Do Radiologists Have an Image Problem?

RawsonHeadshotThis post was contributed by American College of Radiology Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care Chair James Rawson, MD, FACR.

A recent KevinMD Blog post stated that radiologists have an image problem. The post highlights a small study presented at ACR 2017 by doctors from a practice that found that less than half their patients knew radiologists are doctors. The practice made educational materials available in their waiting room and found this helped more of their patients know that they were physicians.

Years ago, ACR did a test measurement and education campaign in select areas called “The Face of Radiology.” Many Americans did not know that radiologists are doctors. Radio commercials, print advertisements and waiting room education materials increased the number of people who knew what radiologists are and do.

We found that the root of the problem then was that patients rarely interacted with diagnostic radiologists However, the most obvious finding was that we can’t “advertise our way” to better patient knowledge of who we are and what we do.

Sustained patient acceptance that you are one of their doctors has to be reinforced by patient experience.

We have to be creative and willing to enhance our patient-engagement skills and offer more patient- and family-centered care. Maybe you just make yourself available for patients? Maybe there is another option that would work better in your practice? I invite you to look at what can be done.

The Imaging 3.0 initiative, along with Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care resources, can help you improve the patient experience.  I encourage you to use these resources, along with the new Radiologist’s Toolkit for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, to become more visible to patients and referring physicians.

Another great resource is the JACR special issue on Patient- and Family- Centered Care.

The more we engage with patients and providers, the more input we will have on shaping the future of medicine.

How have you enhanced your patient-engagement skills to offer more patient-centered care?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

One thought on “Do Radiologists Have an Image Problem?

  1. The rest of medical fraternity should play a role in making it easier for patients and society to recognize that medicine is interlinked despite what department a doctor is from, be it radiology, surgery or internal medicine.

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