Conducting the Patient Care Orchestra

Dr.McGinty(updated)_andcroppedThe following post was contributed by Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, vice chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.

A recent JACR article confirmed what most radiologists have long suspected — we serve more Medicare patients than any other specialty. This may uniquely position us to coordinate the imaging care our patients receive.

How do we leverage these many opportunities for more interaction and partnership with referring providers to make sure our patients get the best care possible?

Radiologists can do so through federally funded — and ACR-operated  — Radiology Support Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN) and increasingly through other appropriate use criteria-based clinical decision support systems. Medicare will require use of these systems starting Jan. 1, 2020.

The sheer volume of patients we care for may also provide opportunity for more interaction with patients  through direct reporting of results to patients or via the emerging use of patient portals.

The point is — we do not have to remain in the dark (room). If we choose to, we can do more to cement our public place as part of the patient care team.

More interaction may not be something that all (or even most) of us may choose — but the opportunities are there.

  • Are you surprised that radiologists provide care for more patients than other physicians?
  • Do you see opportunities in your own practice or system for radiologists to have more interaction with patients and referring providers?

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

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Filling the Patient Information Gap

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Geoffrey Rubin, MD

This post contributed by Geoffrey D. Rubin, MD, MBA, FACR, and Arun Krishnaraj, MD, MPH, ACR co-chair and vice-chair (respectively) of the RSNA-ACR Joint Public Information Website Committee.

A recent study showed that patients want information about imaging exams they are prescribed —- and that many are not getting it. This is a wakeup call, but also an opportunity for radiologists to fill that need by directing their patients and referring providers to RadiologyInfo.org.

The ACR co-operates this patient information site with RSNA. The site is continually updated by committees with members from both societies. And RadiologyInfo.org gets over a million visitors per month.

The study found that patients were most interested in information on:

  1. How to prepare for an exam
  2. Necessity of an exam
  3. Radiation used in exams (and radiation-free alternatives)

RadiologyInfo.org has a wealth of information on all of these subjects for every included exam.

Arun

Arun Krishnaraj, MD

Seventy-one percent of respondents want to get such information from the referring provider. We should make our referring providers aware of RadiologyInfo.org and direct them to it as opportunities allow.

However, more than half of patients seek out such information themselves. This may be an opportunity to include site information in bill-stuffers, on our practice/department websites and in other patient communications.

In the era of patient-centered care, patients want information to help them make informed decisions. RadiologyInfo.org can help us be that source.

Do we really want them getting such information from somebody else?

  • What are some things that your practice or department is doing to keep patients informed?
  • Are you seeing that patients want more information than in years past?

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

Why Choose Radiology?

Am. College of Radiology-AMCLCThis post was contributed by Jacqueline Bello, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Quality and Safety.

Friday, March 16 is “Match Day” – when the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) releases results. This may be the most significant day of the year for approximately 40,000 medical students seeking residency positions in the United States.

Recently, a medical student debating between radiology and another specialty reached out to me with several questions.

Here is the abridged version of my responses:

Q – What is a typical day like as a radiologist? 

As a radiologist, every day counts – not only in terms of personal satisfaction, but also for the difference I make in the care of each patient whose scan I read, or procedure I perform.

I have the opportunity to discuss patients’ care with them, or with their primary doctors who come to me for help. In between reading scans, I often take phone calls asking what is the best imaging study for this condition, or can I explain the significance of the findings I reported?

Surgeons ask whether I agree that surgery is (or isn’t) necessary, and whether I think a tumor is likely to be benign or malignant. Medical specialists ask me to compare pre- and post-treatment scans for patients on experimental drug trials, to see whether they should continue or change treatment.

I used to also do a lot of neurointerventional procedures, ranging from “busting” clots in acute stroke, to coiling ruptured aneurysms, embolizing arterial venous malformations, draining abscesses and performing pain management procedures, all under image guidance.

Q – What factors did you take into consideration when deciding on a specialty? 

I tried to objectively judge my “happiness level” during various clinical activities. I tried NOT to assume that my professional experience would necessarily mirror that of a physician with whom I was impressed. Instead, I tried to imagine myself in that particular daily work experience.

I also “ruled out” certain specialties based on their limited focus. I enjoyed learning about the entire human body in medical school, so did I really want to deal with just eyes if I specialized in ophthalmology? (Not to underestimate their importance, especially for a radiologist!)

Q – What do you like, and dislike, about radiology?

What I like most is being the “go to” person in diagnosis, and being able to contribute to treatment. Hard to think of dislikes… my pager comes to mind.

Q – If I decide to pursue a residency in radiology, what do you recommend in terms of rotations, extracurricular activities and research? 

Places, like people, have personalities, and you will do best in training where you feel most comfortable, based on the people and the program’s style.  Consider joining an interest group in radiology (if your school has one), and become a student member of the ACR and RSNA.

Now a question for you – How would you respond to medical students interested in our specialty?

  • Why did you choose radiology or radiation oncology?
  • What do you like best – and least – about your job?
  • What recommendations do you have for rotations, extracurricular activities and research?

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