October 02, 2019

Intersociety Summer Conference 2019

Addressing the Fourth Aim of Healthcare

 Desi Schiess 

I recently had the opportunity to represent the ACR RFS at the annual conference of the Intersociety Committee (ISC). The ISC is a freestanding committee of the ACR, established to promote collegiality and foster communication among national radiology organizations. It is comprised of representation from over 50 radiological societies, whose leaders convene each summer to discuss important issues facing our profession.


The conference started with updates since the 2018 summit, which focused on wellness and engagement in the workplace. Notably, the ACR adopted the Physician Well-Being Index (WBI) a tool created by the Mayo Clinic that offers a monthly self-assessment, monitoring of burnout levels over time, and resources in various domains. I encourage everyone to download the WBI mobile app and create a free account through the ACR. The ACR also developed a well-being toolkit, including high-impact articles, a well-being curriculum, and an ACGME-aligned program all showcased on an appealing and wellness-inducing webpage.


The theme of the 2019 summit was “Fostering Wellness and Professional Fulfillment by Developing High-Functioning Teams.” To continue and expand on last year’s theme, topics centered on the fourth aim of healthcare: nourishing and strengthening ourselves for our patients, and working together to achieve this. Tait Shanafelt, MD, chief wellness officer and director of the WellMD Center at Stanford University Medical Center, described how the imperfect art of medicine can place physicians at inherent risk for burnout. Sonia Gupta, MD then introduced the concept of “new power”, which led to a discussion on the role of evolving generational differences between traditional and contemporary values in communication and workplace dynamics, and in contributing to burnout. Our takeaway was that multigenerational workforces require new approaches to leadership. Shanafelt spoke about the characteristics of effective leadership and the impact of leaders on individual and organizational well-being.


The second day began with an engaging session on developing and sustaining high-functioning teams by Matt Hawkins, MD. Vital elements of a high-functioning team involve diversity and inclusion, mutual trust and respect, and a just culture where every team member can speak up freely. Finally, Cheri Canon, MD, set forth a proposal to develop a code of conduct regarding professional and ethical standards for the radiology community.


Interspersed between sessions were open forums in which radiology leaders could discuss challenges, share stories, and bounce ideas off each other. These comments were summarized by Jonathan Kruskal, MD, leading to action items resolving to move the field of radiology in a positive direction and even toward becoming a leader among medical specialties. The ISC summit was a unique conference in this regard and a humbling experience to witness as a trainee. I am grateful to the ACR and RSNA for supporting trainee representatives, as well as to the ISC executive committee for creating a welcoming and collaborative environment for these important conversations.


Desi Schiess, MD, is a radiology resident at UT Southwestern.