The Resident and Fellow Section, Young and Early Career Physician Section, American Board of Radiology, clinical research, and Neiman Health Policy Institute leadershuip outline changes to the specialty and directions going forward.
As part of Monday’s AMCLC programming, leaders representing the Resident and Fellow Section (RFS), the American Board of Radiology (ABR), the Young and Early Career Physician Section (YPS), clinical research, and the Neiman Health Policy Institute (HPI) reported on activities, accomplishments, challenges, and plans for the future.
The Future of Imaging
RFS Chair Jonathan A. Flug, MD, MBA, opened with a discussion of one of the section’s goals: to increase collaboration both within the College and with other radiology societies. Recent efforts to find common ground included the development of the SoFi Loan Refinancing Program, the YPS-RFS mentor network, the JACR® Resident and Fellow column, and the RFS Journal Club. RFS members also serve on committees throughout the College, bringing their unique perspective and reinforcing their growing connections within the College.
Outside of the ACR, the RFS prioritizes strengthening relationships with other societies. Section liaisons serve within the RSNA, Association of University Radiologists, and European Society of Radiology. “The goal is to spread the message of intersociety interaction and lead by example,” said Flug.
Next, Charles W. Bowkley III, MD, YPS chair, delivered his report outlining the section’s current initiatives. YPS members practice in a unique set of circumstances, said Bowkley. As they enter practice, most are learning to balance their personal and professional lives. They are navigating a changing health care system, paying off debt, and building a career.
Major goals, said Bowkley, are to “attract and retain YPS members to the College, empower YPS members within state radiological societies, and facilitate active engagement.” YPS members also began working on a practice quality improvement project database and have published articles in the JACR, the ACR Bulletin, and Diagnostic Imaging. YPS members also serve as mentors in the YPS-RFS network and volunteer on ACR committees and commissions.
Leading the Charge
James P. Borgstede, MD, FACR, ABR president, updated the College on changes to the ABR Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. He discussed the transformational changes in medicine specific to radiology, including greater patient expectations regarding results communication; growing apprehension about the safe and effective use of radiation; and questions from patients and referring physicians on the accuracy, speed, and safety of an imaging examination and its appropriate interpretation.
One way to respond to these challenges, said Borgstede, is through continuous education. The ABR is introducing new computer-based qualifying and certifying exams in diagnostic radiology. After 80 years of use, the oral examination will end in 2014.
Borgstede also touched on practice quality improvement projects. “Through MOC Part 4 practice quality improvement projects, ABR diplomates demonstrate their value by improving outcomes through accurate and timely interpretations and a commitment to radiation and other safety measures,” he said.
Borgstede closed by encouraging radiologists to embrace change in health care. “The status quo is not an option,” he said. “We can be leaders of transformational change or passive recipients of changes made by others, but transition will occur with or without our participation.”
Walter J. Curran Jr., MD, NRG group chair, outlined the changes taking place in ACR’s clinical research structure. As the result of an Institute of Medicine report commissioned by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the NCI’s cooperative clinical trials program was restructured from 11 research groups, including Radiation Therapy Oncology Group® (RTOG®) and ACRIN, into five. The restructuring resulted in ACRIN merging its NCI-funded oncology program with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) to form ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, while the cooperative groups National Surgical and Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Program, RTOG, and Gynecologic Oncology Group joined to form NRG (pronounced “energy”) Oncology.
Seth A. Rosenthal, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Commission on Radiation Oncology, then reported on RTOG, which became a founding member of the NRG Oncology Group in March 2014. In its 47 years of clinical research, RTOG produced groundbreaking research for cancer in many disease sites, including genitourinary, central nervous system, head and neck, lung, gastrointestinal, and gynecology. All told, RTOG produced more than 495 clinical research protocols and more than 1,000 publications. It accrued more than 110,000 patients to its clinical trials.
Richard Duszak Jr., MD, FACR, HPI chief medical officer, reported on the 18 months since the HPI was established. The HPI’s mission is to study the role and value of radiology and radiologists in evolving health care delivery and payment systems. Duszak explained the institute’s approach, saying, “HPI data and analyses must be credible and reproducible. HPI research cannot be censored. Ultimately, credible data-derived evidence will drive current and future policy.”
With those guiding principles, the institute has produced 13 scientific presentations and nine peer-reviewed publications to date. Six grants have been awarded to a mix of both radiologist and economist health services researchers. The HPI has also released the Inpatient Imaging Information (I3) App, which leverages critical analysis of historical administrative health record data to serve as a benchmark for identifying variation in the delivery of imaging services. Access the app at http://i3.neimanhpi.com.