Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Willis on Radiology-TEACHES program

Students at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, are gaining access to a new educational resource called Radiology-TEACHES (Technology Enhanced Appropriateness Criteria Home for Education Simulation), which aims to give students more in-depth knowledge about medical imaging tests by using American College of Radiology (ACR)'s Radiology Case Management System (RCMS) integrated with the ACR Select clinical decision support (CDS) tools. 

Radiology Business spoke with Marc H. Willis, DO, associate professor of radiology and associate chair for quality improvement at Baylor College of Medicine who was part of the team that created the program. 

Radiology Business: What prompted you and your colleagues to launch Radiology-TEACHES?
Marc Willis, DO: Chronic gaps in traditional medical education curricula in areas such as appropriate utilization of imaging, cost of imaging examinations, appropriate use of intravenous contrast and patient safety (radiation exposure). These gaps are a significant barrier for our pursuit of high-value healthcare.

In 2013, I saw what was going on in the area of clinical decision support. I felt it was great work, but believed that the issues we are trying to address are too big to wait and address solely after medical providers are done with their education. I proposed that we attack the issue on both fronts by also going upstream and educating people differently throughout medical education. Fortunately, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and National Decision Support Company shared this vision and agreed to collaborate in this endeavor.

How exactly was Radiology-TEACHES developed?
A web-based education portal was created to simulate the ordering process for imaging examinations with integrated clinical decision support. This was done by authoring case vignettes within the ACR’s Radiology Case Management System (RCMS). The RCMS system was integrated with the ACR Select clinical decision support tool to provide learners with immediate feedback in this simulated environment.

What kind of responses have you been getting from students in regards to the program?
Feedback from learners has been extremely positive. Learner feedback is available in the Academic Radiology article and ACR Case Study.

Do you have any plans on possibly allowing Radiology-TEACHES to branch out to other medical programs?
Absolutely, we are doing a multisite implementation study with medical schools. There are currently five schools enrolled: University of Chicago, Montefiore, Augusta University, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. We have also piloted the resource with our Physician Assistant program here at Baylor College of Medicine. This resource is scalable and adaptable. It has potential to be utilized across the continuum of medical education (UME, GME, CME, allied health, inter-professional education, etc.)

Do you have any other plans for the future of Radiology-TEACHES?
The challenge of obtaining high-value and cost-effective care throughout our healthcare system is great. I believe Radiology-TEACHES has proven to be a useful resource for this pursuit. Through further development, growth and support, this resource can make a significant contribution toward shaping the future healthcare enterprise that we all want and need.

Back when you were a student, I’m assuming you were going through those online PDF. What have you learned from this new online platform with integrated CDS?
The improved efficiency to access key information is a significant advantage of the portal. The resource fills significant gaps in medical education curricula that I wish I had access to as a learner. The ability to learn these important concepts in a simulated environment without compromising patient safety or increasing the cost of care in teaching institutions is a huge advantage of this approach.