The Future of Radiology: How to Thrive in 2012 & Beyond

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Contemplation - 33.70 Kb A few short years ago, a radiologist's job description was relatively straightforward. Radiologists were expected to efficiently review and report on medical images. Many opted to segregate themselves in the reading room. Some outsourced night and weekend call. Few deigned to serve on hospital committees. Most enjoyed professional success. Fast forward to the brave new world of 2012 and beyond.

Performance expectations and complexity have multiplied exponentially. Radiologists are expected to utilize informatics to deliver timely reports enriched with clinical content; develop meaningful relationships with hospitals, referring physicians and patients; manage imaging utilization; participate in strategic planning and engage with quality initiatives. And more. It's a tall order.

Experts agree: In the next few years, there will be winners and losers among radiology practices. "In the past, everyone was a winner. It took work to fail. Now, it's going to take work to succeed," opines Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, CEO and president of Imaging Consultants in Tampa, Fla.

"The days when a radiologist could say 'I'm a good radiologist and that's all that matters are over.' Radiologists are expected to be good. It's a given," Muroff continues. Radiology practices are going to have to master a host of new terms, concepts and responsibilities. Service, quality and value-added top the list.

"The American Board of Radiology examination will no longer be the definitive imprimatur of quality and value. Rather, radiologists must provide additional evidence to hospitals and payors that what they do is valuable," wrote Eugene C. Lin, MD, from the department of radiology at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, in the October issue of American Journal of Roentgenology.

The hitch is determining what value-added services are necessary and how to effectively and efficiently deliver them.