Moving on: JACR at 10

It’s time for radiology to collectively exit the volume bandwagon and get on board with value-based imaging, according to a 10th anniversary musing published online March 25 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Richard Duszak, Jr., MD, CEO of the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, wove a surfing metaphor throughout the piece, observing that radiologists have profited from the volume wave of medical imaging, astutely leveraging PACS and workstation technology to thrive in an era of boundless demand.

But waves crash. And the view from the crest of the volume wave suggests a looming rocky shore. Duszak recommended radiologists take a page from surfers’ playbooks, suggesting they need “to detect the early and subtle signs that things are getting gnarly and extricate [themselves] before being pitched over.”

The American College of Radiology (ACR), he wrote, has assembled a series of tools to help them make the leap from the waning volume wave to the building value wave. “Doing things to patients is not good enough anymore. We need to be doing things for patients, things that make sense for them and for society at large.”

The transition requires new ideas, new data and information and a new culture.

The ACR presciently launched its first lifeline one decade ago with a journal focused on clinical practice, practice management, health policy and education. JACR has made radiologists fluent in the language of safety, quality, process improvement and aligned payment systems.

The second system, the Neiman Institute, will analyze the role and value of radiology in emerging healthcare delivery and payment systems and explore the impact of medical imaging on healthcare costs.

And finally, “the Radiology Leadership Institute will provide radiologists the skills to use those ideas, data and information to transform their practices, operationally and culturally, in a way that will strengthen the radiology profession by meaningfully and visibly enhancing radiologists’ contribution to the healthcare delivery system at large.”

Radiologists who capitalize on these lifelines will benefit their patients and themselves. “Those who will rise most quickly to the top of the new wave will be true consultants and integral team members of coordinated and integrated healthcare delivery teams, before, during and after each imaging encounter,” Duszak wrote.   

Radiologists who time the leap to the next wave just right, and equip themselves with the appropriate knowledge and tools to ride the value wave, might be sitting on top of the world, Duszak summed.

For more about burgeoning applications of value in radiology, please read “Dollars & cents: Rads redefine value,” in Health Imaging.