ACR Annual Meeting Takeaways and Highlights from Laurie Bergeron

2017-06-13
 

Laurie Bergeron is a Product Manager focused on imaging workflow. One of her favorite ways to stay in touch with her customer base and the changing market is to leave her office and listen to her end users. She recently attended the Annual Meeting of the American College of Radiologists (ACR) to hear firsthand from radiologists, and she shared some highlights from the conference below:

What were the hottest discussion topics?

Laurie: AI, AI, and more AI.. Keith Dreyer’s session about artificial intelligence was one of my favorites because it was so accessible. You could have been anywhere from a complete novice to an expert, and still benefited from the way he described its relevance to radiology.  He encouraged radiologists to prepare for AI instead of warning them to be afraid of it. To me, his message sounded like, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.

Another discussion that relates directly to our workflow products is Relative Value Units (RVUs). Radiologists want to find ways to demonstrate their value beyond reading images. They want to measure and quantify the time they spend on things like collaborating with referring clinicians, teaching, attending conferences and using EMR data to improve diagnosis. These discussions gave me so much insight into the complexity of this process. Demonstrating value is much more than a simple formula. There are months of discussion, reviewing, surveying and planning that go into defining “value”, and listening to these talks gave me a lot more empathy for our customers’ struggles.

Did you see any emerging trends in diagnostic imaging?

Laurie: As radiologists are being asked to expand their role outside the reading room, they need new skillsets. They have to think strategically like MBAs and understand analytics like data scientists so they can align their health system’s strategic goals with their departmental performance and understand how to improve key metrics like LOS and patient throughput.  They want to collaborate, but they’re sometimes limited by the existing systems.  As vendors, we need to develop products that bring data right to the point of care so they can easily incorporate it into their workflow and use all the information available to them to improve outcomes.

Another huge area of conversation is the overlap between radiology and pathology. These two areas are now considered a unified specialty to optimize tests and eliminate duplication. From a workflow perspective, we can help bring these areas together. For example, if radiologists received an alert when pathology results became available, they could addend the report and close the loop. I know our radiologists would see tremendous value here.

What were the sessions that stood out for you as highlights?

Laurie: For me, there were two highlights. The first was the Moreton Lecture, given by Dr. Jeffrey Bauer. He’s a health futurist and medical economist who put radiology into an overall healthcare context and related it to precision medicine and patient-centered care teams. In his opinion, radiology’s transition from volume to value is ahead of the curve compared to other specialties; he described radiology’s focus on assimilating all the available information to get the right diagnosis and care pathway as one of the best models he’s seen.

But the session that had the most impact on me was called “The Patient Experience from a Quality and Safety Perspective”. I read the description and assumed it would be several radiologists describing their roles in a patient encounter. And I was partially right, but I didn’t expect the last speaker. She wasn’t a radiologist; she was a mother who talked about her experiences navigating the healthcare system with a terminally ill child. For me as a parent, her story was heart-wrenching. But as a Product Manager, it motivated me, because she reminded me that patients are the reason I do what I do. When I can create solutions that connect care teams, it helps make their lives better.

Ask Laurie a question about workflow, connected care or bringing EMR data to your radiologists, or click here to ask for a demonstration of our workflow product suite.

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