As implementation of the Affordable Care Act proceeds, academic radiology departments must adapt to the new healthcare environment by focusing on value instead of volume, according to an article in the October issue of Academic Radiology.
In order to thrive under the ACA, the authors said, academic radiology departments will need to concentrate on improving, measuring and maintaining service quality and patient satisfaction. In doing so, they said, they should focus on several areas, including:
- Appropriate utilization, by providing support to referring physicians on how to determine when imaging is appropriate
- Monitoring radiation dose. Since more Americans will be covered by insurance under the ACA, it's likely the number of imaging exams will increase, which means medical radiation exposure will continue to be an issue
- Reimbursement challenges, which will be affected by a move towards payment models such as bundled payments or pay for performance
- Medical informatics, since that will be critical in tracking quality, safety, productivity, patient satisfaction, and other metrics
While academic radiology departments will have to change certain attitudes regarding imaging, they'll also have to alter research priorities by focusing on comparative effectiveness research, according to the authors.
Additionally, they said, academic radiologists will have to focus on teaching radiology residents and fellows how to deal with the changes driven by the ACA, whether identifying appropriate imaging tests, performing and evaluating them, or interacting with patients.
"We have to adopt a new paradigm, and teach our residents to focus on value rather than volume," contributing author Pablo Ros, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University, told AuntMinnie.com.