Meet the ACR Leadership: Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACRmeet ACR leadership

This is an installment of a series titled “Meet the ACR Leadership.” Throughout the series, we interview the ACR Leadership to get insight into their background and involvement in the ACR. For this installment, we talk with Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR.

 How did you get involved in the ACR and what has kept you involved?

I started in the early 1990s as an officer for our Alabama state chapter, working as member of the Alabama Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee regarding local Medicare/coverage issues. That got me interested in medical economics. From there, I suggested to the ACR economics commission that we develop a network of the state CAC representatives, which became the ACR CAC Network. I later became a state councilor and member of the Council Steering Committee.

There seems to be a lot of top leadership positions in the ACR governance. Can you explain how your role, as ACR President, works with the Chair of the Board and CEO of the ACR?

While the ACR Council sets policy for the College, the operational activity of the College to implement that policy occurs through the ACR Board of Chancellors. The ACR Board Chair and Vice Chair are primarily tasked with managing those operations through the various Commissions – Economics, Quality and Safety, Subspecialty Commissions and many others.

There is of course a large amount of interdependency between the volunteer physicians and the ACR staff, and the ACR CEO, William T. Thorwarth, Jr., MD, FACR, integrates the activity of the Board and the ACR staff. While the ACR Council sets the policy for the Council, it is up to the Board of Chancellors to administer that policy. The Board Chair and the CEO coordinate these efforts together. The CEO is primarily responsible for the managing the more than 400 ACR employees.

What ACR positions have led you to this one?

I am currently ACR President, meaning that I am a member of the ACR Board of Chancellors and ACR Executive Committee. I also currently chair the Commission on Membership and Communications. Other offices I have held include ACR Board Chair (immediate past), ACR Board Vice Chair, and the Chair Commission on Economics. Additionally, I have served as Chair of the Reimbursement Committee and CAC Network (under the Commission of Economics), as well as on the Council Steering Committee, as an ACR Councilor, and several state chapter offices including President and Secretary/Treasurer.

What has been your favorite activity/project in the ACR?

Being involved in the Imaging 3.0® initiative has been very rewarding for me. The initiative is impacted by all of the commissions of the College and lets radiologists bring tools for population management and patient centered care into our daily workflow.

The Imaging 3.0 initiative grew out of an effort in the ACR’s Commission on Economics to change the conversation in Washington about how radiologists could be part of the solution in health care reform. Imaging 3.0 focuses on the appropriate use of imaging services, enhanced reporting strategies, and improved communications that help imaging specialists put our patients in the center of all that we do.

The College has developed a variety of tools to help with Imaging 3.0. Programs such as the ACR Appropriateness Criteria® and ACRSelect® provide best-evidence appropriateness of imaging to our referring physicians. ACRAssist™ will help radiologists integrate evidence-based guidelines such as those from our Incidental Findings Committee into our reports, and the ACR Registries will provide the means to enhance communications with our referring physicians, health systems and the government for reporting metrics.

How do you view radiology changing in the next 10-20 years?

I think the way in which radiologists develop and adopt artificial intelligence (AI) in their practices will do the most to shape the future practice of radiology. As radiologists, we will have to recognize that AI will change the way we work and adapt our roles to become the clinical integrators of all the information that will be at our disposal, rather than just report generators will be key to our future success.

Radiologists have always been medicine’s data scientists and AI, although potentially disruptive to our traditional interpretive work, gives radiologists an opportunity to assume a critical role in gathering, integrating and managing information related to our patients in ways that reinforce our central role in team based healthcare. A challenge for the ACR will be to have a long-term strategy to embed itself as a leader in machine learning for medical imaging and patient care.

What is your advice for residents and fellows interested in pursuing leadership in the ACR?

Never say no. People who ask others to work on projects are looking for interest as much as expertise. Those who say “no” when asked to participate often never have an opportunity to reemerge at the same level. When doing a task, finish on time and with as little drama as possible.

Working on projects will associate you with potential members and these professional relationships will also be important in being recommended for the next job.


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