Dispatches: News from the College and Beyond
ACR 2017 Early-Bird Registration Closes Dec. 31
Mammography May Offer Opportunity for Expanded Bundled Payment Models
According to a new report by the Neiman Health Policy Institute®, mammography may present an opportunity for the expanded use of bundled payments in radiology. The study, published in the JACR®, reports that breast cancer screening provides a framework for radiologist-led bundled payment models and can be implemented with different services included in the bundle depending upon a practice’s specific patient panel. “As the U.S. health care delivery system transitions from fee-for-service to value-based payments, it’s important that radiologists are at the table to ensure our patients have access to high-quality imaging,” said Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, vice chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors and a member of the Neiman Institute’s advisory board. “Shaping payment policy to support that access is at the core of the ACR’s mission. Bundled payments are seen by policymakers as a vehicle for aligning incentives and in fact, CMS has now imposed mandatory bundling for joint replacement and cardiovascular care.”
Peer Review Beneficial in Interventional Radiology
A study in the JACR® detailed one radiology department’s experience in implementing a peer-review system for interventional radiology (IR) procedures. While well-established in diagnostic radiology, peer review of IR procedures has been more limited to retrospective review of specific cases.
The department of radiology at UMass Memorial Medical Center and University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, performed random peer review of IR cases. The department added an IR component to an already-in-use peer-review software program. Interventional radiologists reviewed three cases a week. An IR quality committee then resolved each case with one of three choices: agrees, partially agrees, or disagrees with initial assessment. In a four-month cycle, four radiologists reviewed 126 cases; 34 (27 percent) were marked as partial agreements or disagreements. Following feedback, the group found random peer review of IR cases provided beneficial discussion about procedures and policies that might not otherwise have occurred.
"It does no good to drive clinicians out of their professions by burdening them with an evergrowing, always shifting smorgasbord of quality measures. We need to simplify and standardize quality measures, so clinicians can focus on clinical care." — Peter A. Ubel, MD, in “Your Physician Can’t See You Yet — She’s Busy Filling Out Paperwork”
Radiology Only Academic Specialty with Equal Pay for Men and Women
Radiology is the only academic medical specialty in which females are paid at the same level or higher as male physicians, according to a recent report published in JAMA. Salary data was collected about employees at public universities and adjusted for factors including sex, age, years of experience, specialty, and faculty rank. Results showed salaries varied widely among specialties. The greatest difference between male and female salaries was in orthopedic surgery. Radiology, family medicine, and emergency medicine had the smallest difference between female and male salaries.
How to Prepare PACS Images for Print
Do you extract images from your PACS for print publication? Alan E. Schlesinger, MD, FACR, Continuious Professional Improvement pediatric radiology chair, presents the following guidelines for optimal print image quality.
Choose TIFF or BMP file formats when saving files. Some formats, such as JPEG, compress and lose data, which eventually leads to significant deterioration of image quality. If saving to CD, save images as TIFF files at 300 pixels per inch (ppi), sized at about 5 by 7 inches.
PACS images are often saved at 72 or 96 ppi, as this low resolution is adequate for viewing on a computer screen. However, print production requires at least 300 ppi. Image size and resolultion are inversely proportional; resolution is increased by decreasing the image size. Some software programs allow you to change resolution without resizing the image, by resampling. Resampling changes the image size by adding or deleting pixels and can degrade image quality. It is best to resize rather than resample an image.
Send images separately as individual files via email. Do not embed images in Microsoft PowerPoint or Word files, as this severely compresses images. Image files too large to send via email can be saved to CD or DVD and sent by mail or you can use a file transport site, such as Dropbox or Hightail.