News From the ACR and Beyond
ACR Calls for Low-Dose Medical Radiation Research
Medical imaging and radiation oncology saves lives. That's what ACR BOC Chair James A. Brink, MD, FACR, told Congress when urging more funding for research on low-dose medical radiation effects that will inform future safety practices. "There is a compelling need to improve science's direct understanding of low-level exposure and to apply new knowledge to radiation safety practices, professional guidelines, and regulator policy," Brink said. Brink praised the work of the National Academies Board on Radiation Effects Research, which addresses the health effects of exposure of human populations to low-dose, low-linear energy transfer ionizing radiation. However, he noted that the last report was published in 2006. Brink urged a critical assessment of more recent data in both epidemiologic and experimental research.
For more information, visit bit.ly/Brink_Testimony.
Choosing Wisely Campaign Impacting Overuse
For five years, Choosing Wisely® — an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation in partnership with Consumer Reports — has been advancing a national dialogue on reducing and eliminating unncessary medical tests and procedures. And now the Choosing Wisely recommendations are even more actionable as part of the ACR's R-SCAN® program. R-SCAN advances the education of members and enables referring clinicians and radiologists to collaborate on projects to improve imaging usage based on 11 Choosing Wisely recommendations.
"We saw an opening to work with our peers to explore why providers order unnecessary imaging and ways to better align patient care with evidence-based practices," says Max Wintermark, MD, chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University and clinical advisor for R-SCAN. Also of note, the American Urological Association is in talks with the R-SCAN team to investigate adding new urology-related Choosing Wisely topics to the R-SCAN program.
Read more about Choosing Wisely and R-SCAN at bit.ly/Use_RSCAN.
What Radiologists Should Know About Pricing
A host of factors affect the variations in list prices for radiologists' services — especially for services that serve more complex conditions. A recent JACR® study suggests a surge in interest in prices charged and payments made for health serevices. "A growing number of online price comparison tools are now available from a wide range of sources; a recent national survey demonstrated that most Americans access price information before receiving healthcare services; and the appropriate use of such pricing tools is uncertain, given that patients and other stakeholders may not recognize that charges (or 'list prices') for medical services are often vastly different from what patients and insurers actually pay," the study states. As more price transparency initiatives permeate the healthcare landscape, radiologists should be aware of how their list prices compare with local and national benchmarks, the authors note.
Read the full JACR article at bit.ly/Price_Factors.
Injured Congressman Brings Spotlight to Critical IR Care
The medical care that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) received after a shooting during a congressional baseball practice last year was highlighted during a Society of Interventional Radiology panel discussion — including the use of imaging guidance and minimally invasive procedures by IRs. Arshad A. Khan, MD, a senior IR at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., treated Scalise and stopped hemorrhaging with the use of embolization. "It's remarkable, the work that they did to keep me alive," Rep. Scalise said. "I appreciate the work of our trauma doctors, especially Dr. Khan."
Read more at bit.ly/IR_Trauma.
An Ethical Approach
Radiologists can provide added value through participation on hospital boards and committees. At Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Festus, Mo., one radiologist is having a meaningful impact ass a member of the hospital's ethics committee. In this role, which requires no special training, James A. Junker, MD, FACR, often reviews images with patients and families facing difficult care decisions and helps guide the institution's policy decisions.
Learn more in this Imaging 3.0® case study at bit.ly/anethicalapproach.
New Trial to Study 2D/3D Screening
The Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial, led by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and the National Cancer Institute, will compare two types of digital mammography for as many as 165,000 healthy women who enroll through the year 2025. It is the first trial of its kind to compare traditional 2D mammography to 3D tomosynthesis and could confirm the life-saving benefits of 3D screening. The study led by principal investigator Etta D. Pisano, MD, chief science officer of the ACR Center for Research and Innovation, is expected to provide insight on how to screen women most effectively for breast cancer and to aid patients in making healthcare choices about future screening procedures.
Read more at ecog-acrin.org/tmist.
