Radiology is in a time of transition. From moving toward value-based reimbursement models to focusing on patient-centered care, professionals working in the radiology department are experiencing an era of change throughout the industry. Radiologists are being called upon to take proactive steps to prove their value like never before.
In this time of change, RSNA President Ronald L. Arenson, M.D., FACR, is looking at the year ahead. In this Q&A, he discusses how radiology can adapt to complex changes, including value-based care models and continued efforts to contain costs.
Q: What do you think is the most exciting aspect of radiology at this point in time?
A: We continue to enjoy an evolution, if not revolution, in technology in imaging systems, and radiology has become the center of healthcare today. Radiology is absolutely vital to caring for patients worldwide and certainly is no longer an “ancillary” service.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenges to radiology this year?
A: There is no doubt that radiology is in the bullseye of healthcare costs, and imaging has been identified as the most rapidly growing contributor to rising costs under the control of physicians. Demonstrating the true value of imaging has been difficult and is something we need to address.
Q: If you could give advice to radiology leaders, what would you advise?
A: I will answer this question more when I talk about value-based care models, but we need to convince practicing radiologists that they need to focus on patient-centered care and get out of the reading rooms and take responsibility for dealing with the patients, not only their images.
Q: In the time since you earned your medical degree, what have been the most surprising technological advancements to you?
A: So much has happened since I received my degree! CT, MR, advances in PET and ultrasound have all occurred since then. Perhaps the greatest advancements are in information technology that has allowed all of the digital modalities to flourish along with PACS and the revolution in healthcare in general.
Q: What actions do you recommend radiologists take to help them adapt to value-based care models?
A: Certainly the emphasis in the future is going to be on demonstrating value for the care we provide. This effort will be particularly important in radiology where we must be able to demonstrate that we make a difference in the care of our patients.
Q: On a personal note, for you, what is the most rewarding part of being a radiologist?
A: I am proud of my accomplishments in radiology, especially academic radiology, where I have played leadership roles over the years. I feel I have been able to make a difference in the lives of radiologists, other physicians, the healthcare system and, most importantly, patients.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Please keep in mind that as the population in this country ages and older individuals need more healthcare and imaging in particular, that the demands for radiology will certainly increase. We must be prepared to help find ways to provide the imaging services for less cost and more efficiently. We need to be part of the solution and not the problem.
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