RSNA 2022: Partnering for Better Patient Care

By Reeves K

As a radiation oncologist, Bruce G Haffty, MD, FACR, FASTRO, FASCO, admits to feeling a strong sense of collaboration with his colleagues on the medical imaging side of patient care.

“Patients truly value their imaging and discussion about the results,” says Dr Haffty, president of the Radiological Society of North America, which will host its annual scientific meeting and exhibition in Chicago Nov 27-Dec 1, 2022. The theme of the meeting, woven throughout the many courses and other sessions, is “Empowering Patients and Partners in Care.”

In planning radiology’s largest meeting of the year, Dr Haffty says, “we wanted to address … how radiology and our multidisciplinary partners like cardiologists, oncologists, and neurosurgeons can work together to really optimize the patient’s experience of their imaging, and how we can best meet the patient’s needs.”

Patient-focused Care

Choosing which courses to attend is always a challenge for conference-goers. Dr. Haffty’s President’s Address, “Diagnostic Imaging: Value from the Lens of the Patient,” kicks off the plenary sessions on Sunday, Nov 27.

Previewing his talk in a recent interview, the associate vice chancellor of cancer programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences noted that the ability of today’s patients to almost immediately access the results of imaging exams and other tests has sparked the need for expedited healthcare communications.

“[This access] impacts radiologists in terms of their reporting time, how they communicate with ordering physicians, and how they may optimally communicate results,” says Dr Haffty, who is also chair of radiation oncology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson and New Jersey Medical Schools of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

“We really need to determine how to best ensure that the patient feels comfortable and understands their imaging results.” Following Dr Haffty, Elizabeth Morris, MD, will present “Doctor as Patient: Imagining Cancer Survival for All.” Dr Morris, professor and chair of radiology at the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento, California, will delve into how her experience as a breast cancer patient fuels her desire for respectful and responsive care according to each individual’s preferences, needs, and values—a critical component of patient-centered care models.

Monday’s plenary sessions will be highlighted by “Three Visions for the Future of Medicine,” a discussion featuring Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, who is renowned for his 2010 book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.

Other compelling sessions, Dr Haffty says, take place on Tuesday, Nov 29, and include a discussion of US healthcare policy on medical imaging, and an exploration of how design considerations can help foster better imaging experiences for patients.

“Patients and our healthcare teams can work together using human-centered design to improve imaging experiences,” says Reed A Omary, MD, MS, president of the Association of University Radiologists. “Likewise, we can design our communities outside of hospitals and imaging centers to better serve the health and wellbeing of community members.

“Finally, we can redesign our professional and personal lives to address climate change. Afterall, sustainable practices are powerful tools to promote health equity and justice,” adds Dr Omary, the Carol D and Henry P Pendergrass Professor and chair of radiology and radiological sciences, and a professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Importance of Collaboration

The RSNA meeting will also explore various aspects of the partnerships integral to optimal patient care. On Thursday, Nov 30, “Together We Can Make a Difference,” a symposium cosponsored by the Society and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, will address successful collaboration between radiologists and physicists.

Presenters Maryellen L Giger, PhD, and Gillian M Newstead, MD, will share how their decades-long collaboration to develop and translate computer-aided diagnosis/artificial intelligence (AI) systems has improved breast cancer diagnosis. Dr Giger will also discuss her efforts with radiologists to create the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center to address COVID-19.

“Innovations in imaging technology are essential to modern radiology practices,” says Guang-Hong Chen, PhD, symposium moderator and a professor of medical physics and radiology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin.

“With the ever-increasing technological complexity in medical imaging, including AI, the partnership between radiology and medical physics/engineering is even more critical. It needs to be further cultivated and enhanced by the next generation of radiologists and medical physicists, who will make a huge difference by applying technological innovations in clinical practice to save lives,” Dr Chen says.

“Through the entire meeting we weave this theme of how radiologists can work with partners on the multidisciplinary care team to optimize the patient experience,” Dr Haffty adds.

Hands-on sessions that include 90-minute courses on breast ultrasound biopsy and pediatric musculoskeletal ultrasound, as well as an RSNA simulation lab, where participants will be trained by experts on positioning and anatomy specifics using imaging guidance, will also be featured at RSNA 2022. And don’t forget the more than 600 technical exhibits in the North and South exhibit halls, where vendors will showcase their latest and greatest imaging technology.

After-Meeting Meeting

All work and no play make for a very dull conference; Dr Haffty notes that socializing and networking remain very important to the RSNA experience. He recommends catching the RSNA’s “last call,” running from 2 pm to 4 pm on Wednesday, Nov 29, for refreshments, appetizers, and networking. Conference-goers are also invited to purchase tickets for TAO Chicago, a local nightclub featuring a world-class DJ and an open bar and snacks.

“In Chicago and back at home, we need to continue to develop and collaborate, making sure radiology is meeting the needs of the patient and the needs of the healthcare system as a whole,” Dr Haffty says.

Reeves K. (Nov 02, 2022). RSNA 2022: Partnering for Better Patient Care. Appl Radiol. 2022; 51(6):38-39.

Kerri Reeves is a freelance writer based in Ambler, PA.

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