When you are eyeball deep in textbooks studying for a new core exam as a resident, it is difficult to imagine a world outside of diagnostic differentials that could possibly impact your future. The process by which imaging studies are valued, the way radiologists are reimbursed and the intricate politics affecting the economics of radiology are far off universes that are rarely visited during training.
Having spent merely two weeks at the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a James Moorefield Economics Fellow, my cursory knowledge has been drastically overhauled by all of the hardworking, dedicated staff who literally shape the processes of valuation and imaging policy, which directly impact our livelihoods as practicing radiologists.
As a graduating resident fellowshipping in breast imaging at UCLA next year, I was pleased to learn about projects at the ACR for the advocacy of breast imagers, including the topics of tomosynthesis and bundling of breast biopsy codes. In addition, the tangible implementation of Imaging 3.0™ is underway, aimed at favorably positioning radiology if and when accountable care organizations (ACOs) become fully functional.
I have learned that being a member of the ACR is more than access to the glossy new copy of JACR or novel BI-RADS® application on your mobile device. Supporting the ACR allows these amazing economics experts to do their job protecting our assets, so we can focus on mastering those diagnostic differentials and serving our patients.
Author – 2014 James M. Moorefield Fellow, Ashley Lotfipour, M.D., MBA