Radiology & the fine art of juggling

This week’s top stories bring to mind the adage “Life’s a struggle if you can’t juggle.” Radiology practices need to master multiple measures simultaneously. Elusive endpoints such as value and patient engagement are the order of the day.

Paul J. Chang, MD, vice chairman of radiology informatics at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, at the annual meeting of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM), reminded attendees that radiology needs to prove its value in new healthcare models. Value, according to Chang, is comprised of three inputs: safety, quality and efficiency.

In the past, a successful practice might focus on one or two of these. The new healthcare model demands that practices emphasize all three, which requires sophisticated use of informatics.

Another essential, the so-called blockbuster drug of the 21st century, is patient engagement. A study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology demonstrated better communication with the radiologist lowered patient anxiety for women undergoing breast biopsy.

At Health Imaging, we recognize the central role of patient engagement and have launched the Patients First Awards, which will highlight five practices that have operationalized patient engagement. Check it out.

Other news this week underscores the importance of a strategic approach to practice. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ended the requirement for providers to use the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) for FDG PET imaging. The requirement had been in place since 2009, and diligent participation among providers and organizational advocacy played key roles in the change.

Finally, research published in JAMA Pediatrics projected nearly 5,000 future cancers will develop among children who undergo CT imaging every year. The study also noted a drop in pediatric CT imaging beginning in 2007 and credited the Image Gently campaign as one of the possible causes of the decline in pediatric CT.

How is your practice mastering the fine art of juggling? Please let us know. And please consider submitting a nomination for the Patients First Awards. I look forward to learning more about your efforts.

Lisa Fratt, editor