In 2012, after finishing chemotherapy, Raoof noticed the hospital was finding new ways to prioritize patient satisfaction. With the administration’s approval, Raoof began visiting patients on one of the more challenging floors of the hospital: post-surgical. “I started talking to patients,” she says. “I was having a five-minute interaction and helping them solve issues, such as ‘My breakfast was cold today,’ or ‘I need an extra pillow,’ or ‘I need the doctor to visit.’ When you’re a patient, every single thing, no matter how small, becomes significant.”
When the CEO mentioned her visits during a meeting, senior staff members from emergency care, family medicine, and public affairs joined Raoof in the weekly visits, which was the genesis of the “Make a Difference” or MAD rounds. The rounds began with managers and directors of services and then expanded to include other non-clinical staff members who were not always aware of what happened in the life of a patient.
Raoof explains that the program is wholly designed to help patients, so there are no data tracking or survey tools utilized by staff. The hospital’s philosophy focuses on communication with the patient, which takes precedence over measurement and tracking. “After having done this for the last three or four years, I can name many patients who have expressed how appreciative they are about the help,” she states. “We are really trying to solve their issues while they are still here.”
View a typical MAD rounds schedule.
The diversity within the patient population makes the presence of MAD rounds even more vital. The staff is equally diverse, and Raoof explains how the hospitals provide resources that allow all patients to express their concerns more comfortably. “It can’t get any more diverse than what we have in Queens, New York,” Raoof comments. “But we have a great mix of people in the department, where even our technical staff is frequently bilingual.” The hospitals also provide a language bank to translate numerous languages, such as Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog, Chinese, and Polish.
While other areas in the hospitals have had regular staff cuts, the radiology department has been exempt. “Dr. Raoof has proven her dedication to improving both the department of radiology and Jamaica Hospital as a whole since she joined our team 18 years ago,” says CEO of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Bruce Flanz. “Through her unwavering focus, she has transformed her departments into state-of-the-art facilities, which is helping us transition into the Imaging 3.0® era. Her departments are staffed with competent, well-trained, and dedicated physicians, as well as a professional, patient-focused technical staff. Her departments are fully ACR accredited and provide value-based, high-quality care that has earned the respect and trust of patients and everyone within the institution, including me. I am proud to work with such a dedicated leader, and it is easy for me to continue to support her tireless efforts on behalf of our patients.”
Additionally, radiologists maintain strong relationships with other departments that now advocate for them. A radiology consultation service established by Raoof and her team has helped direct referring physicians to the correct subspecialty radiologist and opens communication between her departments and other clinicians. She feels this service is in line with the goals set by ACR’s Imaging 3.0. “I feel Imaging 3.0 reflects everything I’ve been trying to do over the years, and I am now seeing all of the pieces coming together,” she states.
Raoof says she also benefits from being a member of the Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI). “There’s a lot that medical schools don’t teach you. The RLI seminars teach you to look at the budget process and really focus on the financial piece,” Raoof observes. “It is enlightening to understand the terminology and how and why decisions are made.” Raoof is currently working with the administration to review the ordering practices of clinicians to assess what images are being ordered and how radiologists can help steer providers in the right direction during the ordering process. ACR Select is an important part of helping the department reach these goals.
What is Raoof’s advice for other radiologists who want to stay relevant in the future, while keeping patients at the forefront? “In this day and age you have to get out there and be visible, because the reading might be done by a computer tomorrow, and our field could disappear,” she stresses. “The only way we can survive is if we show other clinicians that we can contribute to patient care, and can show patients we are an important part of their clinical team.”
Virtually Connected by American College of Radiology is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.acr.org/imaging3. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.acr.org/Legal.
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Amena Hassan is a freelance writer