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Buying new software and systems for your healthcare enterprise can be a precarious endeavor. On the one hand, replacing an old system that is holding you back or purchasing new functionality that will increase efficiency is a promising and positive thing. On the other, selecting the wrong vendor could cause delays, setbacks and even security incidents.

With the “volume to value” movement pushing radiologists to prove their contributions to cost containment, some are feeling uneasy. After all, imaging utilization stands to be curbed—or at least eyed more closely than ever before for appropriateness.

It’d be a stretch to say Walmart has gone into the radiology business. But there’s no denying that the retail behemoth has made a business decision having everything to do with radiology.

In 2017, some 60 percent of physicians reported being “not at all familiar” or “slightly familiar” with MACRA. A meager 8 percent said they were “very familiar” with the legislation. Two years later, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests the lack of understanding persists.

The unassailable understanding that the best way to stop Alzheimer’s disease is to diagnose it early gives radiology a strategically pivotal role now that drug companies are balking over reseahing and developing treatments. 

Occupational deregulation may be advisable for some occupations, but if states decide to abolish licensure for radiologic technologists, patients may be put in serious potential danger.

Publishing direct-to-consumer pricing would allow competitive comparison of real rates. In radiology, this means getting the information to patients both directly and through ordering physicians.

Radiologists are often part of multispecialty groups that participate in a Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO. As a result, many radiologists are in these ACOs often without even realizing it.

The terms “AI” and “machine learning” appear early and often on the agenda for SIIM19, which rolls into Denver the last week of June. The heavy dose of AI-related tech talk is no surprise, given the fast and steady interest in these technologies evidenced by imaging informaticists in medicine.

Has the value-based U.S. healthcare system become so focused on the bottom line that care is, in cases, getting compromised? 

Medicare recently relaxed its rules on the supervision that non-physician radiology providers must have by radiologists for their respective practices to get reimbursed. In the wake of the change, these “midlevel providers” are likely to grow in importance as well as in numbers. 

Who wouldn’t want greater consistency in radiology reports’ substance, style and actionability to referring clinicians? And yet a substantial number of radiologists have intently avoided, quietly thwarted or tacitly rejected structured reporting. They can only hold out so long. 

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