The ACR and Carnegie Hall
The College reaches out to members in pursuit of excellence.
You know the old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Answer: Practice, practice, practice.
Well, I am getting close to completing my 35th year in practice — all 35 of those years with the same group (though enlarged by expansion and mergers) and at the same facilities. I also wanted to tell you that sometimes I feel like a conductor of a symphony orchestra.
As chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, I am constantly trying to encourage the BOC, CSC, and staff to work together for the betterment of our members, our profession, and our patients. For the most part, I think our symphony has been very successful. Despite my personal lack of ability to play an instrument, my colleagues in the ACR are making beautiful music. It is an honor to led and work with them. These people are awesome!
So, other than tying in with the orchestra analogy, why did I use a strange title for this column? If you don't know me or haven't figured this out from my other columns, I want to get your attention and I like humor.
Nevertheless, beneath the humor, it's seriously important for us to take advantage of the resources we have and attend those conferences that help us become better at what we do. Keep in mind that about 80 percent of ACR members are in private practice, as I am. We are well represented on the Council, the CSC, and the BOC. Our academic colleagues, however, have had an advantage in strategizing for many years because their leaders get together every year at the annual meetings of organizations like the Association of University Radiologists, the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments, RSNA, ARRS, the Society of Interventional Radiology, or the American Society for Radiation Oncology. The ACR recognized the need to bring practice leaders together to learn, discuss, share special issues, and network. Before the AMCLC was created, early in this millennium, we used to have a chapter leaders conference, but not a practice leaders meeting. While chapter leaders often hold practice leadership positions as well, AMCLC is primarily geared towards addressing issues associated with leading a state chapter and with ACR issues. These meetings do not relate to how to run a group practice.
Despite my personal lack of ability to play an instrument, my colleagues in the ACR are making beautiful music. It is an honor to lead and work with them.
In response to this need, the ACR introduced the annual Practice Leaders Meeting several years ago. It began in a bicoastal two-division format and has since evolved into a single annual meeting. This year's meeting was the biggest and, in my opinion, the best. Program Chair Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA, and his program committee recruited an outstanding faculty. I cannot list everyone, but some of the best known and most widely respected speakers included James H. Thrall, MD, FACR, Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, FACR, Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, FACR, Bibb Allen Jr., MD FACR, and Johnathan W. Berlin, MD, MBA, FACR. The attendees numbered more than 100, and they represented a who's who of private practice. A few academic chairs were also in the audience, which is significant as ACR strives to increase membership and participation of the academic community.
I won't list all of the topics covered, but they included strategic thinking for radiologists, use and abuse of social media, growth of national companies, health IT and meaningful use, physician burnout, and reimbursement issues. One topic that particularly interested me was concierge radiology. Many of us know family practitioners or internists who have opened concierge practices. This presentation explored how a concierge radiology practice might look, with pros and cons to think about.
There is some obvious overlap in content, faculty, and goals of the Practice Leaders Meeting and the College's Radiology Leadership Institute™, and both fall under the ACR Commission of Leadership and Practice Development, chaired by Cynthia S. Sherry, MD, FACR. As a result, beginning with the meeting held this year, attendees at the Practice Leaders Meeting will earn credit toward RLI leadership certificates.
Plans are already underway to enhance and expand the Practice Leaders Meeting for next year. The date and location are not yet certain, but it is very likely that this meeting will continue to be offered in January or February. Please plan to join us next year for an exceptional learning experience in a collegial atmosphere. Watch for further announcements in the Bulletin.
By Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, Chair