March 04, 2016

ACR 2016 Quality and Safety Pathway Anticipates Demands of Value Driven Health Care

The quality and safety sessions at ACR 2016 will deliver powerful lessons on how College members can help their practices by participating in continuous quality improvement as a cornerstone of value-driven health care.

Planning Committee Co-Chair Frank Rybicki, MD, PhD, FACR, was not surprised to learn from The Crossroad of Radiology® program schedule that the 23 quality and safety sessions planned for the second annual all-member meeting, ranks second only to 35 sessions that will be devoted to clinical education at the meeting. The quality and safety track will support more than 110 presentations.

“We are sure radiologists are gravitating toward the ACR’s quality and safety initiatives,” Rybicki said. “The program is designed to enable training in a comprehensive and efficient format.”

“Because of Medicare’s planned conversion to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), the quality and safety track will help radiologists understand and implement the quality and patient safety management changes needed to comply with current Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), upcoming MIPS and future quality- and value-based payment methods,” according to Planning Committee Co-Chair Robert Pyatt, MD, FACR. He predicted such knowledge will become more important.

“Ultimately, all group practices will come to depend on those radiologists who learn skills we’ll be teaching at ACR 2016,” he said.

Sessions have been split into a series of 15- to 20-minute lectures to cover a broad range of issues and corresponding tactical responses along the quality and safety pathway. They include proven programs, such as ACR accreditation, ACR APPROPRIATENESS CRITERIA©, and Centers of Excellence, along with newer initiatives including ACR Select clinical decision support via ACR SELECT©, Imaging 3.0, and the ACR Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care.

Opportunities for further improvement and the education of younger practitioners will be an important theme. During a Monday session on “Quality and Safety: Definition and Basics” Rybicki, chairman of the University of Ottawa Department of Radiology, will brief members on planning efforts for designated Quality Radiology Officers (QROs).

These specially trained radiologists would assume overall responsibility for radiology department or group practice safety and quality programs, though many aspects of the program are still in development. The RQO is a new, important concept in which a radiologist with special training may assume the overall responsibility for quality within a medical imaging organization.

As chair of the ACR Metrics Committee, Rybicki acknowledges that while such a program is emerging, there is a growing need to organize quality initiatives and to centralize them within a radiology organization.

“In addition to senior staff members who have embraced quality initiatives, there is a new generation of radiologists, including academic radiologists, who have found a productive, enriching careers that clearly focus on one or more aspects of quality,” he said. “We want to train, nurture, and organize these future leaders within individual departments via designation as the RQO, and then on a broader scale enable them to work with each other within the infrastructure of the ACR.”

During a Thursday session on “Developing a Culture of Safety in Your Practice,” Marc Willis, DO, of Baylor College of Medicine, will describe the professional advantages that await young radiologists who become involved in quality and safety programming early in their careers.

“The College has made great strides in radiation optimization and patient safety,” Rybicki noted. Radiologists, interventional radiologists, and radiation oncologists are equipped with better tools and training in medical radiation dosimetry. Aaron Sodickson, MD, PhD, a recognized expert in CT radiation dose considerations, will lecture on radiation dose data and will highlight the importance of choosing the right dose at the right time for the specific clinical application. Michael Bruno, MD, FACR, will describe the impact of the Failsafe on the assessment and follow-up of incidental findings program at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Vigilant tracking by a designated “nurse navigator” for specific cases has led to effective early interventions and treatments when such suspicious abnormalities become clinically significant.

Jonathan Kruskal, MD, PhD, radiologist-in-chief at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital will discuss the importance of leadership in advancing quality and safety. Kruskal is a longtime champion of quality initiatives, having published extensively in the field. His important participation in the annual meeting will draw on his experiences in leading many initiatives within his own radiology department in Boston.

In the same session, Ania Kielar, MD, will present strategies on how to identify potential quality improvement problems, choose optimal measurements and set goals for their resolution. Kielar, section head of abdominal imaging at The Ottawa Hospital, has spearheaded important initiatives in her own hospital that are used every day to improve quality.

Pyatt recommends this session for ACR members who are interested in practical solutions that are straightforward to implement. It will cover essential concepts, methods and tools illustrated with currently functioning examples. “They will leave the session knowing how to do it,” he said.

At Tuesday morning’s session on “Performance Improvement & the Diagnostic Imaging Improvement Community,” Hani Abujudeh, MD, MBA, FACR, radiology chair at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ, will describe the value of peer reviews for clinical and departmental quality improvement. Interventional radiologist Joseph Steele, MD, a leading expert in the field, will report on the relationship between imaging customer service and patient satisfaction at MD Anderson Medical Center. Emory University pediatric interventional radiologist C. Matthew Hawkins, MD, will describe the use of social media including Twitter to exchange ideas with colleagues about practice improvements issues. David M. Paushter, MD, FACR, radiology chair at the University Chicago, will advise ACR members on how to deal with individuals “who don’t play nice.”

Kent Yucel, MD, FACR, radiologist-in-chief at Tufts University and the Chair of Appropriateness Criteria at the College, will lecture on how over 200 members of the College have volunteered their time and expertise on developing critical guidelines for appropriateness. The Appropriateness Criteriarepresents the most comprehensive set of imaging guidelines to date. These data, based on broad and thorough evidence from the peer-review literature, are an essential driver for clinical decision support.

Looking at the entire quality and safety pathway, Pyatt finds that these sessions that will be relevant to every level of knowledge and skill. “We believe you will come away from this meeting with a number of ideas you can implement in your local practice,” he said.

ACR members and radiologists-in-training are encouraged to visit the ACR website to register and to find more program information.