Kudos to 2015 Practice Leaders Meeting in Atlanta

The following post was contributed by Rajendra Kedar, MD, of Radiology Associates of Florida, Tower Imaging and the University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, FL.

Every year, leaders in our group have a strategic planning retreat consisting of board members and top administrators.

Our goal has been to review our:

1. Accomplishments and weaknesses over the past few years
2. Current challenges and opportunities, and
3. Short term and long-term future planning

We try to do this away from home without any distractions. This helps us bond, come up with new ideas, and frankly review all aspects of our practice.

This year we decided to attend ACR’s “2015 Practice leaders meeting” in Atlanta. The objectives of this meeting, agenda, and faculty was the motivating factor for seven (six radiologists and a CEO) of our board members to attend this meeting.

We were extremely impressed with the whole program in terms of in-depth analysis, trends, challenges and possible solutions for radiology practices presented by top experts. Enough time was dedicated for open mic and panel discussion and interaction with faculty and other colleague.

Every radiologist (especially those in leadership) must be familiar with topics like Imaging 3.0, clinical decision support, value vs volume, contracting, mergers and acquisitions. These topics were presented very well by the ACR think tank, policy, and legal experts.

During breaks and after conferences, our group got together on the sideline to discuss how can we apply these changes and reinforce new information that we had acquired. Due to this conference, we had many educated, rewarding and stimulating discussions in terms of our current status and strategic planning for the future.

Leadership session are also offered at The Crossroads – ACR 2015™, the College’s all-new, all radiology annual meeting, May 17-21 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC.

CDS: What Radiologists Should Do Between Now and 2017

The following post was contributed by Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR 

This weekend I will be traveling to the ACR’s Practice Leaders’ Meeting in Atlanta. This is a great venue for radiologists to network with peers as well as hear some excellent speakers like Rich Duszak, CMO of the Neiman Health Policy Institute on bundled payments and Larry Muroff on hospital contracting among many others. I’m looking forward to a session I am moderating with Greg Matthews, a media consultant at WCG, on Getting Over your Fears about Social Media and hoping to manage any heckling from the Radiology Twitterati like Matt Hawkins and Harry Jha who’ll be in the audience!

My other topic is of critical importance so I’m glad to be talking about it with this influential group of radiologists. Effective January 2017, Medicare will require use of a clinical decision support tool whenever advanced imaging is ordered. Failure to do so by the ordering physician (or failure to document that it occurred) puts the radiologist’s technical component payment at risk. So what should radiologists be doing between now and 2017? In a nutshell: educating themselves as well as their referring physician community about the ACR’s Appropriateness Criteria and the various electronic ways they can now be accessed for decision support is the first step. Next we’ll all need to set up workflows to support our colleagues when they get a “yellow” or indeterminate recommendation. Most importantly we need to establish a clear leadership role in our health systems and our communities so that we are seen as the owners of appropriate and quality imaging. This is a huge Imaging 3.0 opportunity for us and it’s time to get started!

Imaging 3.0 related sessions are also a focus at The Crossroads – ACR 2015™, the College’s all-new, all radiology annual meeting, May 17-21 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC.

Radiology HIT Policy Advocacy, Meaningful Use and Interoperability

The following post was contributed by guest blogger Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology IT and Informatics Committee.

The American College of Radiology continues to advocate for improvements to the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program (or “Meaningful Use”). Additionally, ACR continues to focus on the proliferation of interoperability through our various health IT policy efforts.

I am proud of our government relations efforts since passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to make MU less challenging and more realistic for radiologists, and to enable those without compliance options to avoid penalties for a period of time. And opportunities remain to continue to address participation barriers and to enhance flexibility via future rulemakings.

The College has continuously educated the federal government on areas of need, including additional compliance options, further integration of radiology data into patients’ records, and proliferating interoperability between referring and rendering providers. ACR’s advocacy resulted in various MU victories both big and small over the years, including the concept of non-comprehensive, customizable “certified EHR technology;” the addition of imaging results; enhanced flexibility through new exclusions, clarifications, and guidance changes; and penalty avoidance options for all ACR members who need them. Additionally, the College has regularly partnered with physician and trade associations to communicate the need for radical regulatory framework changes—recommendations we are hopeful will come to fruition over the next 5 years.

Beyond the scope of the EHR Incentive Program, the College successfully advocated to enhance interoperability requirements for hospitals and health systems that “donate” EHR technology to referring providers below cost via the EHR exception/safe harbor from self-referral/anti-kickback prohibitions. The previously insufficient interoperability prerequisites for donated software did not effectively deter hospitals/systems from charging exorbitant fees for connectivity with outside parties, or from otherwise making orders to competitors impossible or unduly burdensome. These anticompetitive practices can now be reported to federal regulators and curtailed through stricter enforcement.

For those who may not be familiar with MU, interoperability, or radiology informatics, these subjects are a key element of ACR2015™ — the inaugural all-member ACR annual meeting in Washington, DC, May 17 – 21, 2015.

I strongly encourage all radiology professionals to attend ACR 2015 and these sessions.