The ACR helps members reach their goals and improve their careers by providing as many resources as possible. The Case in Point® (CiP) program is a shining example of that. Since its introduction in 2005, CiP has been publishing cases five days a week for member education, but also provides a chance to earn CME.
As case volume increased during COVID, the CiP team started to evaluate ways to improve the publication process with two objectives: to streamline the authors' path to publication and to provide new benefits to ACR members and readers. The solution: publishing cases seven days a week.
The process to determine which cases to feature in CiP involves obtaining expert analysis on cases to recommend which ones would be beneficial to radiologists. “Authors will get a case idea, presumably from something they’ve seen in clinical practice, and they’ll submit it with a few images and a few sample questions to CiP,” says David R. Pettersson, MD, CiP’s editor-in-chief. “One of our editors will review the case submission idea and say, ‘Yeah, this is good, we can go with this,’ or ‘No, this is not what we're looking for.’”
Once the authors get a green light, they complete the case submission with additional discussion, and then that full case is submitted to CiP. “It’s then assigned to one of our editors, who takes a deeper dive into the case and looks at it with a more critical eye,” Pettersson says. The editor either makes changes and approves the case to be published or reaches back out to the authors to make changes and resubmit.
More Days, More Cases
In July, the CiP program began publishing cases seven days a week to increase the opportunities for publication. This was a welcome change to Michael J. Opatowsky, MD, MBA, one of CiP’s senior editors, who had been lobbying for this change since the day he joined the CiP team.
The more cases the CiP program received, the more the team warmed to the idea. “There was only one person who kept nagging about publishing seven days a week from the day they joined up, and that was me,” Opatowsky says. “The reason for me doing this was because I was a consumer of it. I sensed that it was a good teaching platform for my trainees every morning. I wanted to give them an avenue for scholarly activity."
I sensed that it was a good teaching platform for my trainees every morning. I wanted to give them an avenue for scholarly activity.
The CiP team sees publishing seven days a week as a big opportunity to not only improve CiP as a member benefit, but also improve the path to publication. With more cases being published, CiP hopes to see a quicker turnaround time and even encourage additional submissions.
“Going seven days a week will measurably decrease the interval between final case submission and online publication," Opatowsky says, "which is a very, very good thing.”
A Member Benefit
This change is an opportunity to benefit College members through increased publication opportunities and chances to earn CME, increasing the value of ACR membership for radiologists. “A lot of our members look to CiP for their CME, and this is going to increase our CME numbers greatly,” Pettersson says. “The old process offers 0.25 hours of CME credit per case. So currently, we’re offering 65 hours total per year. This will boost it to 91 hours offered per year, giving readers more opportunity to earn credits.”
The extra days will also provide a unique opportunity for CiP in terms of case types. CiP has been trying to find ways to implement more common or “classic” cases that are often seen in the field, which Opatowsky considers important for aspiring radiologists to know. With added publishing days, these classic cases can be highlighted on Saturdays and Sundays.
“If we had an art museum that was comprised of radiologic images, these would be the things on the wall in the classics section,” Opatowsky says. “The weekend cases would be considered rudimentary, and that is perfect for medical students, residents and aspiring fellows.”
Pettersson credits ACR staff members behind the scenes for the program’s continued success. “There's a ton that Robin Wyatt and Christie Gagnon do on the backside that the physician editors don't really see at all,” Pettersson says. “They run it from the staff side, and they're instrumental to the whole program. If they weren't there doing that stuff, we would not have a program. So just a shout out to them for making the whole thing work.”
By moving to a seven-day publishing schedule, the CiP team is excited to encourage participation, advance careers and get new members acclimated to the ACR and the specialty. The hope is that members continue to earn CME credit, learn from the cases and enjoy the challenges. “Expanding CiP publication to seven days a week is how ACR can continue to support our members' education needs and grow the field of radiology, providing publication opportunities for trainees and practicing radiologists alike,” says Robin Wyatt, CiP program manager. “Thanks to our amazing team of volunteer editors and authors, we will continue to provide quality cases.”
The additional cases seem to be especially appealing to early-career doctors. “The improvements mean simply this: More cases are better, and more cases lead to more CME credit and better brand recognition,” Opatowsky says. “The more trainees are exposed to ACR content, the more likely they will become lifelong ACR members and support the ACR. Everything about CiP for trainees has to do with ramping up their commitment to scholastic activity and being contributors.”
To learn more and get started on cases, check out the CiP homepage.