Radiology Is an Art (or Vice Versa)?

Williams.tifThis post contributed by Charles D. Williams, MD, FACR.

A recent study published in JACR noted that radiology residents were better able to identify abnormalities in radiographs after analyzing artwork.

I don’t know how many of us may know a (Salvador) DalÍ from “Dogs Playing Poker.” However, it is intriguing that mind exercises outside the reading room just might help us be better at our jobs.

Flamboyant Artist

Describing the art in detail without “interpreting” the artwork helped the young doctors take in all the information they were seeing (to the finest detail) rather than looking for something specific to support a preformed conclusion.

I was once told a story about researchers that asked a spider to jump. Each time it did, they removed a leg. Once they had taken all the legs, they asked the spider to jump one more time. Of course, it couldn’t. So, the researchers concluded that a spider with no legs can’t hear!

You see, sometimes we have the right facts, but come to the wrong conclusions.

The art program may have also helped the residents describe what they were seeing in plain language (where possible) and provide a more thorough report of what they saw. Heard that anywhere? 

Now, I am not suggesting that all radiologists rush to the nearest art gallery (not discouraging it either). However, I do encourage you to think outside the box about things that can improve your work performance and work/life balance.

I have heard that some of us like to sail or have become pilots and find that the pre-sail or pre-flight check list and other aspects of those hobbies have helped them on the job.

I would be interested in knowing if you have any favorite non-radiology exercises or hobbies that you feel help you be a better radiologist (or at least better at some aspects of the job).

If you have examples, would you mind sharing in the comments section below and joining the discussion on Engage (login required)?





Leadership in Interesting Times

rubingThis post contributed by Geoffrey D. Rubin, MD, MBA, FACR, professor of radiology and bioengineering at Duke University and board member of the Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI).

The old saying goes “may you live in interesting times.” With new alternative payment models, government regulation and budgets often stretched to the breaking point, these are certainly interesting times for radiology and radiologists. And the need for strong local leadership in radiology has never been greater.

I can’t encourage you strongly enough to take advantage of the resources that the ACR offers to help seasoned leaders, those now entering leadership and those thinking that they might want to serve in a leadership capacity.

The Radiology Leadership Institute (RLI) Summit kicks off this week. I invite you to look into attending next year. However, if you can’t make that, the RLI offers a host of online resources to help — no matter where you fall on the leadership ladder.

Also, you might have seen my recent article on with hints to help newly minted department leaders succeed as they seek to garner hospital resources to replace aging equipment or grow new programs. It links back to RLI podcasts that can help in any number of scenarios.

The point is: ACR resources are there to help you. But they can’t help, if you don’t use them.

  • Are you new to radiology leadership? Do you have any tips for those looking to become radiology leaders?
  • Are there any tools you found particularly useful?

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

Teamwork Puts Patients First

Hudgins Photo 2This post was contributed by Patricia A. Hudgins, MD, FACR, director of head and neck radiology at Winship Cancer Institute.

Much of the controversy about radiologists giving exam results directly to patients centers on the absence of the referring physician in that process. It does not have to be that way.

As shown in a recent Imaging 3.0 case study at Emory University, where I practice, the radiologist works in the ENT department alongside other providers. We often consult directly with patients, with the buy-in (and participation) of the other doctors.

We have found that patients appreciate this team approach. We also found that they want to hear from us. Radiologists (who want to) should interact with patients and referring providers. Not only is it the right thing to do. It will help ensure that we aren’t left out of important patient care decisions.

As with most things in life, there is more than one way to do things. We found a creative way of providing what we believe is better, more patient-centered care.

  • There were challenges along the way
  • The way that we do things may not work in every practice or practice setting.

However, if we look — and think — outside the box, we can find creative ways to bring radiologists and referring doctors together.

We can find ways to better explain to the patient what is going on and enable them to make more informed health care decisions.

I invite you to explore better collaboration with your referring providers and/or your hospital administrators. You might be surprised what you find.

  • What are you doing in your practice or health care system to work more collaboratively with your referring doctors?

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