Diagnostic Radiology: Call to Emphasize Value

2014-11-06
 

Diagnostic Radiology Value to Healthcare November 8 is International Radiology Day. On the one hand, I think it’s wonderful that there’s a day to recognize the value that diagnostic radiology brings to healthcare and the numerous ways it helps improve quality of care. On the other hand, I believe that radiologists should not sit back on this day thinking about a job well done. Instead, International Radiology Day can be used as a call to action, further emphasizing the value of the work that radiologists do day in and day out.

As radiologists work to both be vocal about and define what they do, that elucidation should include a clear emphasis on their expertise in diagnostics, their value as healthcare team members and also the ways in which they improve patient care by analyzing longitudinal data.

Diagnosing Expertise

One aspect of the care that radiologists provide, and should be more vocal about, is that they are key members of the diagnostic treatment team. As some of the only physicians in the care path who have knowledge about most, if not all, of the body systems, radiologists are vital players in a health system. As healthcare focuses more acutely on the value of care provided, radiologists’ roles are increasingly vital to providing the best patient care possible. In addition, that expertise is ongoing, thanks to learning from colleagues via Study Share and related critical diagnostic dialogues.

Radiologists should strive to speak out about their value more regularly and loudly, which is encouraged by the Imaging 3.0 initiative as well. Rich Duszak, M.D., vice chair for health policy and practice at Emory University, discusses the initiative and radiologists’ value in an article on Diagnostic Imaging. “If you’re going to be providing value, it’s not good enough to say it, you have to prove it,” says Duszak. “Imaging 3.0 is the concept of why we need to provide value and start developing some of these toolkits.”

Historically, radiologists’ work occurs behind the scenes, and they should endeavor to make their expertise better known. International Radiology Day provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

Multidisciplinary Team Members

Radiologists are joining multidisciplinary teams as healthcare organizations create partnerships within and between departments in efforts to improve patient care. One study published in the European Journal of Cancer Care found that radiologists who were part of multidisciplinary breast cancer teams felt they were of most value during pre-interventional meetings.

When participating in multidisciplinary teams, radiologists’ expertise allows them to provide input on strategies to reduce radiation exposure. Their participation also allows them opportunities to speak face-to-face with patients, amplifying their visibility and showing their value, which fails to occur when they’re secluded at their workstation.

“[Teams] require a level of partnership that is unprecedented for the specialty,” says Duszak. “[Those] who win come up with creative ways to demonstrate our value.”

Multidisciplinary team participation is another attestation of the value of diagnostic radiology to highlight on International Radiology Day.

Improve Patient Care with Data

Radiologists have a unique perspective on patient care thanks to their access to longitudinal records via medical imaging software. This gives radiologists an edge, particularly when they utilize a vendor neutral archive that allows them to quickly access the information needed to effectively manage the diagnostic process. Medical imaging software allows radiology departments benefits such as well-organized patient tracking, fast report turnaround time and also more accurate billing, which can help improve patient satisfaction.

Radiologists are crucial, valued members of healthcare due to their diagnostic expertise, involvement in multidisciplinary teams and analysis of patient data. There’s no better time than International Radiology Day to emphasize their value and expertise to patients.

Discover more about the Imaging 3.0 initiative and how radiologists are being called to reinforce their value as their diagnostic radiology skills help improve patient care.

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