With more than 55,000 attendees, 4,000 courses and countless conversations, RSNA 2014 is officially a wrap. From scientific studies to best practices, a plethora of medical imaging topics of value were discussed. Although it’s difficult to choose, here are 3 RSNA highlights that I found particularly interesting, including discussions about improving quality in a changing healthcare landscape, readying for ICD-10 and fostering teamwork to help improve patient care.
1. Improving Quality via Communication
As the healthcare landscape changes, achieving quality and meaning in radiology is increasingly important, according to one session at RSNA 2014. Radiologists’ ability to cooperate and interact with their team is growing in importance as well.
“We save lives and improve lives with information,” said David B. Larson, M.D., M.B.A., a presenter on the topic, as reported in HealthImaging. “We are in the business of information and our primary concern should be our customers.” According to Dr. Larson, this includes patients, their families and referring clinicians.
Dr. Larson said to achieve excellence in care, radiologists need to start focusing on accountability, getting along with other healthcare team members and sharing missions and values across the field.
2. Preparing for ICD-10
ICD-10 readiness was another hot topic at RSNA, especially as the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline approaches. Radiologists were urged to prepare for the switch now in order to prevent problems later. In her RSNA review, consultant Denise Merlino said that the new codes will allow for a better understanding of why patients are being seen and help improve abilities to mine data for valuable information about patient trends. For radiologists, documentation is going to be crucial.
“It boils down to if you didn’t document it, I can’t code it and you’re not going to be paid for it,” she said. “It’s also a component of good care.” Merlino said that radiology leaders can start the transition process by identifying the codes that are most commonly used, budgeting time to learn the new coding system and pinpointing what changes should be made to business processes and medical imaging workflow.
Tools are available to help health system transitions to ICD-10. For example, QICS™ for Coding Discrepancy Management alerts the original radiologist when a coding issue is identified and adds it to their worklist for review.
3. Promoting Better Teamwork
Another RSNA highlight includes interesting discussions about the importance of teamwork between radiologists and technologists. A recent study found that in mammography, a radiologist’s screening performance is variable depending upon the technologist who performed the examination. Researchers believe that in addition to technologists’ work experience, education levels and training, communication with radiologists may also affect the interpretation of screenings by radiologists, according to this article.
While the researchers called for more study of the topic, they maintain that improving teamwork between radiology staff will help improve radiologists’ screening interpretations as well.
RSNA 2014 was a great success, filled with valuable lessons for medical imaging. These three RSNA highlights were top takeaways for me – what were yours? I’d love it if you would comment below and share your highlights from the conference.