Taking Action to Help Our Patients and Practices

FullSizeRender (1)This post was contributed by Ami A. Shah, MD, American College of Radiology (ACR) Alternate Delegate to the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates

I recently had the honor and responsibility of serving as an ACR alternate delegate to the AMA House of Delegates. I stress “responsibility” because what is decided at these meetings can impact our practices and our patients for years to come.

For example, this year, the ACR and the AMA Radiology Section Council supported AMA Resolution 803, brought by the AMA resident and fellows section, which urged support for access to — and insurance coverage for — supplemental screening (MRI, ultrasound, etc.) for women with dense breasts.Shah at AMA 2

In my testimony, I educated the AMA delegates on the federal mandate to report breast density. I also informed them that many states, including my own, require me to send a letter to patients informing them that their breast tissue is dense and instructing them to “Use this information to talk to you doctor about your own risks for breast cancer. At this time, ask your doctor if more screening tests might be useful, based on your risk. A report of your results was sent to your physician.”

I stated that the ACR holds that mammography and appropriate supplemental screening exams should be covered by insurers. Otherwise, there may be an unfortunate disparity between women who can afford to pay for additional screening and those who cannot.

The ACR and AMA recognize the importance of collaboration across specialties to improve the delivery of, and access to, quality patient care.

I learned aShah at AMA 1.jpg great deal about the importance of radiology participation in the AMA. Engaging the entire house of medicine can help many of our patients.

As health care evolves toward value-based, patient- and family-centered care, radiologists have unique opportunities to shape medical policy and improve the patient experience.

I strongly urge you to consider taking part in your ACR state chapter, on ACR commissions and committees, and/or representing our profession through active involvement in your state medical society.

Together, we can build a better health care future for our practices and our patients.

  • How can the ACR engage more members to become AMA members and ensure that radiology’s vital role in patient care and population health is known by the rest of the house of medicine?

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



Radiology is a Team Effort

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

We’re nearing the end of National Radiologic Technology Week®, a celebration of colleagues that are near and dear to us (as radiologists), to the 32 radiologic technologists on staff at the ACR, and most importantly –  to our patients.

The contributions of radiologic technologists have been invaluable to radiography, other diagnostic imaging modalities, interventional radiology and radiation oncology. In addition to their scientific capabilities, technologists embody empathy every day during their constant interactions with patients, in step with radiologists who aspire to the principles of Imaging 3.0 and patient-centered practice.

The theme of this year’s celebration, led by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), is “Powerful Together.” Indeed, achieving patient care that is personalized, compassionate, comprehensive and safe requires collaboration between radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, medical physicists and technologists.

One recent example: the ACR works collaboratively with other stakeholders including the ASRT, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), and the Society of Radiology Physician Extenders (SRPE). We advocated for Radiologists Assistants (R.R.A.s and RPAs) to be able to perform diagnostic tests for Medicare patients under a direct level of physician supervision to the extent permitted by state law and state scope of practice regulation – and thanks to the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule released Nov. 1, they can. This is a victory for Medicare patients, because it will help reduce wait times. It’s a victory for radiology care teams because it will reduce the regulatory burden and enable radiologists to perform more complex cases and concentrate on the final interpretation of images and RA performed studies.

If you use social media, I encourage you to explore the hashtags #NRTW, #NRTW18 and #RadTechWeek to see the many faces of those making a difference for patients every day. Technologists are a passionate, committed group of professionals, and we are privileged to work together to advance medical innovation and the highest quality care.

Thank you for being part of this team!

  • How are you and your radiologic technologists working together to improve patient care?
  • This week, ask your radiologic technologists what they love most about their role, and/or anything they wish could be improved. It might start a dialogue that could change the way you work!

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

You Make a World of Difference

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

Next Thursday, Nov. 8, the ACR will join with over 170 other organizations in celebrating the International Day of Radiology (IDoR). We organized the first IDoR back in 2012, along with the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the European Society of Radiology (ESR). IDoR recognizes the anniversary of the discovery of the X-ray — and the tremendous advances in patient care made possible by medical imaging.

While it’s wonderful for those of us in the professions of radiological care to have an annual reminder to reflect on our achievements and identify our next set of big goals, I’m privileged as CEO of the ACR to see the difference we are making around the world every day.

In the past month alone:

  • The American Institute of Radiologic Pathology (AIRP®) hosted a Comprehensive Radiologic-Pathology Course at the Royal College of Radiologists of Thailand (RCRT) in Bangkok. And their two-day Categorical Course in Neuroradiology in Stockport, UK begins on IDoR itself! That’s in addition to the more than 20 weeks of instruction provided each year to 95% of U.S. radiology residents at some point during their training.
  • Our ACR Data Science Institute™ released a first-of-its-kind set of 50 TOUCH-AI use cases that present a pathway to help AI developers solve health care problems in clinically relevant, ethical and effective ways.
  • We heard directly from patients like Katie on Facebook who said, “I honestly credit my mammogram for saving my life,” and Amanda, on Twitter, who says “Thank you [to my radiologist] for being the 1st one I get to talk to about my case!”

If I were to ask the more than 38,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians and medical physicists, and ACR staff who make up our organization, I’d be able to fill volumes with the stories of how you’ve helped extend or improve the lives of millions of patients.

From your role in the prevention and early detection of breast, lung and colorectal cancers, to the use of minimally invasive interventional radiology techniques and radiation therapy to treat cancer, to those of you who ensure the quality, safety and appropriateness of radiation procedures, and so much more — you truly make a world of difference every single day, and we are so thankful for your contributions.

We invite you to join us in celebrating IDoR on Nov. 8, and we’ve created some tools to help you get started, available at www.acr.org/IDoR. On behalf of all of us, thank you for your invaluable and lifesaving work.

  • How are you planning to celebrate IDoR?
  • What is your proudest moment in your radiology career thus far?
  • What have your patients told you they value most about your interactions with them?

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