Radiology’s Role in Health Care Extends Well Beyond the Dark Room

ACR-18This post was contributed by Arl Van Moore, Jr., MD, chair of the ACR Delegation to the AMA House of Delegates.

At the American Medical Association (AMA) Annual Meeting in Chicago earlier this week, Scott Ferguson, MD, founder of Outpatient Radiology Clinic in West Memphis, Arkansas, was elected to the AMA’s Board of Trustees. I am proud to announce that radiology now has a voice not only on the Board of Trustees, but also on four of the six AMA Councils.

Other members of the AMA Radiology caucus have taken on the following leadership roles after being elected at the A-18 AMA meeting:

  • Kevin Reilly, MD (KY) – Council on Constitution and Bylaws
  • Sheila Rege, MD (WA) – Council on Medical Service
  • Gunjan Malhotra, MD (MI) – AMA RFS Vice-Chair

And two radiologists already serving on AMA councils are:

  • Jacqueline Bello, MD (NY) – Council on Medical Education
  • Alex Ding, MD (CA) – Council on Science and Public Health

The American College of Radiology (ACR), the AMA and these elected leaders each recognize the importance of collaboration across specialties with respect to improving the delivery of patient care. As health care in the United States moves increasingly toward value based, patient- and family-centered care, radiologists have unique opportunities to improve the patient experience, reduce and eliminate unnecessary procedures and maximize value. We are leveraging the ACR Appropriateness Criteria to help referring physicians make the most appropriate decisions for specific clinical conditions. We’re learning from case studies like this recent example in suburban Philadelphia, where radiologists and emergency department physicians used the Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN)™ to achieve a 45 percent improvement in appropriate CT ordering for pulmonary embolism.

Both the AMA and the ACR are also increasing efforts to engage with medical students and better prepare the next generation of doctors for the opportunities and challenges they will face. Nearly every hospital patient will undergo some type of radiological exam, yet undergraduate medical education curricula often don’t include comprehensive instruction on appropriate imaging. This results in some patients experiencing unnecessary imaging, radiation and costs. The web-based program Radiology-TEACHES uses case vignettes in ACR’s CORTEX integrated with the CareSelect™ clinical decision support (CDS) tool to simulate the image ordering process and educate learners about appropriate imaging.

No matter where we as radiologists fall on the continuum of an individual patient’s care, we possess a unique opportunity to break down silos and enhance collaboration that leads to better outcomes. This is true not only within radiology but also across specialty lines as we work with colleagues in different referral specialties. It will require good leadership within our specialty as well as a commitment to teamwork to help bridge these gaps and develop these teams. This representation at the AMA will help us accomplish that!

  • How are you working to collaborate across specialties and build health teams to achieve better outcomes for your patients?

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