Patient Contact: One Way Forward

RawsonHeadshotThis post was submitted by James V. Rawson, MD, FACR.

As chair of the ACR Commission on Patient and Family-Centered Care, I know radiologists don’t always have the opportunity to interact directly with patients. However, such conversations empower patients to make informed health care choices. This is a key part of a positive patient experience increasingly tied to reimbursement. It is also good medical and business practice to establish and strengthen relationships with those you serve.

In addition to direct patient contact; and involving patients in facility equipment purchases, practice layout and workflow planning; many of us are using social media to reach those outside of “traditional” radiology circles. In January 2015, I had the opportunity to do a TEDx Talk on Virtual Communities and Social Media and described just how much you can expand the people you interact with. I also have more than 3,000 Twitter followers (@Jim_Rawson_MD‬‬‬‬‪), but social media is not about how many followers you have. Social media is about interacting with others. ‬‬‬

One way I, and other radiologists, gain and share information with those outside radiology via social media, is to take part in “tweet chats” organized by the Health Care Leaders group under the hashtag #HCLDR. This is a vibrant online community of people who share a passion for improving health care. The chats are held every Tuesday at 8:30 pm ET. Participants include patients, doctors, nurses, CEOs, IT folks, caregivers, policy makers and students from around the world. Chat topics include health care leadership, health safety, health care ethics and health care motivation.

The latest #HCLDR chat that I took part in drew more than 100 participants; generated 1,200 tweets; and created more than 5 million impressions in one hour (number of people who potentially read these tweets). Here is a transcript of that chat.

Social media use is just one of a number of ways that you can increase your communication with those you serve, their caregivers, and with others in the health care arena to gain insight on how you might improve the care you provide and your patient’s satisfaction with that care.

I invite you to read a Q&A I did with the ACR Bulletin that more fully explains the need for patient- and family-centered radiology. I also invite you to check out the Patient- and Family-Centered Care Resources section on for more information on steps you might take to provide more patient- and family-centered care and ease your transition to new value-based health care payment and delivery models.

And, if you feel like sharing, I would ask that provide in the comments section below any steps that your practice has taken to provide more patient- and family–centered care. This kind of idea exchange helps all of us.

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