The heat is on

Radiology has occupied healthcare’s hot seat, albeit not alone, for a good part of the last decade. However, a growing group of stakeholders is identifying strategies to help radiologists re-position the specialty. They suggest focusing on clinical consulting, leadership and service.

It seems that nearly every week another expert predicts the demise of productivity-centric practice. As the architects of this destruction—accountable care, population health and value-based purchasing—gain traction, medicine needs to find a new model. Radiology, which epitomizes high-tech, volume-based practice, appears particularly vulnerable.

Imaging leaders continue to promote alternative approaches. In the quarterly masters of radiology panel discussion published in the July issue of American Journal of Roentgenology, experts touted collaborative service, appropriate utilization, patient-centered performance metrics and clinical consultancy.

A pilot project at University of California, Irvine, paired a radiology resident with internal medicine teams on clinical rounds. A post-project survey indicated the approach helped to reduce, but not eliminate, commoditization of radiology.

Similarly, Richard Afable, MD, MPH, from Covenant Health Network in Irvine, Calif., and Michael N. Brant-Zawadzki, MD, from Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, in Newport Beach., Calif., urged radiologists to recapture their niche as clinical consultants as they forecast the impact of accountable care on the specialty.

Afable and Brant-Zawadski also suggested radiologists seek leadership opportunities as their organizations implement the population health model.

Finally, Hani Abujudeh, MD, MBA, and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, decided to take another angle on the hot seat. They queried patients about their imaging gripes. The top complaint? Lack of patient-centeredness. It takes multiple forms, but a common seed of discontent was waiting. Tick tock. Time to get out of the hot seat.

How is your practice planning to stay (or get) cool? Let us know.

Lisa Fratt, editor