A Team Sport

The 2018 ACR-RBMA Practice Leaders Forum focused on radiologists as collaborators in the new healthcare paradigm.

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Team building in radiology was the central theme of the 2018 ACR-RBMA Practice Leaders Forum, held in Phoenix, in January. Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, FACR, CEO and president of Imaging Consultants, Inc., in Tampa, Fla., kicked off the discussion on teamwork by noting that the practice of radiology is changing, and radiologists must change with the practice.

“Radiology’s world has been changed, and radiologists are being forced to confront nontraditional issues, protect against aggressive competition, and cope with practicethreatening trends,” said Muroff, who presented in a session titled “Forming Effective Teams: What Sound Science Tells Us About the Most Consistent and Successful Teams.”

“Showing value by being an integral team member will be the new currency for all physicians.” - Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, FACR

According to Muroff’s presentation, alternative payment models are mandating a different approach to patient care. If radiologists don’t participate as active team members and show value in the new healthcare environment, then others will be happy to take their places.

“Basing value on the relative value unit productivity of a radiologist will be insufficient,” noted Muroff in his session. “Showing value by being an integral team member will be the new currency for all physicians.”

Demonstrating Value

In his presentation titled “Practical Strategies for Demonstrating Radiology Value to Your Clients,” Kert F. Anzilotti, MD, MBA, chair of the board of eBrightHealth ACO, stressed the growing importance of radiologists demonstrating their value to hospitals, referring physicians, and patients.

According to Anzilotti, as healthcare shifts from fee-forservice toward an outcomes-based model, radiologists will have to rethink their roles in the care continuum.

“We need to start integrating across the value stream,” said Anzilotti. “Start thinking of yourself as the person on a multidisciplinary team that measures itself based on outcomes. Stop thinking of yourself as the person who reads 50 CTs a day and is really good at it, and that’s all you do.”

Effective Teamwork

To help radiologists improve collaboration and communication practices in the new intertwined world of integrated healthcare, Thomas G. Olivo, CMC, founding partner of the consulting firm Healthcare Performance Solutions and the president of Success Profiles, Inc., discussed the leadership styles and hardwired behaviors that most often derail teams.

“The leader of the team cannot be the most dominant person,” said Olivo, who also added that the most effective teams have good leadership from the start and create a clear leadership structure. Practices must manage conflict in a way that generates new ideas rather than stifling action. “Effective teamwork does not happen by chance or without disciplined effort,” said Olivo, who recommended some best practice elements of effective teamwork:

  • Teams should demonstrate adaptability and a palate for change
  • Teams should not be too big in size and not too small, but just right
  • Diverse perspectives should be valued and incorporated

Muroff noted that radiology as practiced today is not a team sport, but rather is practiced by a group of individuals, often separated from each other and from their patients and referring physicians. According to Muroff, more and more medicine is being practiced by teams, and this will only increase over time. “If radiologists are not a part of those teams, then much of what we do will be done by others,” he said.

In short, change is essential, Muroff said, and the ability to adapt to today’s challenges and opportunities will determine the success of every radiologist and of the specialty itself.

Learn more in the JACR® about leveraging the power of diverse collaborative behaviors to build a  successful radiology team at bit.ly/Successful_Teams.

Attend the 2019 ACR-RBMA Practice Leaders Forum for a high-impact program of learning, networking, and solution-building with the nation’s top radiology business strategists. 
Register at acr.org/practiceleadersforum.

By Nicole B. Racadag, MSJ, managing editor, ACR Bulletin

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