Q: Value is a hot topic in radiology right now. What does the term mean to you?
The value a radiologist adds to the medical team became apparent to me early in my medical school days.
On every clinical rotation, the radiologist provided actionable information for the medical team. For the patient and referring physician, the value of this information was clear.
Yet when it comes to reimbursement, value is often measured in relative value units, only taking into account the amount of time required for an interpretation and the intensity of the work per unit. This productivity-based approach devalues our role as integral members of the patient care team. Our true value is in our collaboration with medical teams to provide cost-efficient, effective care and ensure good patient outcomes.
We provide value by practicing utilization management, in conjunction with decisionmaking software and appropriate consultations, to ensure that patients get the right study with the appropriate protocol.
“Our true value is in our collaboration with medical teams to provide costefficient, effective care and ensure good patient outcomes.” — Alison Sandberg, MD
We also provide value through education. We educate patients and referring providers on the role of imaging in diagnosis and treatment. We also educate our technologists on how to tailor the examinations to provide us with the highest image quality, while insisting that our equipment, technologists, and practices keep radiation exposure to patients to as low a level as is reasonably achievable.
By collaboratively coordinating patient care, efficiently using imaging resources, optimizing our imaging technology, educating our colleagues and patients, and providing actionable information, we provide value as a fundamental part of the health care team.
By Alison L. Sandberg, MD, Colorado Permanente Medical Group President, Colorado Radiological Society