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Imaging 3.0: Early Steps

The ACR®s Imaging 3.0 “provides concrete steps to allow all radiologists to take a leadership role in shaping America’s future health care system.” This broad initiative by ACR® intends to move radiologists from the background (Imaging 2.0) to the foreground where they are actively involved with patient care, as part of a diagnostic team.

Obviously a change of this magnitude will take time and many forms as it evolves. It also depends on enabling technology. In this article, we highlight efforts underway at NYU Langone Medical Center which may provide examples for others to follow.

The efforts at NYU seek to reverse a decades-long trend of radiologists who interpret CT scans, MRIs and other images, but are always working behind the scenes to help other physicians make decisions from the use of digital imaging technologies.

Virtual Rounds

Via computer screen, NYU radiologists participate in morning rounds with the medical staff of its pediatric intensive care units (ICU) to monitor patients progress and provide analysis of the latest images. A report of the session is then delivered to the clinical oncologist and other specialists, which include embedded images from the scans and stills from MRIs, with potential problem areas clearly marked for clinicians to review.

NYU introduced the concept of virtual rounds (VR) two years ago. The process allows physicians to review scans in real time with radiologists through a shared screen.

The use of VR has allowed radiologists at NYU to flag issues that physicians may have missed and the availability of virtual access allows for instant answers to questions and even re-examination. As well, VR eliminates communication breakdowns between physicians and radiologists that increase the risk for patient harm.

The Role of Radiologists’ is Evolving

The traditional role of radiologists, through the use of digital technology, is evolving from acquiring and interpreting to helping referring physicians care for patients.

Advancements in technology such as VR make radiology reports easily accessible to physicians and lead to increased communication and reliance on radiologists. As the word spreads of its benefits and the VR trend catches on, radiologists can look forward to taking on a bigger role and to not always being behind the scenes.

In addition, a recent study published by the American Journal of Roentgenology indicates strongly that patients want to meet their radiologist and over half of them are willing to pay to do so! In addition, patients value radiologist assessment of images over interpreters who aren’t radiologists, according to the study.

“As electronic medical records develop, radiology reports and images have become more accessible, with patients desiring access to these images and reports,” the authors wrote. “As a result, we subsequently have increasing incentive and momentum to establish and improve the patient-radiologist interaction.”

 

Source(s): Lagnado, Lucette, “Radiologists Take On Bigger Role in Diagnosing,” The Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2016; “NYU Radiologists Play Larger Role In Diagnosing,” Radiology Business, July 12, 2016; ACR Imaging 3.0