Becoming a Change Leader

This year’s RLI Summit discussed machine learning and how to place patients in the center of care.GettyImages 504365817

September 8-11 2016, marked another successful collaboration between the Radiology Leadership Institute(RLI)® through the American College of Radiology and one of the nation's top business schools, Babson College.

 The fifth annual RLI Summit brought together attendees with thought leaders in the academic, private and government sectors for four days of collaborative discussions. Topics ranged from "Governing in Today's Climate" and "Building a Value-Based Performance System" to the "Dynamics of Value Claiming in Negotiations."

As in previous years, some of the most provocative discussions occurred outside the classroom setting in informal breakout sessions.

At last year’s Summit, presenters discussed the implications of machine learning and IBM's Watson. A lot of resistance was expressed from the radiologist audience. This year, given the entrance of additional technology companies into the arena of cognitive computing, such as Google and Apple, the discussions were more evolved and focused on strategies to ensure that radiologists remain relevant and vital. Some participants said that due to the increasing volume in radiology, cognitive computing may be beneficial since computers may be able to read some of the less complex imaging studies leaving radiologists more time to focus on and provide increased value on the more complex imaging studies such as MRI and PET-CT.

Another important suggestion was that radiologists follow the recommendations of Imaging 3.0® to transition to a value-based, consultative, integral, accountable, outcomes-focused and patient-centered model.

This led to one of the most provocative and exciting discussions of the Summit when Sabiha Raoof, MD, and Garry Choy, MD, MBA, presented successful strategies that they use at their medical centers to place the patient at the center of the care. Dr. Choy focused on the synergism of people, process and place. He discussed the importance of leadership and culture, staff recognition, collaboration with other departments and patient consultative clinics to drive this strategy forward. At his institution, radiologists have become active participants in patient care with a radiology consultative clinic embedded into their primary care clinics. In this model, health care providers and patients are given the opportunity to review their imaging findings with the radiologist. After this collaborative session, strategies toward improving the patient's care are discussed.

Dr. Choy has also successfully used patient surveys to improve patient care at his institution, and he described the most important question to ask, "How likely is it that you would recommend this radiology department experience to your friend?"

Dr. Raoof developed a successful patient rounding program called "Make a Difference Rounds" at her hospital resulting in improved patient care, discussed several additional patient-centered strategies. She encouraged radiologists to speak to patients, to provide their email address and phone number within their radiology reports, and to survey patients with immediate response times of 24-48 hours to address patient concerns.

The general consensus is that radiologists need to continue to "think outside the box" to remain relevant. As machine learning becomes more evolved, the radiologist's interaction with patients and health care providers also needs to become more sophisticated in order to demonstrate radiologist's continued importance in collaboratively providing high value care.

The sixth annual RLI Summit is already being planned for September 7-10, 2017, and promises to expose radiologists to important new concepts. 

Lessons from the RLI Summit:

1) Develop strategies to transition from an volume-based imaging practice to a value-added model.
2) Understand how to achieve operational excellence to drive growth and profit.
3) Optimize practice governance by discovering what needs to change to improve process and decision making.
4) Understand how progress-blocking thoughts and habits impede transformation, and how one can become a proactive agent of change.
5) Identify how to improve bargaining and negotiation skills.
6) Learn how the core concepts of personal branding can be applied to raise ones professional profile, and grow one’s practice.

By Ian A. Weissman, DO

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