A Resident’s View at ACR 2015

Perspectives From a First-Time Attendee


June 2015

As the end of my general radiology residency and the start of my fellowship quickly approach, I have become more interested in the transition from residency to practice. 

While I spent the first few years of my radiology training investing in clinical knowledge, it has become ever clearer that to maintain relevance in the future, I will have to do more than tackle the work list and practice non-interpretive skills such as advocacy, leadership, governance, and quality and safety. I made my way to Washington, D.C., for the first all-member ACR meeting hoping to learn how to put these ideas into practice.

I knew I’d come to the right place when I arrived at the RFS special session during the meeting’s opening weekend. The session included a vigorous debate on whether it was better for a radiologist to work as a hospital employee or in private practice. Later, a panel of radiologists in a variety of practice settings talked about their experiences to assist residents with their future career path decisions. As the RFS programming continued, I attended sessions on quality improvement projects, networking, board examinations, personal finance, and leadership. The breadth of topics covered and the opportunity to connect with enthusiastic trainees and practicing radiologists alike should encourage every radiology resident to come to next year’s ACR meeting.

As the meeting went into full swing on Sunday, it became clear that Imaging 3.0™ is here, right now! Many sessions revolved around quality and value in radiology and explored how our specialty can thrive in the transition from volume- to value-based reimbursement. It is clear that the task of defining quality and value in radiology in a quantitative, fair fashion will be very challenging. However, it was exciting to attend discussions in which radiologists from around the country discussed this transition and shared ideas as to how the community of radiology can be ready well in advance. I was particularly intrigued by the idea of quantifying all of the value-added activities that a radiologist performs via a value-management program, presented by Samir Patel, MD. This practical method of demonstrating the value a radiology practice adds was published in the JACR® and as an Imaging 3.0 case study.

On Wednesday, I participated in a College-wide advocacy effort on Capitol Hill. For a first-time attendee, this was a highlight of my experience — and one in which every radiologist should participate. This year we celebrated the permanent repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and advocated for transparency with regard to the multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) and USPSTF recommendations. I was proud to meet with my representative in the House, Virginia Foxx, and ask for her sponsorship of bills supporting these endeavors. With the army of radiologists, radiation oncologists, residents, and fellows that I saw descend on Capitol Hill, I am positive we made a powerful impact in advancing these worthy pieces of legislation.

ACR 2015 truly represented a crossroads for the future of radiology. Even as a fourth-year radiology resident, I wish I would have attended the meeting earlier in my radiology career. Better late than never! I was lucky to be supported by the North Carolina Radiological Society for this conference, and I am grateful for the opportunity to interact with radiologists from my state as well as the rest of the nation. The meeting opened up my eyes to the depth and breadth of important ACR activities that advance our specialty and the care of our patients in ways far beyond a work list. Come see for yourself at ACR 2016 — you won’t be disappointed!

By Jeff Sachs, MD, resident at Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, N.C.

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