Radiology’s Role in Health Equity

Efren J. Flores, MD, Officer, Radiology Community Health & Equity at Massachusetts General Hospital, contributed this post.  

Advancing health equity is a team-based effort in which we all play a vital role. To advance equitable care across all communities, we must come together to take action and overcome structural barriers that include racial, socio-economic and geographic barriers, among others. I recently had the privilege of co-moderating, along with Lucy B. Spalluto, MD, MPH, the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) and American Medical Association’s Understanding and Pursuing Health Equity: Opportunities to Take Action webinar. The webinar brought together several health equity experts from different institutions to discuss radiology’s role in pursuing health equity.

As radiologists, we are strategically positioned to lead collaborative efforts to address and overcome health disparities. Our involvement in the full continuum of patient care lends us an opportunity to step into the forefront of advancing health equity — and we have the skill set, technology and commitment to move this forward.

Whether we harness the technology of artificial intelligence (AI) or lean on support from our advocacy networks, we can work to eliminate the racial, socio-economic and geographical barriers to quality care. While this requires a multifaceted approach, some suggestions to consider include advocating for increased insurance coverage to improve access to care, utilizing AI-powered personalized care through patient outreach and care coordination, offering scheduling flexibility in our services, cost transparency and financial counseling, and leveraging radiology encounters to advance telehealth. Together, we can lead these efforts to bridge the disparities gap.

You can now access the full webinar recording on-demand and earn credits. In addition, the ACR offers other free resources to help you address health equity such as the September 2020 ACR Bulletin special issue on health equity and newly released PHM in Your Practice Podcast.

Together, we can lead the effort to reduce the health disparity gap, advance health equity and ensure high quality care for all.

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

One thought on “Radiology’s Role in Health Equity

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and preliminary suggestions on how radiologists are primed to address issues surrounding health equity. Your thoughts about harnessing AI and Precision medicine in our efforts to coordinate care, (especially screenings), particularly in high-risk black and LatinX communities. As an aspiring breast imager, the statistics on breast cancer in these high-risk populations are concerning, to say the least.

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