More Women Needed in Radiology

Dr.McGinty(updated)_andcroppedDr. Kathleen Ward, an inaugural Fellow of the American Association of Women Radiologists,  recently acknowledged that radiology lags behind other specialties and medical school classes in gender diversity.

To boost recruitment, Dr. Ward urged that all medical students be exposed to radiology early in their clinical years.

Many of us are in the thick of residency interviews. The consensus is that we are getting more terrific candidates than ever. Some programs are now measuring their match performance not just on the board scores of their future residents, but also on the diversity of the group.

That is a positive trend. We know that what gets measured gets done. But, why is it important to make our profession more diverse?

Statistics show that business performance improves with more diverse boards and corporate leadership. Is the same true of radiology?

Also, as we face disruptions around the application of machine learning to our work, should we have to worry about the gender or ethnicity of those who perform it?

For me, the answer boils down to what I see as our core purpose as physicians: serving our patients. Specifically: our imperative to refashion our processes of care around our patients rather than around our needs. We do that most effectively when we reflect the community we serve.

This is not to say that we have to do that in a prescriptive way, but that the conversations around research direction, around technology innovation and around metrics of practice quality can be enabled and improved by bringing in diverse viewpoints and perspectives.

I’m excited about foundational work that the American College of Radiology will undertake early in 2018 under the auspices of the Commission on Women and Diversity. A rigorous survey will be conducted so that we can better understand the barriers to a more diverse radiology workforce.

I find some of the anecdotes that point to women’s fear of physics or working in dark rooms worthy of an eye roll. But I’d like to have actionable real data either way. We’re grateful to Dr. Pari Pandharipande of the Massachusetts General Hospital for her leadership on this important initiative.

On a lighter note: we need more women in radiology because those we have are an inspiring, energetic and cool bunch! They are my mentors, teachers and friends. Our #radxx community is strong and growing using innovative tools and partnerships to build community. We are delighted to include our #radxy colleagues because they, too, are our mentors, teachers and friends.

Wishing you and those you love a very happy holiday, and we’ll see you next year!

Please share your thoughts on how we can make radiology more diverse  in the comments section below and joining the discussion on Engage (login required).

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Getting Through “Interesting Times”

Dr Thorwarth_20140414_008This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Chief Executive Officer William T. Thorwarth, MD, FACR.

You have likely heard the saying “may you live in interesting times.” We in radiology and healthcare are certainly experiencing sweeping changes.

As always, the ACR stands with you.

The ACR continually improves to ensure that we are the best possible position to help our members and the patients they serve as things get more “interesting.”

The links above take you to resources to help you stay informed on, participate in, or even counter these (and other) trends or issues.

The new customizable ACR.org website, designed for members by members, offers a more interactive, mobile-friendly experience that “learns” from user behavior to make it easier to find what you need. In particular, you will find the improved search function to be invaluable.

I invite you to get familiar with the important issues facing radiology. You never know when they may impact your practice or when you may have the opportunity to do something about them.

Check out the new ACR.org. Let us know what you think. We look forward to your feedback.

We at ACR wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season!

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

What’s the Big Picture on the Anthem Imaging Policy?

Brink Headshot JPGThis post was contributed by James A. Brink, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.

Soon you will receive in the mail a print copy of my latest JACR column explaining why the ACR opposes recent Anthem outpatient imaging policies and why this action supports all radiologists and our patients.

There is some confusion among members on the ACR stance. The College wants you to see our rationale as soon as possible.

Anthem now bars many beneficiaries from getting advanced imaging in hospital outpatient departments. Modern Healthcare recently reported how these policies can disadvantage patients for whom hospitals provide their desired or most convenient access to imaging exams.

Anthem has accelerated a reimbursement race to the bottom that threatens our ability to offer care in all locations that patients may want to receive it. That is why the American Medical Association (AMA) and a growing number of patient groups oppose the Anthem policy.

The ACR is not taking sides in the marketplace (hospital vs. freestanding radiologists). The ACR would equally oppose a reverse steerage policy that arbitrarily moved patients from independent imaging centers to hospital-based facilities.

Whether you practice in a hospital-based or independently owned facility, this insurer-driven steerage is detrimental to you and your patients. That is why the ACR opposes it.

Please keep an eye on your mailbox for the ACR letter and on your inbox for further updates from the College on this vitally important issue. We need to stand united.