RSNA 2018: The growing importance of patient-centric radiology

Patient-centric radiology is critical to providing high-quality patient care, and radiologists are beginning to take note.

Olga R. Brook, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, will be discussing patient-centric radiology Thursday, Nov. 29, at RSNA 2018 in Chicago. This is the second year the session has been offered at RSNA after a successful run in 2017.

“We need to understand that patient-centric radiology is an absolute must in our profession, to both diagnostic and interventional radiologists,” Brook told Radiology Business in an interview before the conference. 

A key theme within patient-centric radiology is ensuring patients receive their health information in a timely manner. Brook said patient portals are important because patients have the ability to view their results at their own leisure and ask the radiologist questions.

Numerous presenters will highlight patient portals during Thursday's session. Brook will detail BIDMC’s experiences using them over the last several years, examining what has made their implementation a success. 

Brook noted that patients having a mixed bag of opinions regarding portals. Some patients, she said, would prefer a phone call with the radiologist over logging in online to see their results. 

Brook will also speak to how often patients directly contact their radiologists and the impact that can have on workflow. Her research on the subject was published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology earlier this year.

“We are contacted rarely, but when patients do contact us, it is usually a very short interaction—less than 15 minutes," Brook said. "And it does not impact our workflow. It actually causes an improved sense of professional satisfaction, which in turn can reduce radiologist burnout.”

While Brook’s results are promising, and she agrees that patient-centric radiology is “the way to go,” physicians’ perception regarding the logistics of such interactions are still evolving. Last year, she added, she heard from people who worried about these interactions. 

“I think the concerns are still there, but we know we need to do it in order to stay relevant to patient care," Brook said. "Patient-centric radiology is more about staying relevant and moving from being a doctor’s doctor to a patient’s doctor.”

Other subjects that will be discussed during the session include: improving the patient experience through informatics, disclosing medical errors to patients and caring for diverse, marginalized and vulnerable patients.

Brook is scheduled to deliver her presentation, “Radiologists' Experience with Patient Interactions in the Era of Open Access of Patients to Radiology Reports,” as part of the “Patient-Centric Radiology” session Thursday, Nov. 29, at 4:30 p.m. More information is available on the RSNA 2018 interactive program.