Make Social Connections

Dr.McGinty(updated)

This post was contributed by Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR.

It’s been a few weeks since I headed home from ACR 2016 and I’m still buzzing. Beyond the cutting-edge educational content and the always inspiring ceremonies, what felt so energizing this year was the sense of community and the focus on patients.

We are all so busy these days and there are myriad ways to get continuing medical education, so one could ask the question: Is a face-to-face conference even relevant anymore? My takeaway from ACR 2016 was that it means more than ever.

Jenny Hoang (@jennykhoang), a Duke University neuroradiologist attending her first ACR meeting ever, described the feeling of arriving at the Marriott Wardman and meeting several Twitter friends in person for the first time and feeling immediately at home. Andy DeLaO (@cancergeek), invited because Matt Hawkins (@MattHawkinsMD) knew him from Twitter, could barely walk through the halls for all the radiologists who wanted to compliment him on his thought-provoking Moreton lecture encouraging us to “step out of the dark and into the light.” And I was thrilled to have one of my go-to sources for health care finance journalism, Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff), share her story of shopping for an MRI as part of our economics programming. The ACR community feels more inclusive of the broader health care community, and we’re better for it.MCGinty_Economics_1080x (1)

Jim Rawson (@Jim_Rawson_MD) gave me a book at the meeting called “A World Gone Social,” and my reading has been punctuated by many “aha moments.” The notion that for an organization “social is not a campaign but a commitment” and that “omission is obsolescence” strikes a powerful chord as we think about how to maintain ACR’s relevance to radiologists and preserve the organization’s unique ability to advocate for access to imaging for our patients. Yes, there is still a little eye-rolling anymore about social media from those who still don’t quite understand its power. Believe me, I already have a list of people to whom I am going to be sending this book!

That said,  I think many who were initially skeptical were impressed by the camaraderie and obvious enjoyment that attendees were taking from connecting in person with those with whom they already have virtual connections. The foundations that we have built for our ACR social community are strong, and the sustenance that those of us who are actively engaged gain from it is very real. The ability to connect face-to-face at the ACR meeting adds a unique richness to our friendships and collaborations that can only advance our mission.

I invite you to check out the ACR Social Media Page to get more information on social media use (including how to get started) and to follow the ACR social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram). I also urge you to connect with those doctors whose handles are listed in this article and use the comments below to share your social media stories.

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Work with Patients and Families to Make Radiology Better

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Donna Adams

This post contributed by patient/family advisor Donna Adams, Augusta, GA.

I recently spoke at ACR 2016 – The Crossroads of Radiology®. To the knowledge of all involved, I was the first patient to speak at an ACR annual meeting. I am told that my appearance reflects a sea of change in the way radiologists interact with patients and how they are working to make radiology more patient- and family-centered. I expect this is true and hope the insights below can help radiology and patients move forward together.

People need to feel valued.

All of us are people and, at one point or another, we are all patients or family members of patients. We want to feel we are equal partners in what happens to us — in the care that we or our loved ones receive.

Patients and families want radiologist contact.

I know radiologists don’t always have the opportunity to interact directly with patients. However, when practical, patients and their family members would like to hear from the radiologist why he or she diagnosed them with a condition or injury and review with them the films or scans to provide the visual explanation for the findings.

Meet with your patients and their families.

Where possible, I strongly urge you to provide patients/families with as much information about your diagnosis as possible and engage them in a conversation regarding your findings. Many people will not ask questions, not because they don’t have any, but rather because they aren’t able to necessarily form their thoughts. Many of their concerns might be emotionally charged resulting in their hesitancy to ask questions. I recommend health professionals lead conversations by asking open-ended questions such as “What concerns you the most about the findings?” This will then give the provider a starting place from which to teach.

Involve patients/families in planning.

In my area, the hospital is involving patients and family members in the planning for and design of new hospital (imaging) facilities. Patient and family advisors, like me, also help inform them how their workflow and operating procedures can be more patient- and family-centered.

Talk to your patients/families to get started.

If you are unsure how to start getting patients involved — talk to them. Ask patients and their family about their experience — if they felt valued as individuals; what they liked; what they felt could be improved; and their recommendations for change. Concern for people’s experiences under your care shows them they are valued. This culture-of-care is what drew most of the advisors at our facility to become advisors. It goes without saying that it is good medical and business practice to establish and strengthen relationships with those you serve.

The ACR has started a Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care chaired by James Rawson, MD, FACR, who practices in Augusta, GA. I, and other patients, serve on that commission. We look forward to helping radiologists and allied professionals work with patients to make radiology better for all of us. The Patient- and Family-Centered Care Resources section on acr.org has more information to help this process.

If you feel like sharing, I would ask that you provide in the comments section below any steps that your practice has taken to institute a culture of being patient and family centered. This kind of idea exchange helps us all.