ACR's Strategic Plan — Time to Refresh and Look Forward
The updated plan adjusts the College's vision and brings increased focus to AI and data science.
At the fall meeting of the ACR's BOC and CSC, volunteer and staff leadership met to revise the ACR Strategic Plan. From the beginning, this charter was approached as a living document.
When the organization finalized the 2014 plan, it set a three- to five-year window for re-examination. In accordance with this schedule, the October meeting brought together leaders from throughout the specialty to chart a course for radiology's future.
I am pleased to report that both BOC and CSC members reaffirmed their support for our timeless core ideology.
CORE PURPOSE: to serve patients and society by empowering members to advance the practice, science, and professions of radiological care.
CORE VALUES: leadership, integrity, quality, innovation.
The process began with an assessment of our environment, looking for trends in radiology and healthcare that may affect College priorities. BOC and CSC members identified the following potential drivers:
• The healthcare workforce is changing to include a demographic that increasingly emphasizes social media and values diversity.
• Consumerism is rising as patients have an increasing desire for timely communication and care, with a need for more transparency about pricing and quality.
• The pace of transitioning from volume to value has been inconsistent and erratic.
• High-deductible insurance plans have led to more consumer awareness.
• Process mesaures are moving more toward outcome measures with a greater focus on population health.
• Practice consolidation, sometimes funded by private equity, has led to disruption to the classic radiology delivery model. Increasing numbers of hospitals are seeking to cluster radiology departments into service lines that are organized thematically rather than along classic specialty boundaries.
• The dedicated IR training pathway may lead to further fragmentation within our ranks.
• The never-ending push to do more with less is leading to an increase in non-revenue-generating activities, which may contribute to burnout.
• The advent of AI is inevitable, but what this new landscape will look like and how it will impact radiologists is uncertain. By acting now, radiology can define the future ecosystem in which our specialty resides.
• The interconnectedness of big data is driving care decisions more, and it is important for radiology to remain in the forefront.
• The gap is widening between radiologists who have skills in informatics and those who don't.
• Integration with other diagnostic disciplines, such as pathology, is growing.
• The rise of non-imaging diagnostics, particularly related to genomics, will be an increasingly disruptive force.
• The push for population health management to improve quality with coordinated care at lower costs will continue to affect our specialty in ways never realized before.
With this environmental landscape better defined, the BOC and CSC reaffirmed five of the six goal areas from the 2014 plan:
Healthcare Payment Policies and Practice Models
• Existing and new practice and payment models will recognize the value delivered by radiology. ACR members will be prepared to adapt and thrive within these models.
Radiology and Patient-Centered Care
• Radiology professionals will partner with patients and their families to consistently employ best radiological practices throughout the continuum of disease detection, diagnostic evaluation, and therapeutic care.
• The ACR will continue to work to strengthen the profession through communication, cooperation, and collaboration with other organizations, medical specialities, and stakeholders.
Innovation and Research: From Science to Practice and Policy
• The ACR will continue to facilitate future practice innovations through research and education for the benefit of patient outcomes, patient experience, and population health.
Membership and Member Engagement
• The College will foster meaningful member experience and engagement through improved diversity and inclusion, enhanced wellness, and effective communication. The value of ACR membership will be recognized and leadership will be cultivated through various roles, including participation in state chapters, the Council, and the College at large.
The group determined the existing sixth goal area, financial sustainability, no longer requires strategic attention. While financial health remains an integral part of how the ACR is run, the organization's finances are in sufficient order for a sustainable future. Based on the environmental assessment the group created a new goal related to data science:
• The College will advance data science as core to clinically relevant, safe, and effective radiologic care. Specifically, we intend to establish the ACR as a global leader in advancing appropriate data science solutions and ensure that the benefits of AI are clear for all radiology professionals, patients, and the greater community. The ACR will facilitate the development of AI solutions that are free of unintentional bias and develop external relationships that support and extend the ACR's data science goals. Moreover, the ACR will promote educational initiatives that provide the skills needed to implement and adopt data science solutions.
Overall, the revised ACR Strategic Plan is more expansive and emphasizes new payment models, population health management, diversity and inclusion, and AI. I am confident that the revised and updated plan will guide us effectively in the future as we continue to address both the short-term and long-term issues that affect our profession on a near daily basis.
James A. Brink, MD, FACR, Chair