Preparing for the Future
The RFS Journal Club brings together members-in-training to learn about radiology economics now and going forward.
I often hear from radiology residents that they’d like to be more involved in the College’s economics advocacy efforts and that they need to know more about the payment policy process.
My first recommendation is always that residents should connect with the ACR’s Resident and Fellow Section (RFS) as well as that of their state chapter. The RFS website has some excellent resources on imaging economics contributed by former RFS shining lights and current ACR rising stars, like Charles W. Bowkley III, MD. In addition, the sense of community in the RFS is invaluable for the future of our profession.
As I took on the responsibilities of chairing the Commission on Economics in 2012, I wanted to make sure we nurtured economics volunteers and leaders of the future. Adding residents to our economics committees didn’t seem to fit the bill. I wanted to create a program specific to our members-in-training that would accomplish the dual goals of getting them involved and teaching them about imaging economics.
With that in mind, I worked with then RFS Chair C. Matthew Hawkins, MD, and staff liaison Trina Madison on the concept of a virtual journal club. Almost two years later, we are going strong, and it is easily the most fun thing I do as chair of the Commission on Economics. Jonathan Flug, MD, MBA, current RFS chair, has taken the baton, and I hope the journal club will now be a long-running fixture.
Every other month we choose a topic, select two or three articles, and ask a guest host to join us. Each article is presented in summary by a resident, and a lively discussion follows. Residents participating on the call have heard James V. Rawson, MD, FACR, chair of radiology at Georgia Regents University and chair of our Committee on Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System, and Richard Duszak Jr., MD, FACR, chief medical officer of the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, weigh in on imaging utilization management after residents presented the duo’s excellent articles on the topic.
In January 2013, David Lee, head of health economics at GE, graciously moderated a discussion on pricing based on his own work as well as the classic RAND Health Insurance Experiment. A visit to give resident grand rounds at the Mallinkrodt Institute gave me the opportunity to invite Ronald G. Evens, MD, FACR, to join us last May. Evens is the former chair of radiology at Washington University and was the very first chair of the Commission on Economics. He shared the breadth of his perspective with our journal club, showing where policy has changed and where thorny issues have remained.
David C. Levin, MD, FACR, is professor and chair emeritus of radiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as well as a co-chair of our Future Trends Committee. The RFS leadership asked him to moderate a discussion about self-referral. This is a topic about which much has been written, and the discussion was innovative and educational.
Alan D. Kaye, MD, FACR, former council speaker and a member of the Commission on Economics, gave the group a valuable private-practice perspective when he guest hosted a discussion on non-traditional ways of perceiving the value of radiology. That night’s journal club was a little quieter than most as we had many participants who joined from the library and had to talk softly. I felt as if we must be doing something right to have them make time a couple of days before their board exams!
Most recently, last November Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, vice chair of the Board of Chancellors and my predecessor as chair of the Commission on Economics, led a journal club meeting based on the Imaging 3.0™ initiative he has spearheaded. The residents were delighted to have the input of ACR leadership. And Allen, like all of our guest hosts, commented that he came away having learned as much from the residents as he hoped they had learned from him. I could not agree more. Whether it is understanding the ways in which we can deliver value or thinking creatively about how to increase our relevance, our members-in-training have a fresh perspective that is invigorating and inspiring.
I had a chance to meet with many of our journal club regulars at our JACR®-sponsored tweet chat during last December’s RSNA meeting. Their enthusiasm for the profession, despite the uncertainties many of them face when it comes to finding a position after training, is instructive. They really are Imaging 3.0 compliant and are well aware that if they don’t demonstrate their value in delivering high-quality imaging, then commoditization lurks. Their use of innovative social media tools to connect with each other as well as the wider world is a powerful way to spread our Imaging 3.0 message. Any practice that hires one of these residents can expect not only a great attitude but a solid grounding in the principles of reimbursement policy for imaging. Sounds like a good deal to me!
Access a full listing of the articles we’ve discussed.
By Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, Chair