What It’s Really Like to Participate in an ACR Fellowship

DrBookerThis post was contributed by Michael Booker, MD, MBA, who is a 3rd year radiology resident at the University of California, San Diego.

It can be daunting as a resident to try to understand the modern United States healthcare system. The industry is incredibly complex and often incomprehensible, with innumerable acronyms, acronyms within acronyms, and opaque language and terminology. Despite this, sustainable and impactful change requires that radiologists become familiar with the current system to drive future transformation. Fortunately for residents and fellows, the American College of Radiology (ACR) invests their time and expertise mentoring and teaching trainees for just this purpose.

The ACR Fellowship Programs represent a particularly unique opportunity to spend dedicated time not only learning, but also working with thought leaders at the ACR. I recently participated in the James M. Moorefield Economics & Health Policy Fellowship. The fellowship, which first began in 2003, is named for Dr. Moorefield in recognition of his service on the ACR Commission on Economics and for his help developing and implementing a relative value scale for radiology in the face of proposed payment cuts.  These efforts continue as a major component of the ACR, and greatly impact every practicing radiologist in the country.

The Moorefield Fellowship embedded me in the Economics and Health Policy teams at ACR headquarters in Virginia for two weeks. Importantly, no prior knowledge was required! The staff was warm and welcoming – eager to meet me at my level of understanding, with dedicated time for teaching and discussion. Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of activity when it comes to economics and health policy. I had the opportunity to work on projects which touched on CPT, RUC, APM/MACRA, HOPPS, clinical decision support, private payer coverage, etc. Specifically, I worked on upcoming RUC cycle relative value unit reevaluations, coding and nomenclature support for ACR members, and site-neutral payment policies. These experiences were bolstered by adjunct opportunities to be a guest of the ACR at recent CPT and RUC meetings. Since I am going into Body Imaging, I specifically involved myself on projects evaluating private insurance coverage for MRI Prostate and CT Colonography reimbursement. I was also able to travel the short commute to the ACR Government Relations office in downtown Washington, DC, where I attended a MedPAC meeting pertinent to medical imaging.

To make the most of being physically present at ACR headquarters, the fellowship also provided opportunities to meet with departments throughout the organization, including the Data Science Institute, Quality and Safety, ACR Press, Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, Legal, and Membership. The breadth and depth of work being done on behalf of ACR members and our patients is truly astounding, and correlates with an equally large number of opportunities for engagement depending on your interests and experience.

It goes without saying that the Moorefield Fellowship is an incredibly unique opportunity. The two weeks I spent at the ACR, and the ongoing relationships I formed, easily exceeded all of my expectations. I strongly encourage residents and fellows to browse the list of fellowships and apply for the one you find most interesting. The more informed and engaged radiologists and radiation oncologists become, the better the future will be for our specialty and our patients.

  • Have you participated in the Moorefield Fellowship, or one of our other fellowships? 
  • Do you know someone who might be interested in the Moorefield Fellowship? Apply by June 1, 2018.

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Conducting the Patient Care Orchestra

Dr.McGinty(updated)_andcroppedThe following post was contributed by Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, vice chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.

A recent JACR article confirmed what most radiologists have long suspected — we serve more Medicare patients than any other specialty. This may uniquely position us to coordinate the imaging care our patients receive.

How do we leverage these many opportunities for more interaction and partnership with referring providers to make sure our patients get the best care possible?

Radiologists can do so through federally funded — and ACR-operated  — Radiology Support Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN) and increasingly through other appropriate use criteria-based clinical decision support systems. Medicare will require use of these systems starting Jan. 1, 2020.

The sheer volume of patients we care for may also provide opportunity for more interaction with patients  through direct reporting of results to patients or via the emerging use of patient portals.

The point is — we do not have to remain in the dark (room). If we choose to, we can do more to cement our public place as part of the patient care team.

More interaction may not be something that all (or even most) of us may choose — but the opportunities are there.

  • Are you surprised that radiologists provide care for more patients than other physicians?
  • Do you see opportunities in your own practice or system for radiologists to have more interaction with patients and referring providers?

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

Filling the Patient Information Gap

rubing

Geoffrey Rubin, MD

This post contributed by Geoffrey D. Rubin, MD, MBA, FACR, and Arun Krishnaraj, MD, MPH, ACR co-chair and vice-chair (respectively) of the RSNA-ACR Joint Public Information Website Committee.

A recent study showed that patients want information about imaging exams they are prescribed —- and that many are not getting it. This is a wakeup call, but also an opportunity for radiologists to fill that need by directing their patients and referring providers to RadiologyInfo.org.

The ACR co-operates this patient information site with RSNA. The site is continually updated by committees with members from both societies. And RadiologyInfo.org gets over a million visitors per month.

The study found that patients were most interested in information on:

  1. How to prepare for an exam
  2. Necessity of an exam
  3. Radiation used in exams (and radiation-free alternatives)

RadiologyInfo.org has a wealth of information on all of these subjects for every included exam.

Arun

Arun Krishnaraj, MD

Seventy-one percent of respondents want to get such information from the referring provider. We should make our referring providers aware of RadiologyInfo.org and direct them to it as opportunities allow.

However, more than half of patients seek out such information themselves. This may be an opportunity to include site information in bill-stuffers, on our practice/department websites and in other patient communications.

In the era of patient-centered care, patients want information to help them make informed decisions. RadiologyInfo.org can help us be that source.

Do we really want them getting such information from somebody else?

  • What are some things that your practice or department is doing to keep patients informed?
  • Are you seeing that patients want more information than in years past?

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