November 2019

Membership Is Everyone’s Business

The College welcomes feedback on its future direction and on the programs and services that it develops along the way.

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According to the late radiology luminary and former CEO of ACR Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, “Radiology is about the future. The ACR is not about one group of professionals. It is about a responsibility to those patients who rely on your expertise and commitment to quality, today and into the future — your future, our future.”

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Protecting Patients

Surprise insurance gaps are causing patients to walk away with unexpectedly high medical bills. What causes this, and how can radiologists help?

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With headlines like, “Trouble Shooters Help Local Woman Reduce ‘Surprise Medical Bill’ by $22,000,” so-called “surprise billing” has garnered a lot of attention lately.1 States around the country are passing legislation to confront surprise billing. At the federal level, both the president and Congress have expressed frustration on this topic. There are currently multiple proposals in both houses of Congress to meet the challenge. So what is surprise billing (and why should you care)?

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Information Overload

The ability to instantly connect has benefits for radiologists — but also inevitable distractions.

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Smartphones are an important aspect of modern life, especially for professionals. According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of adults — and 91% of U.S. adults who have a college degree — own smartphones.1 Recently, I had a conversation with a friend and discovered that between various social media networks, email, and traditional phone call and text messaging, I could privately contact them through 14 different ways — just from my smartphone.

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Final Read

How can we design and implement a parental leave policy to address the unique needs of each #RADparent?

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Hive Mind

Championing a team approach with frontline workers can define the patient experience.

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Radiologists’ appreciation for the RTs, nurses, and front office staff who drive patient care in an imaging-rich healthcare system can make them better physicians. Building, sustaining, and strengthening relationships with frontline workers should be top of mind.

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A Culture Change

Paid parental leave adds value for practice members — as radiologists and as parents.

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At ACR 2019, I had the pleasure of meeting with Elizabeth K. Arleo, MD, president of the American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR). During our conversation, she asked me, as head of a private radiology practice in Wichita, Kan., if I would support a paid parental leave policy of 12 weeks.

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Focusing on Metrics

The ACR PFCC Economics Committee is emphasizing patient-reported outcomes data.

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For many years, medicine has seen a shift toward value-based physician reimbursement. As part of the Imaging 3.0® initiative, which was launched to help radiologists make this transition, ACR formed the Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC). Comprised of six committees, the PFCC’s mission is to encourage radiologists and the ACR to place the patient at the center of imaging care. One of these committees, the PFCC Economics Committee, strives to inform economic policy with the patient firmly in mind. As such, a key component of the committee’s work involves supporting the creation of metrics to measure how well radiologists are adopting patient-centered practices.

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A Collaborative Resource

A roadmap on gadolinium identifies knowledge gaps about its retention.

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Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) have revolutionized MRI, enabling physicians to obtain crucial life-saving medical information that often cannot be obtained with other imaging modalities. Since initial approval by the FDA in 1988, more than 450 million intravenous GBCA doses have been administered worldwide, with an extremely favorable pharmacologic safety profile.1 However, recent information has raised new concerns about the safety of GBCAs.

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The Economics of Social Need

Policymakers and payors are recognizing the importance of social determinants of health.

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What does it take to keep people healthy? Certainly, high-quality clinical care is important. But the relative contribution of clinical care is lower than we think. Data suggests that clinical care impacts only 10–20% of overall health.1 Think about that for a moment. Clinical care addresses only a small percentage of population health. About 80–90% of overall health is determined by social determinants of health (SDOH).

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The Time is Now

Paid parental leave is an important mechanism for preventing burnout and addressing diversity in radiology.

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It’s no secret that the United States lags far behind other developed nations on parental leave. While many countries offer between 12 and 52 weeks of paid parental leave, the U.S. remains the only developed country without a national policy on the issue.1 Only 19% of
private sector employees have access to paid parental leave of any length.2 Perhaps not by coincidence, the U.S. also sees a higher level of maternal and infant complications and mortality than other developed countries.3

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Speaking Out

The ACR 2019 Open Microphone session promoted robust discussion — with the larger radiology community sharing their feedback with one voice.

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The Open Microphone session is always eagerly anticipated at the annual meeting, and ACR 2019 was no exception. In planning the 2019 session, the Open Microphone Session Workgroup reviewed feedback from prior years. We heard that attendees wanted input into the topics discussed during the session and requested that input be obtained in a timely manner prior to the annual meeting. We identified several hot topics — those with the most robust and engaging discussions on ACR Engage — and published an online poll of those topics on Engage to invite members to provide feedback. Based on feedback, lifelong learning and certification was, by far, the topic of greatest interest, followed by the effects of corporatization in radiology and a write-in topic on burnout and physician well-being. We also heard that members did not want a lengthy introduction to the Open Microphone session topic by a panel of experts, thereby reserving as much time as possible for open dialogue on the floor.

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