Strategic Alignment

Radiologists can use the power of networking to strategize for value-based care.GettyImages 512892572

With all the changes happening in health care, it's more important than ever to look ahead to the future and strategize your next move.

ACR-RBMA Leadership Forum faculty leaders Frank L. Lexa, MD, FACR, and Keith E. Chew, CMPE, FRBMA, tell the Bulletin why attending the forum is one of the best ways to plan ahead.

Tell us a little about the forum.

Lexa: The forum has grown out of a partnership between the ACR and the RBMA, and it's a unique meeting in that it brings together the top radiologists, practice leaders, and business managers in the United States.

Chew: Teams of physicians and administrators are necessary to truly accomplish the move to value-based care because of the interrelated nature of the business and clinical operations within medical imaging. At the forum, we discuss both clinical and operational information from the perspective of clinicians and administrative personnel.

What are you most excited about for this year's forum?

Lexa: We have a tremendous variety of speakers and topics. The forum is an interactive program and the audience learns a lot from each other. We have people who are there to learn about the issues. But it is much more intense than just classroom learning — the participants are leaders who are also living with these business and clinical challenges. So the floor is open for them to talk about the solutions they've tried.

Chew: We try to not talk about things in a theoretical or philosophical nature, but in real, actionable terms attendees can take back with them and begin working on. For example, we discuss the changes practices and departments have made toward bringing Imaging 3.0 into their work.

What's one way practice leaders can prepare for the value-based changes that are happening right now?

Lexa: Get involved with Imaging 3.0® by accessing case studies and implementing changes in your practice. You've got the chance to learn from people who are going through the same issues and who are trying things out and creating value. These same people are also making sure they're compensated and recognized for their efforts.

Chew: Leaders have to prepare for value-based change by expanding their networks and interacting with larger segments of the medical imaging environment. Far too frequently, people only examine their local communities when they approach a challenge. And while I understand health care is local, physicians throughout the country are finding innovative ways to approach the transition to value. Don't reinvent the wheel. Expand your network and look at what others are doing, regardless of where they're located. While you may have to modify ideas slightly, you can still make similar solutions work within your environment without a total reinvention.

What's one of the biggest challenges you see practice leaders experiencing?

Lexa: A lot of leaders are concerned about what value-based purchasing will mean in their locations. Many are concerned about changes we're seeing that include practices being purchased or consolidated. There's also the bigger, and in some ways more difficult, issue of the consolidation of hospitals and payers.

One of the best ways to prepare for the new health care climate is to talk to people at meetings like the forum. Attendees and presenters are thinking deeply about what is going to happen in the future and developing long-term strategies for success.

Chew: Leaders are having trouble staying on top of all the changes coming at us. I've been in health care management for 30 years. When I started, if you saw three or four changes to your business within a year, that was a big year! Now, you may see three or four changes within a week or a month. Because of that, we have to find a way to be plugged in.

On an individual basis, it's incredibly hard to understand the impact of every single thing happening around us and then strategize our next move. Leaders need to expand their networks and find others with complementary knowledge. As a collective, we can anticipate and react much more easily. The forum is one of the most progressive conferences not only in content but in the ability of the leaders within radiology to join together an openly discuss both the issues being faced and the solutions which they have attempted — successfully or unsuccessfully — to meet the challenges before all of us.

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