Answer these questions to uncover your superpower and conquer your kryptonite.
I know that none of my esteemed readers ever spends time on the Internet looking at cute cat videos or taking those Buzzfeed quizzes that reveal the answers to life's important questions, like "How Well Do You Know the Thanksgiving Episode of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'?"
But one of these questionnaires caught my eye the other day. So, fellow radiologists, I've put together my own version.
What's Your Super Power
It's easy to feel like radiologists don't have any power when you combine all of the reimbursement cuts we've faced and the Imaging 2.0 focus on productivity (which has kept us working really hard and generating great diagnostic information but remote from our patients and colleagues) with the commoditization we face through disruptive business models like national teleradiology companies. So are we like poor bullied Peter Parker at Midtown High School?
Nothing could be further from the truth. We have taken control of our future as physicians who are essential to the delivery of high-value care. Our commitment to appropriate imaging that is now embedded in future payment policy and the robust program we delivered to CMS for lung cancer screening (which was adopted almost verbatim) are evidence of that.
We have taken control of our future as physicians who are essential to the delivery of high-value care.
How Did You Get Your Super Power?
Have you ever been made to feel as if radiologists have little to contribute to the care delivery process? If you're told that anyone can do what we do, think back to what it took to get here. Most of us were probably among the highest achieving students in our medical school class and then spent five to seven years learning to be a radiologist. Our command of the entire complex imaging armamentarium is matched by no other specialty. Like Elastigirl in "The Incredibles," we multitask by optimizing radiation dose, advising our colleagues on the appropriate imaging examination, and helping our health system figure out how to store and share images. Just because we make this look easy doesn't mean it is. While we should use our powers for good, let's not be shy about what it took to hone them.
What's Your Kryptonite?
We have been weakened by the fact that many patients and even referring physicians don't know the value of what we do as radiologists. Harry Potter might find the Cloak of Invisibility valuable, but it has not served us well.
What's Your Signature Costume?
The good news here is that we don't have to do any quick changes in a telephone booth! When we make ourselves visible as part of their care team, our patients will recognize us whether we are in a white coat or scrubs.
Who's Your Sidekick?
The most successful superheroes (and the ones who generate the best box office hits these days) always work in teams. Whether we're participating in tumor boards or using live-chat technology to join our referring colleagues
as they see patients in their office, we become more powerful when we are part of the care-delivery team.
Who's Your Archenemy?
It's easy to point to payers and policy-makers as our nemeses, but, as our ACR CEO William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, said on Twitter last year, apathy is our greatest threat. Not pushing back on policies that don't make sense, not advocating for new payment models that recognize the value of imaging and promote its appropriate use, and not connecting with our patients to help them understand our role in their care are the things that will leave us mortally wounded.
And the Results Are In!
Like the best superheroes, we have multiple powers. However, none of them is magical. We've worked hard to develop our skills, and we are working even harder to demonstrate our value. But we are working within a community that supports and sustains us and we're motivated by our desire to serve our patients. And that is the most valuable super power we have.
From the Chair of the Commission on Economics
By Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, Chair