RadiologyBusiness.com recently caught up with N. Reed Dunnick, MD, president of the Radiological Society of North America and the Fred Jenner Hodges Professor and chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Michigan Health System for a short interview on some of the challenges facing radiology as we head into the new year.
RadiologyBusiness.com: What are the pressing concerns facing radiology leaders in 2015?
Dunnick: We are all working hard at reducing costs, but that’s a challenge considering that the American public has all sorts of expectations regarding their healthcare. For example, if you watch a [National Football League) game on Sunday and a player gets injured it’s likely you’re going to hear he’s being taken off the field for an MRI. And when us weekend warriors hurt our knees, we expect the same thing—whether it’s indicated or not. So there’s pressure to spend more money in our healthcare system even as there is pressure to reduce costs.
A second concern is also related to healthcare costs, and that has to do with how we pay providers. We’re currently being paid in a volume-based system and the question is what the payment structure is going to look like in a value-based system. Even if everyone is on board with it, that transition is going to be difficult.
Finally, as we reduce the cost of healthcare, what does that mean for research funding? How are we going to fund the research necessary to come up with new procedures and new techniques, and prove that they are better than the old ones. The federal government has done much of this through the NIH (National Institutes of Health), but that budget is down. And while vendors often fund research, their budgets are very tight, and the academic medical centers are being squeezed as well. So, I’m a little concerned about how we are going to fund research as we go forward.