ACR Bulletin

Covering topics relevant to the practice of radiology

Speaking Out

The ACR 2019 Open Microphone session promoted robust discussion — with the larger radiology community sharing their feedback with one voice.
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The top themes of the discussion centered on the cost and time investment for initial and continuing certification (especially for residents and fellows), the time investment by radiology professionals in the process, and the relevance to quality and patient outcomes.

—Bulletin Author
November 06, 2019

The Open Microphone session is always eagerly anticipated at the annual meeting, and ACR 2019 was no exception. In planning the 2019 session, the Open Microphone Session Workgroup reviewed feedback from prior years. We heard that attendees wanted input into the topics discussed during the session and requested that input be obtained in a timely manner prior to the annual meeting. We identified several hot topics — those with the most robust and engaging discussions on ACR Engage — and published an online poll of those topics on Engage to invite members to provide feedback. Based on feedback, lifelong learning and certification was, by far, the topic of greatest interest, followed by the effects of corporatization in radiology and a write-in topic on burnout and physician well-being. We also heard that members did not want a lengthy introduction to the Open Microphone session topic by a panel of experts, thereby reserving as much time as possible for open dialogue on the floor.

When it came to the discussion on certification, the CSC’s goal for the session was to tackle a potentially contentious topic while maintaining a respectful and engaging dialogue. The need to monitor and measure our professional competence, the influence this has on our ability to practice medicine, and the data demonstrating the benefit of these activities — these are sensitive topics and have been since the early days of medicine. To that end, the session was introduced by BOC Chair Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, who reiterated our goal to promote open dialogue and robust discussion. McGinty reminded us that we will speak more effectively in the larger radiology community if we speak with one voice — after considering diverse perspectives in this forum.

To allow all voices to be heard — by members present at the session, as well as by members unable to attend in person — we invited conversation, comments, and questions during the session on ACR Engage, on Twitter via #ACROpenMic and #ACR2019, and through an anonymous poll that was sent to attendees on the meeting app. A total of 51 participants shared comments, with 22 comments coming from the anonymous poll. Workgroup members Daniel Ortiz, MD, Colin M. Segovis, MD, PhD, and Aradhana M. Venkatesan, MD, did an exemplary job capturing the themes on the anonymous poll and presenting them from one of the microphones in the room. Due to the overwhelming response on the poll, and to be respectful of those who rose to the microphones in the room, they were unable to share every anonymous comment.

The top themes of the discussion centered on the cost and time investment for initial and continuing certification (especially for residents and fellows), the time investment by radiology professionals in the process, and the relevance to quality and patient outcomes. Several members who commented during the session cited examples of medical certification processes outside of the U.S. or in other industries such as aviation. Others suggested that the current ABR Online Longitudinal Assessment process is, in fact, simpler than the 10-year exam process and recommended that it be given more time to be implemented before changes were considered. Several questions were raised with respect to the ABR’s accountability, transparency, and diversity, with respect to practice type. ABR President Brent J. Wagner, MD, and Valerie P. Jackson, MD, FACR, executive director of the ABR and president of the RSNA, participated in the discussion, accepted ACR member feedback, answered questions, and sought to clarify items of confusion.

All comments from the floor, social media, and the anonymous poll — as well as a recording of the session — have been made available to the Task Force on Certification in Radiology, chaired by BOC Vice Chair Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR. Eric B. Friedberg, MD, FACR, also a member of the task force, reiterated that the task force would be open to hearing from all constituents as it continues its work.

We thank the Council and members who attended for engaging in a robust and respectful dialogue and look forward to another successful Open Microphone session at ACR 2020. If you have comments or suggestions, please reach out to us, as your elected leaders, or to ACR staff Trina Behbahani and Catherine Herse.