December 07, 2021

2021 Recap: ACR Virtual Annual Conference on Quality and Safety

The 2021 ACR® Virtual Annual Conference on Quality and Safety brought together more than 200 quality improvement leaders and learners to share strategies to boost service quality and improve patient care. This three-day virtual event presented an opportunity for robust, interactive learning to help attendees change the way they think about current processes and improve on the new normal.

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

  • Communicate directly with patients to improve safety and optimize care.
  • Develop standards to increase reliability and accountability.
  • Value collaboration as a driver of evidence-based care.
  • Rethink and update processes to advance quality and safety.

Highlights From the 2021 Q&S Conference

The Role of Radiology in Population Health Management. As defined by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation, the central focus of population health management (PHM) is "to keep a patient population as healthy as possible, minimizing the need for expensive interventions such as emergency department visits, hospitalizations, imaging tests and procedures." During his keynote address, Syed F. Zaidi, MD, MBA, Co-Chair of the Population Health Management Committee of the ACR Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care, examined PHM from a radiology perspective. Zaidi noted that incentives are lining up for primary care physicians and specialists like radiologists to team up in managing the costs of care. "COVID-19 has definitely accelerated this trend of physicians entering risk-sharing arrangements," noted Zaidi. "Radiologists should explore alternatives to fee-for-service payments and invest in care coordination by supporting the efforts of primary care providers who are engaged in sharing risk."

The “Transitioning to Peer Learning,” pre-conference session was conducted by Jennifer C. Broder, MD, Vice Chair for Radiology Quality and Safety at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA, and Nelly Tan, MD, Associate Program Director of Diagnostic Radiology Residency at Mayo Clinic Arizona. According to Tan, “Peer learning is effective at driving improvement where peer review may not.” To illustrate this, Tan focused on three areas: perception error, interpretive error and communication processes. Tan highlighted several ways to address perception errors, including structured reporting template updates, hanging protocol updates and image quality improvement. Interpretive errors can be mitigated via protocol harmonization, the use of guidelines such as the Liver Reporting & Data System (LI-RADS®), Prostate Imaging Reporting & Data System (PI-RADS®) and the use of clinical decision support tools. Finally, communication processes can be improved by revisiting critical test results and incidental follow-up pathways.

Broder, who serves as Chair of the newly formed ACR Peer Learning Committee, discussed how scored peer review/RADPEER® is not necessary to meet accreditation requirements for the ACR or The Joint Commission. According to Broder, there is now an official peer learning pathway for physician quality assurance activities for ACR Accreditation.

Q&S Conference on Demand

Registrants of the 2021 Annual Conference on Quality and Safety can access recordings of most sessions as part of their conference registration fees. Recordings are available for a fee to those who did not register for the conference.

2022 Q&S Conference

Planning is already underway for the 2022 ACR Annual Conference on Quality and Safety. Watch this newsletter for more details.