, I’ve been to five different hospitals in five different states. I’m living with ovarian cancer for the fourth time. In order to monitor my condition, I’ve had regular CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis for the last ten years. I’m also currently part of a clinical trial which has necessitated scans as frequently as every two months for the past two and a half years. Additionally, I have some brain irregularities that are monitored with regular MRIs. So I have had a lot of regular scanning at many different hospitals across the country — from big university hospitals to small community radiology sites.

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Class Act

Radiologists get a lesson in conveying empathy to patients.

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 Imagine your 6-month-old patient’s parents are anxiously waiting in the next room. Ultrasound images confirm a tumor in their son’s liver. Now, you must convey the bad news. But these aren’t actual parents.

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The Year in Quality and Safety

 The ACR Q&S team reviews the biggest highlights for 2018.

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Anjali Jha, a high school student in Washington, D.C., joined her mentor Ross W. Filice, MD, an associate professor and chief of imaging informatics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, to discuss the future of radiology at the 2018 ACR Quality and Safety Conference in Boston.
From accrediting digital beast tomosynthesis (DBT) to exploring AI at the ACR Annual Conference on Quality and Safety (Q&S), it’s been a big year for the College’s Q&S team.

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The Power of Communication

 ACR’s new curriculum for radiology residents is an experiential exercise in patient- and family-centered care.

Dec Carousel images-03.jpgLearn more about the Radiology Resident Communications Curriculum at
As value-based care becomes the new standard in today’s shifting healthcare environment, the role of communication in radiology is expanding. Effective communication is vital in demonstrating radiology’s value, particularly to patients, who oftentimes are not aware of the role radiologists play in their care. That’s why the ACR Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care recently launched the Radiology Resident Communications Curriculum, a free resource designed to teach residents effective interpersonal skills and help residency programs comply with communication requirements.

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Evaluation and Management Codes Are Relevant to Radiology

 Recent CMS changes could have primary and secondary consequences for the specialty.


 CMS has proposed a significant change to the evaluation and management (E/M) code set. This code set represents the highest volume/highest expenditure current procedural terminology (CPT®) code set in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) — totaling more than $47 billion in spending in 2017, which was approximately half of all MPFS spending. At first glance, this may seem relatively insignificant to the ACR, since clinical encounter codes are not necessarily at the core of what we do. But understanding the changes to the E/M code set may be germane to radiology at two levels:

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Battling Information Overload

How can radiologists achieve work-life balance amid the never-ending flow of updates?

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Courtney M. Tomblison, MD, reviews 3D printed coronal images of a patient’s face and sinuses during her diagnostic radiology residency at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Information has never been more accessible. Between conferences, medical journals, and social media, radiologists can find the newest research and start a dialogue with others in the field almost instantly. However, the pressure to stay perpetually up to date can have insidious consequences for radiologists attempting to balance the never-ending stream of technological advancements, their daily work, and their personal wellbeing. The term information overload, coined in 1971 by the writer Alvin Toffler, refers to a state of mental exhaustion, impaired decision-making, and dulled cognition that is a result of a constant influx of information. In a field as complex as radiology, the abundance of information and the expectations to stay abreast of clinical, policy, and practice management updates can sometimes prove counter-productive to quality patient care and radiologist well-being.

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The Times They Are a-Changin’

Recent developments could have a substantial impact on radiologists — particularly junior ones.

20180522-ACR18_dh-3432.jpgDaniel Ortiz, MD, ACR RFS Chair, Guest Columnist

The practice of radiology is drastically different than it was 30 years ago and will continue to evolve. A major trend has been practice consolidation, buyouts, and commercialization. The drivers of this trend include increased regulatory burden, including that associated with the MACRA legislation. Smaller private practices may struggle to build the infrastructure to meet these requirements and to compete as penalties start to ramp up in the coming years.

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Controlling the Narrative

How can social media advance radiologists’ careers?

Dec Carousel images-02.jpgAt RSNA 2017, Saad Ranginwala, MD, shared how the radiology department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital uses social media to drive engagement with patients, families, and the professional community.
Early in his career, Tirath Y. Patel, MD, (@TirathPatelMD) a radiologist at Houston Radiological Associates, came across Saurabh Jha, MBBS, (@RogueRad) an assistant professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, on Twitter. The two began conversing and although they had never met in person, formed a fast friendship. “Thanks to this relationship, I was able to be involved in scholarly projects with Dr. Jha,” says Patel.

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About Time

Radiologists are entering the conversation on end-of-life care to
support patient decision-making at a difficult time.

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After David Bowie lost his 18-month battle with liver cancer in 2016, Dr. Mark Taubert, a palliative care physician at Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales, U.K., penned a post-mortem thank you letter to the music icon. The unusual correspondence expressed Taubert’s thanks not only for Bowie’s musical contributions, but also for his advanced care planning and his use of palliative care and pain management professionals. Taubert suggested to Bowie in the letter that if he “ever were to return (as Lazarus did), you would be a firm advocate for good palliative care training.”

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