Q: What is the best advice you would give to young radiologists just starting out?
Residency is a wonderful place; you may make lifelong friends while learning the fundamentals of a skillset that will support you and your family for decades.
That being said, while it's wise to memorize your neuroradiology professors' classification system for pineal calcifications (or not — they’re all benign, after all), it’s equally wise to make a concerted effort to learn about real-world radiology as well.
Begin networking with individuals outside your program as soon as you can. Invite them to lecture to your residency class. Get involved with your local ACR chapter or another state or national medical society. Read health care articles from the New York Times as avidly as you do the latest molecular-imaging research in radiology journals.
“Simply put, my advice to young radiologists is that you’ll want to practice medicine in a system where the patients will want to go.” — Bruce Wollman, MD
Be warned though: keep your eyes open but think for yourself. Those who ask you to join them in the heroic fight to maintain the status quo of 20th century universal fee-for-service medicine are likely on the losing side as much as anyone currently advocating for a VCR in every living room or a pay phone on every street corner.
From my perspective, the health care market will continue to move away from pay-forprocedure (whether or not that procedure is indicated, helps the patient, etc.) and toward pay-for-performance, in which the physicians do well when the patients do well. Multi-specialty groups (ideally led by physicians) will thrive in a system that rewards integrated patient care.
Simply put, my advice to young radiologists is that you’ll want to practice medicine in a system where the patients will want to go. Learn where the objectively best clinical care is being provided and do everything you can to become a part of it.
Bruce Wollman, MD, Associate Medical Director for Regional Clinical Services, Mid Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, Rockville, Md.