New Year's Resolutions: Round 2
What will you do this year to become a better radiologist?
Last month, I challenged each of us to embark on a set of professional resolutions for 2016. Since then, I’ve begun new efforts to make my practice more patient centered. Now I’m launching two more resolutions for the new year. I hope you’ll join me in taking a look at our practices and our specialty and charting a course of constant improvement for ourselves, for our health systems, and especially for our patients.
This year I pledge to become more valuable to my referring physicians and my health system. Depending on where we are on the Imaging 3.0™ implementation curve, this could be as simple as resolving to make a few more calls to referring physicians or as intricate as helping our colleagues manage the transition to clinical decision support (CDS). Let’s pledge to work with our hospital systems to ensure CDS implementation and integration is efficient and seamless. Let’s assure our referring physicians we will be available for consultations when the appropriateness criteria suggest alternate studies. This will only make us more valuable as we move more firmly toward evidence-based image ordering.
A good way to get started on this goal is by participating in the ACR’s Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN). You can learn more at rscan.org. Based on imaging examinations targeted by the Choosing Wisely program, R-SCAN is part of CMS’s Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (read more about it in the November Bulletin).
Participation in this program will provide ABR-approved Maintenance of Certification Part 4 credit while helping our referring physicians prepare for CDS.
Radiologists can also be valuable resources for our hospital administrators. I encourage all of you to read the JACR® C-Suite Collection. And please share the collection with your hospital administrators to demonstrate radiology’s proactive role in ensuring the success of our institutions.
While Imaging 3.0 has focused on enhancing the radiologist’s role in imaging care before and after the interpretation, our intent has always been to build upon our critical role in diagnosis and minimally invasive therapies. We continue to be at the forefront of medical innovation, and I encourage all of you to share new innovations such as the benefits of low-dose CT in screening for lung cancer. Presentations at medical grand rounds or tumor boards can help promote radiology’s value to our referring physicians and patients.
My final resolution is a two-part process to step up our advocacy for our specialty. The first part has to do with attracting the next generation of physicians to our specialty. Let’s make it a point this year to let our medical students know that radiology is a great specialty. For those who encounter medical students on a daily basis, let them know why we love radiology and show them that radiology is truly a team sport that includes our colleagues in other specialties. If you don’t see medical students on a daily basis, make it a point to have at least one medical student come visit you at work and show the value that we provide to our patients, referring physicians, and health systems. All of our research shows that the next generation of physicians will place a strong emphasis on team-based care, and we need to show them that radiology fits the bill.
The next part of being advocates for our specialty involves getting our message to policy-makers so that health care laws and regulations promote the value of radiologists to the health care system. The College is the imaging specialty’s key advocate on Capitol Hill. For each of the last five years, RADPAC has had more than $1.3 million in contributions from just over 3,000 individual radiologists. However, the number of contributors remains just barely 10 percent of the entire ACR Association membership. Health care is a complex subject, and the need for educating members of Congress about health care issues is more vital than ever. The importance of RADPAC in this role is crystal clear. Health care will be at the center of the political arena, and the decisions made by members of Congress will affect the future of our profession and our patients. I am excited about the opportunities physicians will have in shaping the future. Join us at RADPAC.org for a look at how that can happen.
I hope your 2016 has started strong and remains so as the year goes on. In addition to our personal resolutions for the year, let’s get serious about improving our professional selves as well. As you plot your course, know that our specialty society offers a wealth of resources to help us navigate the changing health care tides and thrive this year and into the future.
By Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, Chair