Historic ACR-VHA Collaboration to Improve Patient Care

Ian Weissman 3336 EThis post was contributed by Ian A. Weissman, DO, FACR and chair, GSER Network Veterans Affairs Subcommittee

A new sharing of ideas will take place on May 22 at the 2018 American College of Radiology (ACR) Annual Meeting during a groundbreaking Veterans Health Administration (VHA) forum.

Due to hard work from ACR and VHA leadership and staff, VHA will be represented at a session for the first time in the College’s history. The goal of this ACR-VHA collaborative effort is to investigate ways to share resources and develop projects that will advance radiology.

Welcoming increased participation from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) radiologists is important as VHA is the largest integrated health care system in the United States. The VHA represents 1,240 inpatient and outpatient facilities, trains more than 120,000 health care professionals each year, and provides care to over 9 million Veterans enrolled in the VA health care program.

William Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, CEO of the ACR has stated that the “VHA, with their single medical record and long term coverage of the VA population, has tremendous potential for initiatives like validation of Consensus Incidental Findings algorithms, comparative effectiveness research, demonstration of the benefits of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) and development of meaningful and impactful performance measures.”

The College has advocated for VA radiologists through several recent initiatives. First, ACR convinced the VA to abandon a proposal that would allow advanced practice nurses and certified nurse practitioners to interpret advanced medical imaging studies. Second, ACR launched Engage (an online members-only community fostering member engagement) and developed VAROCKS for VA radiologists, an important new member community. Third, ACR provides substantial educational support for VA radiologists through multiple CME-bearing activities.

Several global initiatives of ACR encourage both VA and non-VA radiologists alike to become more patient- and family-centered in their practice, including the creation of the ACR’s Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) and the new resource rich ACR PFCC Toolkit. Another useful resource is RadiologyInfo.org. Established to inform and educate the public about radiologic procedures and the role of radiologists in healthcare, and to improve communications between physicians and their patients, RadiologyInfo.org serves more than 1 million visitors each month.

Other global initiatives helping radiologists include the ACR’s new Data Science Institute™ that facilitates the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) applications that will help radiology professionals provide improved medical care; Imaging 3.0™, that provides radiologists with highly actionable initiatives for immediate implementation; and leadership training through the Radiology Leadership Institute.

Opportunities for leadership and advocacy exist for both VA and non-VA radiologists at the local, state and national level. Participation in radiology and non-radiology medical organizations affords opportunities for personal growth and professional satisfaction. Advocacy improves the health of our patients. Engagement builds relationships and trust amongst our colleagues.

Your participation is welcomed at the new ACR-VHA forum on May 22 in the Hoover room off the Wilson Foyer, in the VAROCKS community on Engage, and the new Veterans Subcommittee.

Your voice matters.

  • Would you like to get involved in this new ACR-VHA collaborative initiative? Please reach out to me or my colleagues in the comments section below or on the Engage discussion board (login required).

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