Thursday, March 5 (ECR) – Radiology as we know it is bound to change profoundly. The attitude of radiologists towards this transformation and how they can cope with tightening budgets will be fundamental, experts will argue during today’s Professional Challenges session at the ECR.
The emergence of quantitative imaging, and the validation of an increasing number of imaging biomarkers for prognosis, diagnosis or therapy monitoring, have already started changing clinical practice. Clinical radiologists must learn how to use these new tools, but many are reticent, as it requires extra work, according to Prof. Gabriel Krestin, professor and chairman of the department of radiology at Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
“Extracting quantitative data from a cardiac examination takes up to 30 minutes, so you need dedicated personnel to do that; preferably radiographers. The workflow of radiologists could be seriously disrupted if they had to perform such extensive post-processing of images, and the consequence would be a decrease in efficiency, particularly because nobody pays for the additional measurements,” he said.
Plenty of imaging biomarkers are currently in development, such as biomarkers for vascular disease to evaluate the degree of stenosis, and for volumes of white matter brain lesions in cerebrovascular disease, so it is urgent that radiologists become aware of the added value of biomarkers and have proper training, Krestin said.
Many among the medical community think that all existing biomarkers – from imaging, but also genetics, physiology, biochemistry, etc. – should be integrated into a single diagnostic report, to answer a clinical question based on different types of biomarkers. This would avoid a long process and increase efficiency and effectiveness. Supporting IT solutions would have to be developed to answer the clinical request between all specialists.
The use of teleradiology to save money has exposed radiology to a great danger, according to Prof. Michael Fuchsjäger, chairman of general radiology at Graz Medical University, Austria. “The commoditisation of our services is really an issue and a threat. In the last two to three decades, radiology has become digitised, and a perception has been created that we are working behind our screens in a dark and quiet room and don’t want to be annoyed by clinical questions, which is highly detrimental to our profession,” he said.
To counter this damaging perception, radiologists have to be visible, and active in discussions and multidisciplinary meetings, but also in their interaction with the patient, he said.
With spiralling health costs and limited budgets, radiology can also expect to come under review in order to contain costs, and a concept everyone should become familiar with is health technology assessment (HTA). Dr. Jane Adam, consultant in diagnostic radiology at St. George’s Hospital, London, and chair of the ESR Quality, Safety and Standards Committee, will explain to delegates what they can expect, during the session.
Gabriel P. Krestin, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Michael Fuchsjäger, Graz, Austria
Professional Challenges Session
Thursday, March 5, 08:30–10:00, Room E2
PC 5a Looking into the future of radiology
- Chairmen’s introduction
M.H. Fuchsjäger; Graz/AT
G. Paulo; Coimbra/PT
- Health technology assessment (HTA)
E.J. Adam; London/UK
- The influence of health economics systems on radiology
D. Katsifarakis; Athens/GR
- Quo vadis radiology professions? A pragmatic approach
G.P. Krestin; Rotterdam/NL
- Panel discussion: What is the role of European societies in building a sustainable model for radiology?
(right) Prof. Gabriel Krestin, chairman of the department of radiology at Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
(left) Prof. Michael Fuchsjäger, chairman of general radiology at Graz Medical University, Austria.
Copyright: © ESR – European Society of Radiology