The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute® (HPI) is a think tank established by the ACR in 2012. The institute is named for former ACR CEO Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, who saw a lack of supporting evidence for the ACR’s positions on health policy and made an investment to fill that gap. The HPI is now a unique asset that differentiates the ACR – not only from other societies in radiology, but also across all medical specialty societies.
The HPI mission is to provide evidence for health policy and radiology practice that promotes the effective and efficient use of healthcare resources and improves patient care. Inherent in that mission is maintaining a view into the future to inform the research needed to pave the way for increased equitable access to cost-effective radiologic care. Economics are central to our approach because patient access to high quality healthcare follows fair reimbursement for those services to ensure healthcare practices, hospitals and systems remain solvent.
The predominant way we accomplish our mission is by publishing research on the value of radiology and radiologists in evolving healthcare delivery and payment models. We seek to expand the value proposition by proving the value of new frontiers in radiologic care, identifying new areas of value to patients, other providers and health systems, and identifying opportunities to improve that value through economic policy, practice advancement, workforce development and equitable access to care.
The predominant way we accomplish our mission is by publishing research on the value of radiology and radiologists in evolving healthcare delivery and payment models.
Our approach to achieving our mission and advancing toward our broader vision is founded on a few principles:
- Fostering an environment where talented scientists choose to do their best work.
- Cultivating collaborations that allow us to tap into new areas of expertise and resources.
- Keeping open lines of communication with our stakeholders so that we are aware of opportunities and challenges on the horizon.
- Leveraging an advisory board to help shape our strategy and prioritize our efforts.
- Maintaining objectivity in analysis.
- Maintaining extensive data assets that allow us to conduct objective, representative research and analytics with unprecedented efficiency.
- Providing ready access to summary data and trends in national and state imaging utilization and cost.
- Increasing the impact and influence of our work through thought leadership and targeted communications.
- Expanding the cadre of scientists contributing to our mission.
Priority focus areas of our research strategy — identified via our stakeholders, advisory board and literature — often result in multiple studies that examine different aspects of complex issues shaping the future of radiology practice. We consistently focus on economic policy issues. Examples of economic topics we are currently studying include the No Surprises Act, Medicare budget neutrality, value-based payment models, and reimbursement gaps.
Workforce challenges have come to the forefront for the BOC, and we have multiple studies planned in this area. For example, we are working to identify the factors contributing to workforce shortages, and to project the workforce gap relative to specific imaging types into the future. This work will provide actionable information to guide solutions that are not one-size-fits-all. Other workforce topics include non-physician practitioner scope of practice, teleradiology and workload.
Another timely focus area is AI in radiology, and we are doing research to measure the growth and value of AI, which will inform payment policy and practice adoption and investment.
We also have bodies of research that will continue to build evidence on value and access for different types of imaging, including, but not limited to, breast imaging, stroke, CT colonography, pediatric imaging and interventional radiology. We aren’t doing this work in a silo. HPI researchers have worked with more than 92 unique authors in over 35 institutions.
An unfortunate reality for researchers is that even the best studies can go unnoticed. For this reason, we implemented a dynamic strategy to advance the HPI as a thought leader by bolstering the Neiman HPI brand as an authoritative, trusted source for our stakeholders, and to increase the visibility of our research. HPI researchers publish extensively in peer-reviewed journals that offer external validation through review by experts who assess the value, quality, validity and timeliness of the research. However, scientific publications are not designed to provide practical information for the lay person. To fill this gap, we develop a targeted communication plan for each study to clearly articulate the actionable information that can be directly used to inform policy and practice.
The communication strategy includes press releases and media pitches that have translated into coverage by 461 media reports, reaching a total audience of 315 million over Q1 & Q2 of 2023 alone. This coverage included National Public Radio (NPR), CNN.com and U.S. News and World Report, and regular coverage in healthcare and radiology outlets including Modern Healthcare, Medscape, Kaiser Health News, MedPage Today, HealthDay, Aunt Minnie, Imaging Wire and Radiology Business. The visibility is expanded using social media, and we direct readers to our website, where we house a plethora of easy-to-use resources. We also prioritize keeping ACR members informed through regular ACR email distribution, our own quarterly HPI newsletters, and ACR Bulletin articles that provide editorial review of research of interest to members.
The work we do at the HPI is paving the way for a better future, where patients have effective and affordable care, where prevention and early diagnosis minimizes morbidity and mortality, and where treatments save lives without causing financial ruin. While this vision is lofty, making forward progress requires that our leaders across healthcare, academia and government are informed by a clear understanding of the factors shaping the direction of radiology specifically, and the healthcare system generally. The investment the ACR makes in advancing this mission keeps the College at the forefront of the field and an invaluable partner to radiologists who are individually advancing this vision every day.