Another effort to contribute to patient care can be seen through NYU radiology residents’ participation in hospital committees, including house staff patient safety councils. These committees give residents an opportunity to interact with administrators and also provide a voice to residents who want to improve patient care, says Margolis. But why is it so important for residents to get involved in committees? “Radiology residents are training to be experts in image interpretation, but also can see the ‘big picture’ in health care,” Margolis emphasizes. “Since we interface with virtually every specialist and are involved in the diagnosis and follow-up of nearly every condition, we have a keen sense of what works and what doesn’t work,” he says.
An example of what works, continues Margolis, would include knowing whether the diagnostic workup and treatment is working for a particular problem; an illustration of this, says Margolis, would be an “ultrasound correctly performed for appendicitis, and the patient is taken to the OR as a result with a good outcome.” However, if the patient is not improving with treatment or a complication has arisen from the treatment — such as when a patient with presumed diverticulitis is not improving with antibiotics, and a subsequent CT shows an abscess — the approach would be shown not to work. This knowledge base is crucial among hospital committees that make decisions affecting the entire health care entity.
Additionally, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recently introduced the Next Accreditation System (NAS), a new accreditation program for medical education programs, which includes the Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) — a program devised to evaluate how an institution integrates house staff into its fabric in an effort to improve the learning environment among graduate medical education students. According to Margolis, the ACGME is looking to see that residents are integrated into a hospital’s safety infrastructure, while also requiring that residents serve on committees as a part of NAS/CLER. “Demonstrating involvement in committees will serve to reinforce the notion that radiologists are part of the care team,” Margolis says. It’s important to learn how to add value as a resident, and joining a hospital committee is a great way to start, adds Margolis. “The skills learned from participation in hospital committees will serve trainees well when they become attendings,” he concludes. “By taking a seat at the conference room table and advocating for patients, residents are bringing Imaging 3.0™ principles to life.”
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