Hospital finds success deploying radiology residents as imaging consultants

The American College of Radiology has noted that, as radiology moves to value-based imaging care, radiologists will need to get more comfortable serving as consultants to referring colleagues. But there is little teaching interaction between imaging trainees and other parts of the medical profession.

Wanting to close this learning gap, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School recently tested out a new training model. They’ve piloted a peer-to-peer imaging teaching consultation services (TCS), which imbeds radiology students into resident-run training programs for their internal medicine peers. After a seven-month testing period, Harvard believes the program is tightening bonds and collaboration between the two sides, according to a study published Oct. 31 in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology.

“TCS provides an excellent platform for teaching [internal medicine] trainees appropriate use and promoting stewardship of imaging resources,” lead author Michael Caton Jr. MD, and colleagues wrote. And doing so “could be easily replicated at other institutions,” given the prevalence of such Internal Medicine Morning Report programs elsewhere.

During the pilot, each case was handled by a senior radiology resident, who created a set of “dynamic” teaching presentation slides to be shared during the Morning Report program. Those included patient images with extensive annotations and animations to highlight key teaching points and extra attention paid to clearing up any radiological jargon. Internal medicine presenters were then able to use those slides to better educate residents about the intricacies of imaging professionals’ work.

During those seven months of the pilot, radiology residents performed 10 teaching consultations. Surveying internal medicine afterward, Harvard found that the program improved IM residents’ perceived ability to engage their audience, confidence in teaching radiology material, ability to understand radiological reports and appreciation of what the profession does.

Harvard and Brigham and Women’s said they plan to further test the model in other departments such as surgery and neurology.

“Our pilot resident-driven, peer-to-peer teaching consultation service is a feasible educational program that is well-received by our IM colleagues,” the study concluded. “TCS may serve as a platform for promoting appropriate use of imaging, clarifying radiology reports, and increasing the visibility of radiologists to our peers, all of which are priorities of the [ACR’s] Imaging 3.0 paradigm.”