MACRA and QPP are here. Are you ready to drive change, but don't know how or where to start?
With fast-approaching deadlines, the mandate for transformation to value-based radiology is more urgent than ever before. The trouble is many smaller and mid-sized practices are still struggling with implementing the principles and practices of Imaging 3.0®.
To answer the call, the ACR has developed the Imaging 3.0 Accelerator Program (I3AP) to support radiology practices and departments as they make the transformation to value-based care. I3AP helps practices recognize what they are already doing to support Imaging 3.0 concepts, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and provide actionable insights and guidance to accelerate their journey to value-based care.
"Mid-size practices have been the hardest hit by reimbursement cuts, and they're fighting just to keep up with their productivity targets," says Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, vice chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors and one of the I3AP program's radiologist champions.
"The I3AP program brings a team of ACR leaders onsite to practices that recognize the need for change," she says. "Our goal is to help them understand and adapt value-based radiology to their work — specifically to make Imaging 3.0 come to fruition within the context of their practice."
I3AP is designed to engage all stakeholders — including practice leaders, radiologists, employees, hospital leaderships, referring physicians, and hospital radiology managers — in the transformation of imaging care.
One of the first practices to participate in the I3AP program was the Radiology Clinic Group in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Michael F. DeVenny, MD, diagnostic and interventional radiologist, headed the initiative to gain an outside perspective from the I3AP team.
"We embarked on the I3AP practice visit over two years ago, and it has been a great experience," he says. "A leading radiologist champion and Imaging 3.0 experts came in and helped us refocus on how we need to think about the future, where we need to move our practice to be more value-oriented, and how to accomplish those goals."
DeVenny says that one of the biggest benefits of the program was bringing together the 22 radiologists in the group and getting them all focused on value. "The I3AP program affected enough people that we were able to create a culture shift and gain momentum for change," he says.
"Today, we are restructuring how we look at our business, how we conduct our processes, and how we deliver patient care," he adds. "It has been a gradual transformation process, but now it's building steam. And it all began with that initial practice visit. You plan the seed, and then you water it and let it grow."
"Our group was looking for an outside practice assessment to help us determine where we needed to concentrate our efforts. Oftentimes, it takes someone outside of the 'family' to help us see where we should change." — Catherine J. Everett, MD, MBA
Creating a Tipping Point
McGinty was among those visiting the I3AP practice in Tuscaloosa. As part of the interview process, she met with the CEO of the four hospitals that the Radiology Clinic Group serves. DeVenny says the meeting was an eye-opener for everyone.
"The hospital administrators saw that we were bringing in an outside expert as part of our value-oriented program," he says. "And it demonstrated that radiology is interested in adding value to their business and to patient care. It started a conversation that continues to this day, and it also opened doors for us and strengthened our commitment to work toward getting a radiologist on the hospital board."
According to DeVenny, the I3AP practice visit was the impetus to drive change. "Our group had been talking about Imaging 3.0 and the need for culture change for years. The I3AP effort was our tipping point. Best of all, it concentrated all that Imaging 3.0 experience and months' worth of reading into a couple days' worth of evaluation and specific recommendations to jumpstart our practice's transformation."
Seeing with Fresh Eyes
When it comes to making change, many radiology practices have a good handle on what needs to be done, says Catherine J. Everett, MD, MBA, president of Coastal Radiology. But looking at things through an outside lens often helps bring priorities into focus.
"Our group was looking for an outside practice assessment to help us determine where we needed to concentrate our efforts," she says. "Oftentimes, it takes someone outside of the 'family' to help us see where we should change."
Not only did the radiologists and staff at Coastal Radiology listen and come together to implement recommendations from the I3AP team, the practice visit from outside experts made a positive impression on hospital administrators.
"It demonstrated that we are working hard to get better," says Everett. "It showed we're not just coming to work and taking a paycheck. As a result, the C-suite is more inclined to ensure we're around to participate in decisions. We already have a good relationship with our hospital administration, and anything we can do to reinforce that is worthwhile."
Paving the Way
Change is coming, says McGinty, and every radiology practice needs to get on board. "Imaging 3.0 is not optional; everyone can do something to move value-based care forward in the practice," she says. "As radiologists, we have to embrace change and find a different way forward. No matter where you are in the continuum, you can identify opportunities to get even stronger. I3AP is one of the tools in the arsenal for smaller and mid-sized practices to improve."
DeVenny agrees, adding that the ACR is a strong partner for those practices that are ready to change. "Take a look at the resources ACR makes available, and explore how they can be of use to your group. When you develop a relationship with the ACR — especially through the I3AP program — you have people you can call, and they will help you or direct you to the right resource."
"It's a labor of love for the physicians who are serving as the radiologist champions for the I3AP practice visits," says McGinty. "We're your colleagues. We will come to your practice, and look at it with you. We care about you, and we want you to succeed. Strengthening the radiology community is what Imaging 3.0 is all about."
To learn more about I3AP or to schedule a visit, go to acr.org/i3ap.
By Linda Sowers, freelance writer for the ACR Bulletin