The Perfect Radiology Group

The following post was contributed by guest blogger Mark Kristy, MD 

You probably have a fair idea of what your Perfect Radiology Group would look like. Have you ever considered what your CEO’s ideal radiology group would look like? I and fellow members of the ACR’s Specialty Commission on General, Small and Rural Practice wondered as well, and so I asked the administrator of our rural, upper midwest Community Access Hospital for his views. A few weeks after a hallway consult, I had his response. Many of his ideas were surprisingly concordant with my own views, and others were eye opening.

Many of the “Top Ten Elements” were as routine as you might expect. A focus on the patients: Their care, comfort, resulting imaging study and actionable report was foremost, followed by support of the organization, its mission and its administration. Directing the development of the radiology department and guiding its referring medical staff directly without “jousting” figured prominently. This last seems to be an affirmation of using appropriateness criteria and decision support. A genuine desire to teach and maintain up-to-date knowledge and abilities rounded out the areas of expected agreement.

Other points seem to diverge significantly from what many radiologists see as our traditional role. We should help to provide accurate information for coding and billing of claims in a more active and direct way, rather than passively waiting for the relevant clinical information to be given to us. Presumably this would mean facilitating radiologist’s currently limited access to the various hospital and clinic information systems to allow better assessment of patient needs when the clinician is not available, as is often the case. As part of our responsiveness to provider needs, we also need to understand the “why” of the study being ordered to help us deliver a timely, pertinent report. Lastly, we should be willing to work in certain situations regardless of pay and share the costs of providing care to those who lack the resources to pay for expensive studies.

I was pleased and surprised by my CEO’s participation in this exercise. Without having had any exposure to the ACR’s Imaging 3.0™ initiative, he enumerated many of the concepts we as imagers are currently wrestling with. It appears we have common ground for discussion.

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