What’s Your Medical Imaging Story?

Am. College of Radiology-AMCLC

This post was contributed by Jacqueline A. Bello, MD, FACR, Chair of the ACR Commission on Quality and Safety

Helping patients obtain the highest quality care possible is a top priority in my role as chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR)’s Commission on Quality and Safety – and accreditation is a primary way to ensure this. ACR Accreditation has long been recognized as the gold standard in medical imaging, and demonstrates to patients, payers and referring physicians that you and your facility are committed to excellence in quality and safety.

Are you thinking to yourself, “Well, of course you’d say so… you chair the Commission that oversees the program!”? Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it.

The ACR recently launched a new campaign featuring real testimonials from four patients – Carrie, Veena, Milagros and Kevin. These patients gained mobility, peace of mind and more positive outcomes thanks to medical imaging.

Here’s just a sampling of what they had to say:

“As a result of rheumatoid arthritis, I’ve had a number of joint replacements over the years. My mobility was very limited… the imaging we had done gave me a clearer picture, and they do everything in their power to help you get better.” – Kevin

“It was through imaging that I found out it was a tumor the size of a grapefruit… I’ve had blood clots, brain aneurysm, a stroke. I feel that imaging has saved my life.” – Milagros

“Once I learned that I was high risk, the images that we took and the level of communication with our physician kept me at peace throughout my pregnancy.” – Veena

Getting an annual mammogram starting at the age of 40 is simple and is something that you owe to yourself, to your family and to your friends.” – Carrie

The campaign includes videos, digital and print ads, social media, emails, and newsletter and website features. The ACR accreditation website, www.acraccreditation.org, offers a toolkit with informational ads and videos that ACR chapters and members can share within their newsletters and websites. For accredited facilities, customizable ads are available as part of their marketing toolkit.

I hope you’ll take advantage of these new resources to start a conversation with your colleagues and your patients about the importance of accreditation, and its role in quality care.

  • Is your practice or facility ACR Accredited? Share a photo of your gold seal in the comments section below, or on social media using the hashtag #ACRAccreditation
  • Do your patients have a story to share about how medical imaging made a difference in their life? Encourage them to share it on social media using the hashtag #ACRAccreditation

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below or share them on the ACR Engage platform (login required).

Fighting Misinformation Is Our Responsibility

Smetherman_Dana_1This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission Chair Dana H. Smetherman, MD, MPH, MBA, FACR.

There is a steady drip of low-value mammography information out there. That flow was slowed recently as two high-profile critics of breast cancer screening reportedly either resigned from or were forced out of prestigious positions, but the critics will return.

We must continue to counter misinformation with facts. And now we have some new tools to help.

But tools are only effective if we use them.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has produced a series of patient and provider education videos  that we all can:

  • Post on our practice websites
  • Embed in emails to patients and referring providers
  • Use on our practice and personal social media sites
  • Include in presentations at scientific meetings and local speaking opportunities

The videos provide the facts on hot button issues like:

  • Breast cancer overdiagnosis
  • How often women are called back for a second look (and what happens then)
  • What Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) and Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) databases – and randomized, controlled trials – show about mammography’s impact on breast cancer deaths

The Mammography Saves Lives website has also been updated with downloadable resources to help you explain the benefits and risks of mammography and the impact of breast density on mammography effectiveness.

We can’t rely solely on referring physicians to inform patients about breast cancer screening. We must offer our expertise to the discussion.

These ACR resources make it easier for us to do that. We just have to do it.

No one else will.

Please provide your thoughts the comments section below or on the Engage discussion board (login required).

Improving Medical Diagnosis Is a Team Effort

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

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine recently launched its ACT for Better Diagnosis campaign. As a physician, I am sure we all support the goal of improving diagnosis.  In fact, the ACR has championed several efforts that will undoubtedly further this goal.

For instance, at the campaign launch, medical providers from the participating societies and government agencies stressed the importance of:

  • Clinical Decision Support (CDS) use
  • Specialist Involvement in Selecting Appropriate Tests
  • Patient-Doctor Shared Decision-Making and Patient Involvement in System Design
  • Pursuit of Artificial Intelligence Tools to Aid Diagnosis

I am proud to say that the College is a bit of pioneer in advancing all of these areas:

Improving medical diagnosis is a team effort. We need to continue to work together as a College and work together with our referring providers, other societies and our patients to improve the care we provide.

  • What kinds of efforts do you have in place at your practice or health care system to improve diagnosis?

Please provide your thoughts the comments section below or on the Engage discussion board (login required).