Create a High-quality, Cost-effective Lung Screening Process

This post was contributed by Ella Kazerooni, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening Committee and ACR Thoracic Imaging Panel.

Ella KazerooniIt’s been nine months since Medicare’s decision to cover low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening, giving seniors at high-risk for the disease access to care that can save more lives than any cancer screening test in history.

November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month typically provides the opportunity to raise awareness and increase attention to this disease. For providers, it should be a time to gain or sharpen our tools needed to provide safe, effective lung cancer screening with the latest research, toolkits and key patient information.

High-quality, cost-effective screening requires standardized processes, including appropriate identification of individuals for screening, the CT screening technique itself, reporting of the CT results, and the management of positive results, including incidental significant findings and the inclusion of smoking cessation as part of any lung cancer screening program. What necessary steps are you taking to create a quality, sustainable, effective CT lung cancer screening process — paying particular attention to patient safety?

 Critical information is available on the ACR Lung Cancer Screening Resources webpage. Providers can meet Medicare quality reporting requirements to receive payment for lung cancer screening exams by submitting data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-approved American College of Radiology (ACR) Lung Cancer Screening Registry™.

A comprehensive, interactive online education program trains you on how to implement a safe and effective lung cancer screening program, allowing you to earn credits toward Lung Cancer Screening Center physician continuing medical education (CME) needs. Several related sessions will be offered at ACR 2016™, the all-member ACR annual meeting, May 15–19 in Washington, DC. These include advancing the practice of lung cancer screening and developing an effective lung cancer screening team.

Some other educational opportunities are listed below:

We’re in a new era for lung cancer detection, seeing the transition from the efficacy of lung cancer screening shown in clinical trials to effectiveness in clinical practice. How are you improving your practice?

Contact information is provided for questions about the Lung Cancer Screening  Registry or LungRads or billing/reimbursement.

Spread the Word—Better Imaging Means Better Care for Children

This post was contributed by Marta Hernanz-Schulman, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Pediatric Radiology.

Schulman, MartaNov. 8, 2015, is International Day of Radiology (#IDoR2015), and the radiology community will celebrate advances made in pediatric imaging. On this day, 120 years ago, German physicist Wilhelm Röentgen discovered the X-ray, and the science of medical imaging was born.

His discovery and subsequent discoveries, including ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have revolutionized medicine and saved countless lives. This year, we celebrate the impact of these life-saving procedures on the care of children. It’s time to let the world know that medical imaging and radiation oncology make a world of difference every day in our children’s care.

Through X-ray modalities [such as radiographs and computed tomography (CT) scans] and other imaging (such as ultrasound and MRI), correct diagnoses are more quickly made — much less invasively than in the past. Children no longer have to undergo exploratory surgery for suspected appendicitis, as ultrasound and CT have dramatically lowered the rate of unnecessary operations for children who do not have appendicitis. Children also do not have to undergo exploratory surgery to assess the presence and degree of injuries after severe trauma, such as after major motor vehicle accidents. Surgery is now reserved for those patients who need surgical treatment, and the surgery can be confined to the treatment of known injuries, not to their identification. Similarly, severe head injuries requiring neurosurgical intervention can be quickly identified, and lifesaving, timely treatment can be instituted. Imaging results allow physicians to quickly address urgent situations or rule out illness or injury to give parents peace of mind.IDOR_poster_thumb

Through ongoing efforts like the Image Gently® campaign, collaborations with pediatric radiology societies (such as the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) and other societies dedicated to children’s imaging around the world) and collaboration with imaging equipment manufacturers, radiologists are making pediatric imaging exams better, safer, and less invasive every day.

Radiation therapy is also a modern result of Röentgen’s discovery. Today, 44 percent of children diagnosed with cancer are treated with radiation therapy, helping to save countless lives. Survival for many childhood cancers has dramatically improved over the last few decades as use of these technologies has increased.

Using ACR’s free resources, we can build greater awareness of the value that radiology research, diagnosis and treatment contribute to safe patient care — especially for children. ACR’s online communications toolkit includes a customizable news release, op-ed, print and web ads, and social media posts.

It’s time to let others understand the vital role radiologists perform in health care delivery. How are you celebrating #IDoR2015?

The Crossroads of Radiology Shows Us the Path Forward

This post is contributed by Cheri Canon, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR 2016 program committee.

Cheri CanonphotoWe are at a crossroads in how we deliver care, how we are reimbursed for services, and how we interact with patients, other providers, and payers. As the health care landscape shifts, we need to find the new solid ground, to learn how to strengthen our practices and become better providers. ACR 2016 — the American College of Radiology all-radiology annual meeting — can help us do that and more.

The Crossroads of Radiology® (as ACR 2016 is known) focuses on advocacy, policy, Imaging 3.0, economics and practice quality improvement — issues that shape radiology’s future. Its flexible program provides sessions on leadership, clinical education, advocacy, economics, informatics and innovation, and quality and safety.

I strongly urge you to take part in Capitol Hill Day. ACR volunteers and staff schedule meetings with our elected officials and help prepare us to bring the “Voice of Radiology” directly to our lawmakers. In advocacy sessions, we’ll examine the nuts and bolts of health payment policy and explore how quality, data and informatics intersect with radiology practice and payment models.

Imaging 3.0™ and Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI) sessions help us provide more patient- and family-centered care and learn business and leadership skills to succeed in new health care delivery and payment systems.

Health care is changing. We have to stay ahead of the curve. ACR 2016 helps equip us to do that—whether you’re a seasoned expert, a resident or fellow who needs practical tools for career development, or a young/early-career physician, who wants to continue building a successful practice.

With that in mind, what steps are you taking to shape the future of your practice?