Interview with Dr. Robyn Cairns, pediatric radiologist at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital and vice chair of medical informatics for the Department of Radiology at University of British Columbia
With the rapid expansion of radiology comes a corresponding need for advances in radiology peer review. Dr. Robyn Cairns, pediatric radiologist at BC Children’s Hospital in British Columbia and vice chair of medical informatics for the Department of Radiology, University of British Columbia, puts it this way, “The busy pace of a radiology practice demands an efficient solution to integrate peer review into radiologist workflow.”
Medical students go through various clinical rotations, soaking in information from attending physicians and trying to figure out what specialty will best fit their talents and life goals. Those who enjoy the challenge of diagnostics via MRIs, CT scans, and tomosynthesis might decide that radiology is the right fit.
Radiologists-to-be are lucky in that they have a number of world-class radiology residency programs to which they can apply. Around the country there are more than 100 programs benefiting from innovative leaders and cutting edge technology, such as enterprise medical imaging systems, as they teach radiologists of the future.
For radiologists, much of their hard work goes unseen. For example, take a radiologist who pulls up a dozen images from the vendor neutral archive, carefully compares a number of studies from one patient, goes into the RIS and makes notations about findings, and then documents a number of specific details for the final report. Details noted might include a specific or differential diagnosis, impressions, and other information that will be sent to the referring physician and synched to the patient’s EHR. “When we start with exquisite renderings of anatomy and hypersensitive recognition of physiology, how is it that the product we deliver to the world is often just words on a page?” asked Geraldine McGinty, M.D., in a post on her blog. The lack of visibility of radiologists’ work is one reason that radiologists have been speaking for some time about how to make the value of their work more apparent to the public, and why the ACR launched its Imaging 3.0 initiative last year. As best-selling author John Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” In the initiative, the ACR called on radiologists to take the lead in enterprise medical imaging and value-based care initiatives. Let’s follow up on the Imaging 3.0 conversation as it is today.
It’s been quite a journey, but EHRs have turned the corner in terms of proving their usefulness. Studies are showing that EHRs save patient lives and promote efficiency within healthcare organizations. If that’s the case, we should probably be asking ourselves what’s next. In other words, how can EHRs be enhanced to be even more useful? And just as importantly, how can hospitals get more value from their EHR investment?
One answer to those questions is imaging services; specifically, better connections between imaging and clinical EHR systems that greatly benefit providers, patients, and healthcare organizations.
The last few months have seen substantial drama related to the potential introduction of coverage for CT-based lung cancer screening for high-risk Medicare patients. This blog post is a quick review of the history and current state of the debate.
It should be noted that “high-risk patients” in this instance means “asymptomatic adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack per year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit smoking within the past 15 years.” This is a small percentage of the approximately 50 million Medicare beneficiaries. But it is a group that has, for obvious reasons, a high mortality rate with respect to lung cancer.