As a private practice radiologist for over 20 years, I find that one of the greatest sources of job satisfaction is collaborating with other physicians and health care providers in order to provide the best patient care. For many years, I have presented programs on appropriate imaging to primary care physicians and nurse practitioners both at local and statewide meetings. I try to spread the message of the tremendous benefit of appropriate imaging while providing information about the downsides of inappropriate imaging including cost, radiation exposure, false positives, incidentalomas, etc. It is very rewarding to receive positive feedback that these educational programs are useful and enhance our common goal of providing better patient care. As medicine transitions from a volume to a value driven model, I would encourage private practice radiologists to give CME programs in their communities on imaging appropriateness and the value of using ACR Appropriateness Criteria®. The ACR criteria are a great resource for clinicians, but unfortunately, in my experience, most primary care providers are unaware of them or how to access them. By educating our primary care colleagues on ways to ensure appropriate imaging, and by being available to help decide on the appropriate test for the given illness or injury, we will not be seen as gatekeepers, but as part of a health care team trying to obtain the best outcomes for patients. Developing and maintaining strong relationships with our referring physicians will be increasingly important as reimbursements reflect both outcomes and patient satisfaction with our care.
Author – Rob Milman, M.D.