RADCAT Shows Promise in Categorizing ED Reports
Brown University radiologists and emergency department (ED) physicians are using radiology reports to categorize the images of ED patients using a new pilot system called RADCAT. The radiology report categorization system is still being evaluated for usability and performance, but inital findings based on 400 radiology reports in the ED suggest the "RADCAT system is understandable between radiologists and ED physicians for categorizing a wide range of imaging studies."
Read more at bit.ly/RAD_CAT.
Patient-Assisted Mammography Debuts at MGH
Approved for clinical use by the FDA late last year, Massachusetts General Hospital's Breast Imaging Division is offering women a first-of-its-kind patient-assisted mammography system designed to give patients control over the application of compression during the exam. During the procedure, patients use a wireless handheld device to adjust compression after a technologist positions the breast. Leaders at the facility hope the technology will combat fear and discomfort as reasons for avoiding a mammogram.
Find out more at bit.ly/Assisted_Mammography.
Nominate Now for ACR Residents and Fellows Elections
The ACR RFS Nominating Committee is looking for impassioned, self-motivated, and dedicated volunteers to be part of the next RFS Executive Committee. Individuals who are recognized as leaders in their training programs, eager to be involved in forming the policies and framework for the profession of radiology, and wish to improve resources for all residents and fellows are strongly encouraged to submit their nomination for consideration. For full descriptions of the available positions on the RFS Executive Committee, please visit bit.ly/RFS_Position. The deadline for submissions is March 14, 2018.
Submit your nomination at bit.ly/RFS_Form.
Study Supports More Active Engagement to Boost Women Radiologists
There's been little change in the percentage of women interested in a career in radiology in nearly three decades, according to researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Their research, published in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology, aimed to increase medical student exposure to radiology and coincidently aligned with university interventions that are "suggested to have the biggest impact on female medical students." The most recent statistic of women participating in diagnostic radiology was 26.9 percent in 2013, compared to 25.5 percent in 1990, the study says. "The preliminary findings suggest that early exposure during preclinical education increases overall medical student interest in radiology, not specifically female interest," the authors state. "This increase in interest occurred prefernetially in males despite the fact that the 'patient-centered' electives were intended to appeal to female medical students — demonstrating that simply offering the electives is not enough."
Read more at bit.ly/Women_RadInterest.
"We highly encourage further work exploring personal accomplishments (PA) because increasing the degree of PA [among] radiology residents may have a substantial impact on reducing the degree of radiology resident burnout." — Jeffrey P. Guenette, MD, and Stacy E. Smith, MD, of the department of radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston at bit.ly/PA_Burnout.
Renew Your Annual Pledge to Image Wisely
Now is the time to renew your annual pledge to optimize radiation dose in your medical imaging. Image Wisely® is a joint program of ACR, RSNA, AAPM, and ASRT that provides current information and guidelines on radiation safety with the objective of lowering the amount of radiation used in medically necessary imaging studies and low-value procedures.
Visit imagewisely.org to renew.
Here's What You Missed
The Bulletin Website is home to a wealth of content not featured in print. Check out blog posts, bonus articles, and other multimedia content at acrbulletin.org.
A Moving Target
As patients assume more responsibility for financing their own healthcare, price transparency should be on every radiologist's mind. Read more at bit.ly/Patient_Financing.
New Blog Series from the ACR Data Science Institute™
The AI Assistant blog offers valuable information and perspectives from radiologists, patients, data scientists, and other stakeholders about AI in medical imaging. Read the latest posts at acrdsi.org.
A Quick Lesson on #Radvocacy
A Rutherford-Lavanty Fellow finds out how the government relations team works directly for radiologists and patients on pertinent issues that will affect practice. Read more at bit.ly/Radvocacy_Lesson.
2018 Transitions and Opportunities for Preparation
This year, two important transitional CMS initiatives should be on your radar: Appropriate Use Criteria for ordering and patient relationship categories and codes. Read more at bit.ly/2018_Opps.