The American College of Radiology's (ACR) Task Force on Relationships between Radiology Groups and Hospitals and Other Healthcare Organizations has proposed several steps that can help improve relationships between radiologists and the health care systems that they service, according to an article in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (www.jacr.org).
"The vast majority of U.S. radiologists are affiliated with hospital-based group practices, making professional relationships between radiologists and hospitals one of the most crucial factors in building and maintaining successful and secure practices," said Cynthia S. Sherry, MD, FACR, lead author of the article. "Yet lately tensions between hospitals and radiologists have been increasing," she said.
The ACR has assembled a task force on relationships between radiology groups and hospitals and other health care organizations. The task force's goal was not merely to identify problems but to propose positive steps that would benefit radiologists, hospitals, and the patients and communities they serve.
"Radiologists must re-dedicate themselves to the concept of service and be more visible to patients, referring physicians, and to the hospital administration. It is imperative for the survival of the specialty for radiologists to provide a "value added" to the clinical evaluations and therapies of patients. This can entail expanded hours of onsite coverage, a greater number of available radiologists, more sub-specialization, and/or greater opportunities for consultations with referring physicians and their patients," she said.
"Hospitals should place a high priority on nurturing a functional relationship with their radiology group. A successful relationship will go a long way toward laying a sound bedrock for a radiology service that is optimal for patients, referring physicians, and the administration. Furthermore, hospitals should recognize the core strategic value of a strong foundational radiology service and the critical importance of on-site involvement by radiologists," said Sherry.