Radiologists at all career stages gathered at the ACR Annual Practice Leaders Meeting to boost their skills, learn from one another, and stay ahead of the curve.
Are leaders born or made? The answer is both — researchers believe genetic factors account for about a third of leadership qualities, but the rest comes about through development and practice.1
To support leaders, both established and up-and-coming, within the specialty, radiologists from across the country gathered this January in Dallas for the sold-out 2014 Practice Leaders Meeting.
Finding Value Now and in the Future
Making the move towards a value-based payment model and away from a fee-for-service model is critical to continued financial success, noted Richard Duszak Jr., MD, FACR, chief medical officer of the Neiman Health Policy Institute, during his presentation. “In the future, our incomes will be based on our outcomes,” he said. Problematically, however, value and quality have yet to be concretely defined. Duszak stressed that radiologists must begin highlighting and implementing good practices as health care payment models evolve.
Another important change in payment plans and models is the accountable care organization (ACO). Although ACOs may fail in their current iteration, radiologists should pay attention to more refined ACO models that will take their place, said Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA. Fee-forservice will likely go away, and, without a demonstration of quality metrics, radiologists will face the risk of becoming merely commoditized film readers.
An important question amid these transitions is, what does the ACO radiologist look like? To demonstrate clear value, radiologists must be more closely involved in making imaging decisions, such as through clinical decision support. The specialty must also make strides in customer satisfaction when it comes to patients, referring physicians, and hospital administrators. The ACO radiologist must also be more visible in the government and to the public in order to communicate the specialty’s value to the health care system, Lexa said.
Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, echoed the call to demonstrate value in her presentation on Imaging 3.0™. She argued that making the value of radiologists known to the general public is critical and that espousing Imaging 3.0 is a survival strategy for forward-thinking practices. By placing themselves in the center of health care and public awareness, radiologists will be able to advocate more effectively — both for their patients and themselves. Radiologists’ role in advocacy is especially important in light of self-referral issues and falling reimbursement payments.
Building a Culture of Advocacy
Advocacy took center stage on day two, when Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR, vice chair of the ACR Commission on Government Relations, updated attendees on the current challenges facing the specialty. Never before have radiologists been called on so strongly to advocate as they are today, said Fleishon. Leaders in the specialty are vital in motivating radiologists to get involved.
He acknowledged that this type of work has not traditionally been a high priority for physicians. However, in order to be successful in the changing health care environment, Fleishon suggested the following steps to create a culture that makes involvement an integral part of its DNA.
Add it to your agenda. Include advocacy discussions during meetings in your practice, department, or chapter. Consider a specific ACR call to action or provide your group an opportunity to brainstorm ways to get involved in local politics. By giving these topics a standing spot in your meetings, you reinforce their importance to members of your team.
Sponsor facility visits for local or federal leaders. These visits are a great time to meet your representatives and explain issues important to the specialty. “We have a compelling story to tell,” said Fleishon. At a facility visit, “you have the chance to show politicians your facility and to sit down and talk about what you bring to the health system,” he said. (For information about setting up a visit, contact the ACR Government Relations Department at 202-223-1670.)
Involve members-in-training. “Early advocacy engagement of the next generation of radiologists is essential,” said Fleishon. Residency programs and chapter resident and fellow sections are great places to start. On an individual level, consider inviting residents and fellows to participate in grass roots efforts or ask for their input on communicating your message to wider audiences.
Make advocacy a component of citizenship metrics in your practice. Formalizing your groups’ commitment to advocacy can encourage members to get involved in efforts to support the specialty.
Didn't make it to the meeting? Log on to http://bit.ly/Img3Videos to check out Imaging 3.0TM video presentations on topics from the Practice Leaders Meeting.
By Lyndsee Cordes and Meghan Edwards
1. Arvey RD, et al. “The Determinants of Leadership Role Occupancy: Genetic and Personality Factors.” Leadership Quarterly 2006;17(1):1–20.