A Shared Vision
The ACR Strategic Plan calls for stronger connections among radiology societies.
I hope all of you had a great holiday season. As the new year rolls around, we often think about our personal resolutions for the year ahead. For our radiology professional organizations, the fall is also a busy time.
Many of our societies' leaders get together to discuss our specialty's future and develop some strategies to help our profession thrive. One of the items I found most interesting in our stakeholder research and from our ACR membership as we developed the ACR Strategic Plan was that our profession strongly believes we should enhance the collaboration between our 51 radiology organizations.
In pursuing the ACR's updated core purpose — "To serve patients and society by empowering members to advance the practice, science, and professions of radiological care" — the ACR Strategic Plan challenges the College to increase collaborations with other organizations and stakeholders to help us serve our patients, advance our profession, and serve radiology professionals. This goal is defined as an effort to "strengthen the profession through communication, cooperation and collaboration with other organizations and stakeholders." It contains a specific objective to "increase coordination and collaboration among radiology organizations to advance the profession and serve radiology professionals." Not surprisingly, it turns out that this goal is shared by all of our professional societies. Although historically there have been differences and occasionally disagreements within our specialty regarding our priorities and methods, the challenges and imperatives of health care reform have focused our discussions away from the past and toward ways we can work together to help the profession succeed in the future.
There is a long history of strong collaboration between our radiology professional societies. Some of you may remember that our DICOM standard for images came from collaboration between radiology organizations. More recently, Radiologyinfo.org, Image Gently®, and Image Wisely® are important examples of how our radiology societies have collaborated to move our profession forward. Over the summer, representatives from our 51 radiology professional societies met at the Intersociety Summer Conference. The theme for that meeting was "Reengineering the Radiology Enterprise." Presenters at that meeting discussed threats and possible strategies to meet future challenges. The proceedings of the 2013 conference are published in this month's JACR®, and I encourage you to read the details of that outstanding meeting at http://bit. ly/ACRISC. One of the take-home messages I value as a leader of the College is that our professional societies need to step up our efforts to have a unified strategy and shared goals. And we must look for opportunities to collaborate toward achieving those common goals.
Later in the fall, the ACR, RSNA, ARRS, ABR, and Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments met to look at some of the ways to collaborate and coordinate our efforts. A major and almost immediate opportunity involves coordinated communications. We plan to present a unified message through joint communications about initiatives such as helping our practices adapt to value-based care. Enhancing collaborations and promoting each other's programs, such as the link between Radiology Cares and Imaging 3.0™, is just one example of how we can convey a unified message promoting value-based care. (Read a recent joint article on the two initiatives in the ACR Bulletin at http://bit.ly/ Img3RadCares.) The ACR and RSNA are also coordinating and collaborating on joint informatics tools we radiologists can integrate into our workflows to help the profession adapt to our changing environment.
Collaboration efforts should not be limited to our radiology professional societies. Our best chance of success comes from strategies that align incentives and develop a vision that is shared by the house of medicine, payers, the federal government, policy-makers, and patients. A related goal of the ACR Strategic Plan challenges the ACR to "expand understanding of the importance of radiology by external stakeholders." We will continue our efforts to educate policy-makers and payers about the value radiologists are bringing to the health care system. And by aligning incentives within the house of medicine, such as the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging, we have a better chance of influencing policy-makers.
Another objective of the ACR Strategic Plan, "enhance and establish relationships with patient advocacy groups," calls on the College to promote the value of radiologists to our patients. Our patients might not always know
that radiologists' goals are often aligned with theirs. Strengthening our existing relationships and developing new alliances with patient advocacy organizations will provide opportunities to collaborate with these groups as we develop patient-centric tools and promote the research and public policy for improved radiological care.
A central principle in these efforts is that relationships matter. We are convinced that collaboration and coordination with all stakeholders will be keys to advancing the profession. Over the coming months, we plan to seek out opportunities to do just that.
From the Chair of the Board of Chancellors
By Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, Chair