CT Colonography a Good Fit for New CRC Screening Age

Dr. YEEThis post was contributed by Judy Yee, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Colon Cancer Committee.

The incidence of colorectal cancer in those under the age of 50 is on the rise. In response, the American Cancer Society recently lowered their recommended screening age from 50 to 45.

As younger generations search for more patient-centered medical options, CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) promises to attract more of these 45-50 year olds (and others) to get screened.

CTC is an American Cancer Society-recommended screening exam. It is as accurate as standard colonoscopy in most people, is less invasive and safer. CTC does not require sedation. It is over in minutes. You can go back to daily activities and you may not need someone else to accompany you and drive you home.

Largely due to ACR-led efforts, 37 states require insurance policies to cover virtual colonoscopy. Insurers that take part in federal exchanges are required by the Affordable Care Act to cover the exam with no patient cost sharing. CIGNA, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and colon-3848others cover the test irrespective of ACA requirements.

This ACS move is an opportunity for radiologists to educate referring providers on  how CT colonography increases screening rates and can attract these new younger patients to get tested.

I urge you to visit the ACR Colon Cancer Resources page. Use the tools and information there to show your referring providers how CT colonography can help attract their patients ages 45 and older to get screened.

These steps can help save lives.

What can the ACR do to help you with starting your CT Colonography practice?

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

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RAD Women: Shattering the Glass Ceiling

MACURA katarzyna 8830This post was contributed by Katarzyna J. Macura, MD, PhD, FACR, and chair of the American College of Radiology Commission for Women and Diversity.

The 2018 American College of Radiology Annual Meeting (ACR 2018) brought forth several historic moments for our specialty, and for women.

Most notably – my colleague and friend, Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR was elected the first woman chair of the American College of Radiology in its nearly 100-year history. Dr. McGinty is a practicing radiologist and an expert in health care strategy and economics, and received the 2018 William T. Thorwarth, Jr., MD, Award at ACR 2018 for these contributions. A faculty member at Weill Cornell Medicine, she currently serves as chief strategy officer and chief contracting offer for the Weill Cornell Physician Organization. She has been a trailblazer for women in radiology, and she is committed to empowering other women to follow in her footsteps, through mentoring and her remarkable responsiveness on social media. As I mentioned during our “2018 Diversity Forum: Women in Radiology – Why Men Should Care” at ACR 2018 on Sunday, this victory for Geraldine is really a victory for all of us.

Speaking of that session – we covered a lot of ground in 90 minutes. We left with a renewed commitment to:

  • Encouraging our colleagues to speak up, speak out and share best practices
  • Ensuring our search committees are considering every single aspect of diversity
  • Ensuring panels at meetings and conferences are 50 percent women
  • Working with our medical schools to increase recruitment and retention of women
  • Supporting women with maternity leave, lactation rooms and flexibility

Indeed, this year, the ACR offered free childcare assistance and an on-site lactation room at ACR 2018.

We also continued to build upon a new tradition began at ACR 2017 with #HeForShe #ACR2018. We created www.acr.org/heforshe as an online resource where attendees could learn more about the College and its members’ efforts to promote gender equity. Attendees used colorful posters and stickers to share how men and women in our specialty are working together in hundreds of social media posts.

Additionally, our colleague Ruth Carlos, MD, MS, FACR was also named the first female editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR).

These moments are encouraging and empowering, and they are victories worth celebrating. But make no mistake – we still have work to do. According to our 2018 Workforce Survey, we’ve doubled the number of female radiologists in the past 25 years. Yet, only 25 percent of all radiologists are female. It’s encouraging that this number rises to 36 percent in radiologists under 35, pointing to a trend of more female radiologists in the future. As a specialty, let’s make sure we’re ready for them.

  • How are you working to attract and retain more women in your facility or program?
  • If you’re a woman in radiology, what challenges are you facing? How can we overcome them?
  • Print the poster and share your #HeForShe #ACR2018 story on social media.

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

Historic ACR-VHA Collaboration to Improve Patient Care

Ian Weissman 3336 EThis post was contributed by Ian A. Weissman, DO, FACR and chair, GSER Network Veterans Affairs Subcommittee

A new sharing of ideas will take place on May 22 at the 2018 American College of Radiology (ACR) Annual Meeting during a groundbreaking Veterans Health Administration (VHA) forum.

Due to hard work from ACR and VHA leadership and staff, VHA will be represented at a session for the first time in the College’s history. The goal of this ACR-VHA collaborative effort is to investigate ways to share resources and develop projects that will advance radiology.

Welcoming increased participation from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) radiologists is important as VHA is the largest integrated health care system in the United States. The VHA represents 1,240 inpatient and outpatient facilities, trains more than 120,000 health care professionals each year, and provides care to over 9 million Veterans enrolled in the VA health care program.

William Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, CEO of the ACR has stated that the “VHA, with their single medical record and long term coverage of the VA population, has tremendous potential for initiatives like validation of Consensus Incidental Findings algorithms, comparative effectiveness research, demonstration of the benefits of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) and development of meaningful and impactful performance measures.”

The College has advocated for VA radiologists through several recent initiatives. First, ACR convinced the VA to abandon a proposal that would allow advanced practice nurses and certified nurse practitioners to interpret advanced medical imaging studies. Second, ACR launched Engage (an online members-only community fostering member engagement) and developed VAROCKS for VA radiologists, an important new member community. Third, ACR provides substantial educational support for VA radiologists through multiple CME-bearing activities.

Several global initiatives of ACR encourage both VA and non-VA radiologists alike to become more patient- and family-centered in their practice, including the creation of the ACR’s Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) and the new resource rich ACR PFCC Toolkit. Another useful resource is RadiologyInfo.org. Established to inform and educate the public about radiologic procedures and the role of radiologists in healthcare, and to improve communications between physicians and their patients, RadiologyInfo.org serves more than 1 million visitors each month.

Other global initiatives helping radiologists include the ACR’s new Data Science Institute™ that facilitates the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) applications that will help radiology professionals provide improved medical care; Imaging 3.0™, that provides radiologists with highly actionable initiatives for immediate implementation; and leadership training through the Radiology Leadership Institute.

Opportunities for leadership and advocacy exist for both VA and non-VA radiologists at the local, state and national level. Participation in radiology and non-radiology medical organizations affords opportunities for personal growth and professional satisfaction. Advocacy improves the health of our patients. Engagement builds relationships and trust amongst our colleagues.

Your participation is welcomed at the new ACR-VHA forum on May 22 in the Hoover room off the Wilson Foyer, in the VAROCKS community on Engage, and the new Veterans Subcommittee.

Your voice matters.

  • Would you like to get involved in this new ACR-VHA collaborative initiative? Please reach out to me or my colleagues in the comments section below or on the Engage discussion board (login required).