December 09, 2020

2020 Recap: ACR® Virtual Annual Conference on Quality and Safety

The 2020 ACR Virtual Annual Conference on Quality and Safety brought together more than 300 quality improvement leaders and learners to share strategies to boost service quality and improve patient care. This two-day virtual event presented an opportunity for robust, interactive learning to help attendees breathe new life into their quality improvement.

A diverse range of speakers — from physicians to patient advocates to technologists and more — covered critical quality topics, including:

  • How better communication can improve safety and optimize patient care.
  • New ways to improve patient satisfaction and enhance quality metrics.
  • Informatics and decision-support solutions for optimal reporting and patient outcomes.
  • Strategies to adapt to shifting patient expectations and achieve quality excellence.

Highlights From the 2020 Q&S Conference

Radiology’s response to tragedy. “The pandemic has wreaked havoc, but it has also opened minds. We’re now looking to move beyond tragedy through innovation.” That message — delivered by Shlomit A. Goldberg-Stein, MD, Director of Operational Improvement at Montefiore Medical Center for the Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY — challenged attendees to propel the radiology community and its patients through COVID-19 by tackling racial disparities in healthcare outcomes, ensuring a return to care for those patients most in need, and examining the potential of virtual care delivery and AI, beyond the pandemic. She said that accelerated innovation should focus on three key areas: operations, education and equity. “There is no better setting for this call to action than right here, with this group of physicians, the quality and improvement segment of the radiology community,” she continued. “You are on the cutting edge of quality and improvement efforts that will inform our collective tomorrow.”

Equitable care during crisis. COVID has emphasized the truth that everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to be (and stay) healthy — regardless of their social, demographic or economic place in the population. Lucy B. Spalluto, MD, MPH, Vice Chair of Health Equity in the department of radiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, stressed that patient-centered care has been the cornerstone of radiology’s efforts throughout the pandemic. “Providing equitable care during a crisis means effective communication with patients and among members of the healthcare team,” she said. A patient-centered focus that will truly move the needle on delivering fair and equitable care must continue well beyond the current crisis.

Virtual tools bridge the communication gap. In the session, Using Virtual Collaboration to Co-produce Change, Hanna M. Zafar, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, discussed how virtual tools can be used to bridge connections and build trust between siloed groups in the healthcare environment. She offered valuable insight about how virtual meeting formats can be used to enhance, rather than hinder, communication between colleagues. Zafar also spoke about the value of diversity among teammates and the ways it can foster innovation, and suggested strategies to keep team members engaged by encouraging input from all parties.

Reducing errors with better communication. During his session, Everyday Communication Strategies at Work, Arun Krishnaraj, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging at the University of Virginia Health System, began with a discussion of diagnostic errors in medicine, noting that the National Academy of Medicine identified inadequate communication between clinicians, patients and families as a key factor contributing to error. Krishnaraj provided suggestions for how to improve the written radiology report in order to streamline communication and increase value to patients. Finally, he highlighted changes his practice has made to improve the patient experience on the day of their visit.

2021 Q&S Conference

Planning is already underway for the 2021 ACR Annual Conference on Quality and Safety. Watch this newsletter for more details.