The Diagnostic Radiology Consultation Clinic: A New Prospect for Patient-Centered Radiology

Health care is changing and momentum is building around patient-centered care. As radiologists, we are uniquely positioned to support this transformation. Imaging is vital to understanding the implications of costly public health conditions such as atherosclerosis, hepatic steatosis, and emphysema. As specialists in imaging and as doctors, we have a unique understanding of the contributing factors and expected outcomes if these diseases go unchecked.

While we have a comprehensive perspective of these common diseases, including the expected evolution and outcome, we aren’t the ones typically communicating with patients. Regardless of how many times patients are told by their primary care clinicians to diet, exercise or take medications to treat these conditions, the concepts are too abstract and too often don’t result in meaningful change.  Here is where we step in and change outcomes. Consulting diagnostic radiologists could empower patients by showing them their images, placing their disease in context, and motivating them to change their habits.

“This is crazy talk! Are you suggesting a consultation clinic where a radiologist motivates patients to eat healthy, exercise, and take their medications?” Well, we have started a clinic doing just that.  I can tell you personally not only does showing patients their images motivate them to improve lifestyle habits, but it’s also fun, incredibly rewarding, and a way to reconnect the countless images you see on a screen every day to the patients’ lives we impact.  We also increase visibility with patients, support referring physicians, and demonstrate value to the health care system. Check out my next blog post to learn more about the details of our diagnostic radiology consultation clinic.

Mark D. Mangano, MD is a first year radiology resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

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