December 10, 2018

10th ACR Annual Conference on Quality and Safety

At the 10th anniversary ACR Annual Conference on Quality and Safety, top quality and data science experts convened to share the latest quality tools and insights on how AI can be applied for optimal patient care. The conference highlighted the integration of informatics into quality solutions and demonstrated how new IT solutions can support quality improvement.

In addition to AI and informatics, the conference covered practical solutions to common problems faced by organizations working to improve patient care and practice quality. A diverse range of speakers at the expanded two-and-a-half-day program covered critical quality topics, including:

  • Improving quality infrastructure
  • The economics of quality improvement
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Peer learning
  • Diagnostic accuracy
  • Patient-centered care

Highlights From the 2018 Q&S Conference

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • While some practices are instituting patient consultation clinics and virtual consults, Morgan P. McBee, MD — a pediatric radiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina — proposed another way for radiologists to engage with patients: through patient portals. Analysis shows that about 52% of patients use patient portals and roughly 3% of all patient-initiated messages relate to radiology studies. With this in mind, McBee posed an interesting question: If patients are using portals to message their health care providers, why aren’t they messaging their radiologists directly? To increase engagement with patients, radiologists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital implemented a system within the patient portal that allows patients to message radiologists directly. Since launching the system in October 2017, radiologists have received and responded to 87 questions from patients — with 25% of those questions focusing on clarification of findings.

  • Hanna M. Zafar, MD, MHS, associate professor of radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, presented on developing patient-centered radiology reports to improve communication between radiologists and their patients. She emphasized the need for clear and concise reports using terms patients can understand. “The word ‘normal’ is not a dirty word in your report,” she told attendees. The goal is to create reports that lead to more discussions with patients, she said, and noted that how patients want to receive reports varies — by mail, email or patient portal. She also pointed out that patients are asking for more information at the time of their exam and soon after they receive imaging results.

  • Reporting medical errors and knowing when to apologize for them can be challenging for radiologists. Michael A. Bruno, MD, vice chair of quality and safety and chief of the Division of Emergency Radiology at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center of Penn State College of Medicine, and Stephen D. Brown, MD, associate professor of radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, spoke to audience members about barriers to disclosure — including fear of litigation, exposure on social media, financial repercussions and damage to reputation. Various state-based groups assist radiologists in reporting and apologizing, including MACRMI — a state alliance of patient advocacy groups, health care facilities, insurers and provider organizations dedicated to transparent communication, sincere apologies and fair compensation when errors result in medical harm. The speakers also discussed the threshold for disclosure, when and how to enter mistakes into a health system tracking system, and using CANDOR — the Communication and Optimal Resolution process.

  • Everyone has implicit biases that can unconsciously influence their attitudes toward others. Hannah Perry, MD, breast imager in the department of radiology at the University of Vermont Medical Center and assistant professor at Larner College of Medicine, told attendees of the ACR Quality and Safety Conference that health care providers must recognize and overcome their implicit biases to deliver high-quality care to diverse, vulnerable and marginalized patient populations. These include patients with impaired mobility, patients who are part of the LGBTQ community, and patients with limited English proficiency. Perry said providers should cultivate cross-cultural skills that include being informed, compassionate and respectful of differing values, cultures and beliefs. “Working to understand and embrace the unique characteristics and differences that define our patients enables us to deliver effective, culturally responsive, patient-oriented care,” she said.

Opinions Wanted for the 2019 Q&S Conference

The ACR is already hard at work on next year’s quality conference, and we want your input to help make it the most successful quality and safety learning opportunity yet.

Please take a moment to complete a survey and share your thoughts about location, content focus, schedule and the quality improvement topics that matter most to you.

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