How do you define value in your daily practice?
Value, quality, cost: these are somewhat amorphous terms trumpeted routinely in the context of the recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
When I define the value of my work, I simply ask whether each imaging exam has brought my patients closer to better health. When asked about health care innovations over the past 25 years, physicians put MRI and computed tomography at the top of the list. Yet, there is a disconnect to be bridged with our colleagues and patients. Other surveys reveal the value of radiologists as perceived both by medical professionals and the general public remains unchanged over the same time period.
How is is that the value of imaging is divorced from that of the radiologist? I believe radiologists demonstrate value by putting images in context. Each study is a patient consult. I take satisfaction in spending a little extra time perusing the chart for pertinent information and contextualizing the findings. If my interpretation can narrow the differential diagnosis, change the course of management, or eliminate an unnecessary test, I have added value. I believe patients and physicians recognize these very human contributions. Health care forces and imaging technology will continue to evolve, as they have throughout my training. But this ethos remains the anchor to my daily practice.
Premal Trivedi, MD, chief radiology resident at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo.