The ACR is renowned in the world of radiology for its history of program development, implementation, and sustainability. The ACR is a complex and highly matrixed organization. Our success reflects the hard work of our talented staff, combined with the energy and commitment of more than 2,000 physician volunteers. Even in my privileged position as chair, I am constantly amazed at the number of quality programs sponsored by the College.
At our BOC meeting in the spring, we received reports from a number of ACR task forces and committees. This column will summarize some of the deliverables from these groups to demonstrate the incredible work that is being delivered. More information will be available in other formats. Robert S. Pyatt Jr., MD, FACR, chairs the ACR Task Force on General Radiology and the Multispecialty Radiologist. The task force, formed in 2020, was charged with continuing the work of the 2012 Work Group on General Radiology and Subspecialization. The task force studied the contributions of this skillset to the current and future practice of radiology in the United States. Members of the task force concluded that there is a perceived disconnect between the skills of radiology program graduates, the needs of the workforce, and the delivery of expert and accessible patient care. The task force’s recommendations included that the ABR consider revising certifying exams to emphasize the broader practice of radiology. The task force also recommended that residency programs seek to train candidates with a broader range of skills than current graduates demonstrate. Finally, the task force recommended that the ACR, the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR), the ABR, and the Association of Program Directors in Radiology come together to ensure that the profession is developing radiologists capable of meeting market demands for imaging and IR services.
David B. Larson, MD, MBA, chair of the ACR Commission on Quality and Safety, reported on the progress of the ACR Peer Learning Committee. The ACR sponsored a National Radiology Peer Learning Summit in January 2020 and the results were published in the JACR® (learn more at jacr.org). In December 2020, the Peer Learning Committee was established and their strategic plan includes:
- Increasing radiologist awareness of what peer learning is and how it compares to score-based peer review
- Supporting radiology practices in operationalizing peer learning programs
- Supporting radiology practices in realizing improvement
- Promoting shared learning opportunities across practices
- Demonstrating the effectiveness of peer learning
- Identifying additional evidence-based recommendations to support reductions in error
Committee members are collaborating with individuals in many other societies and speaking in a number of forums, including the RSNA, the Association of University Radiologists, and the Society of Abdominal Radiology, to help practices transition from peer review to peer learning — with the goal of promoting continuous learning and improvement. Dr. Larson also presented a new program, Learning Collaboratives. The concept is to develop a learning network — a deliberate organizational structure to facilitate meaningful process improvement across multiple organizations. A learning collaborative consists of improvement teams from a number of local sites who share data and learnings as they simultaneously work to solve the same problem at their respective institutions.
Based on examples of established success, the goal is to provide a structure within the ACR that can be used to facilitate improvement in a broad range of settings, including among radiology practices and facilities. A pilot improvement program is underway with a small number of teams at various sites. Solicitations for participation
in the Learning Collaboratives are anticipated this fall, with a spring 2022 start. William T. Herrington, MD, FACR, chair of the Commission on Membership and Communications, presented preliminary results of the ACR Member Tracker. The goal of the survey was to understand how members and non-members view the ACR. A baseline survey was conducted in September 2018. A recent second round of tracking was completed in late 2020. The survey found that advocacy and economics are vital reasons to believe in the ACR. The study also found that experiencing how the ACR supports its members as radiologists is critical to achieving long-term member satisfaction, loyalty, and commitment.
The Commission’s next steps will be to conduct additional focus groups and develop new opportunities for members to participate in the College. Laura K. Findeiss, MD, and Catherine J. Everett, MD, MBA, FACR, reported on the Joint ACR/SIR Task Force on Workforce Shortages. The Commission on General, Small, Emergency and/or Rural Practice and the Commission on Interventional and Cardiovascular Radiology, along with the SIR, have identified the failure of radiology practices to recruit/retain IRs as a significant concern in the delivery of patient care and this is recognized by ACR leadership as a threat to the radiology community at-large. Members-in-training were surveyed, identifying a gap between community needs and trainee comfort level in performing a variety of IR procedures. The task force produced four recommendations that will be the basis of further discussion by the SIR and the ACR.
Lori A. Deitte, MD, FACR, chair of the Commission on Publications and Lifelong Learning, reported on the Task Force on Medical Student Radiology Education. Formed at ACR 2020, the task force’s charge was to investigate radiologist-led avenues for introducing all medical students to radiology throughout their first through third years and/or via a longitudinal program. This investigation also included comparable roles for radiation oncologists and IRs in medical student education. The task force found a decrease in mandatory radiology clinical rotations from 1994 through 2019, limited teaching roles for radiologists, a lack of national standards on imaging education for all graduating medical students, and inconsistent messaging about the role of radiologists. The report was a call to action, with nine recommendations for the ACR to
consider. Radiology by radiologists includes radiology education by radiologists.
Many in radiology look to the ACR for action because of our history of program development, implementation, and sustainability. The reports outlined in this column are just a sample of the important work being done by the College. Each of these reports’ findings can have significant impact on your practices and professional lives. Our ability to act upon these reports will depend on the involvement, support, and engagement of our members.