Make the Connection

youmansThis post was contributed by David C. Youmans, MD, FACR, chair of the Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN) and practicing radiologist in Princeton, N.J.

At our recent ACR 2017 meeting, hundreds of radiologists marched up Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators and discuss issues of importance to us and to our patients.

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More than 520 ACR members met with lawmakers during ACR 2017

Much more than an opportunity to get an interesting photo for your office or living room, these interactions are a vital avenue to development of better health policy and to improving patient care.

Now that the excitement of being in Washington has passed, I encourage all of us as radiologists to continue engaging decision makers year round — not just during the ACR annual meeting.

Follow-up communications or tours of your imaging facility provide effective ways to develop relationships with both federal and state legislators.

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NJ Chapter meets with congressional staff

The Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN) can equip you to make critical points in discussions with local, state and federal decision makers.

This can help all of us keep them more informed as they make decisions that can help us all provide better care.

A wealth of RAN resources are available to help you:

  • Understand current legislative and regulatory issues affecting radiology
  • Explain why policies under consideration may or may not be the best path to follow
  • Get involved — by contacting lawmakers to provide your insights on issues they may be deliberating

Please take advantage of the RAN resources. Get involved. Together, we can make health care better.

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Dr. Youmans with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

A few questions:

  • What did you learn from meeting with your local, state or federal lawmakers?
  • What advice do you have for others who may do so?

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

Feel free to share informative content on the Radiology Advocacy Network’s Facebook page or on Twitter @ACRRAN.


Artificial Intelligence: Science Fiction to Science Fact

Am. College of Radiology-AMCLC

This post was contributed by Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, chief medical officer of the ACR Data Science Institute.

You may have heard that medical imaging artificial intelligence (AI) might one day replace radiologists. This is science fiction.

Science fact is — AI use can only increase the value radiologists provide — not diminish it.

Technologies are emerging that can help radiologists improve imaging care. However, for these tools to be most effective, a national framework must be established to:

  • Identify where data science tools will be most helpful for imaging care
  • Make AI tools accessible across various software and hardware platforms
  • Incorporate AI effectively into radiology clinical workflow

The newly launched American College of Radiology Data Science Institute™ (DSI) will lead the effort to create this framework.

The ACR Data Science Institute is an industry-wide, vendor-neutral approach to validating and implementing AI technologies into radiology practice.

The DSI approach is similar to the ACR’s pioneering role in working with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to create Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standards.

These DICOM standards promoted adoption of digital modalities, filmless radiology and PACS, advanced visualization, and image distribution.

Such tools have helped radiology and radiologists make medical imaging better. AI will one day help us improve patient care even more.

  • How do you see medical imaging AI improving patient care?
  • How do you think medical imaging AI will change radiology?

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

Getting Involved: Taking That First Step

Ferrara_StephenThis post was contributed by Stephen Ferrara, MD, an interventional radiologist and candidate for Arizona’s 9th Congressional District seat.

In a previous Voice of Radiology post on the 2016 presidential and congressional elections, I said “an angry and polarized electorate is clamoring for bold changes…”

I count myself among those wanting change — so much so that I decided to run for Congress in my home state of Arizona.

I encourage you to get involved in the medical or the public arena as well. Serving on a hospital committee or running for school board or city council, we have a great deal to contribute in both talent and ideas.

Diversity of viewpoints leads to a richer discussion. Higher level stakeholder engagement leads to higher quality governance.

Important changes are being considered at every level of government — local, state and federal. Someone is going to make those decisions. And they will do it with or without your input.Time is Action_254x190

It is vital that radiologists and allied health professionals engage decision makers and, if you hear the calling, even become the decision makers.

Radiology touches nearly every part of medicine. Our valuable insight on the health care system can help make medicine better. It can make life better for those we serve — but only if we decide to get involved.

Like most things, the first step is often the hardest, but that is the way every meaningful journey begins.

Need concrete steps to help you to take a leadership role in shaping the health care system and serving your communities? ACR provides extensive free resources, including the:

How are you relaying the value you bring to patients, the public and policymakers?

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