Health services RSNA sessions will focus on quality, patient care process

November 17, 2009

RSNA meeting attendees can expect health services scientific sessions to focus on quality, according to the committee chair. The sessions will define quality and how radiologists can work on the entire care experience.

RSNA meeting attendees can expect health services scientific sessions to focus on quality, according to the committee chair. The sessions will define quality and how radiologists can work on the entire care experience.

"We are more than the images and reports we generate," said Dr. Ruth Carlos, chair of the RSNA subcommittee on health services policy and research. "We are active participants in the patient care process, and it is up to us to make sure that when they're in our care we render the highest quality possible."

One paper from Australia focuses on improving quality by describing the facility's adverse events database, which looks at errors across the care spectrum. The session is meant to focus attention on areas that need more improvement, like mismarked films and wrong patients getting imaged, said Carlos, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

"When people think of radiology and they think of what radiologists do, oftentimes they think of us reading films," she said. "In fact, the whole care experience starts when the patient schedules the exam and goes until the patient gets the report from their clinician-that is the entire care experience, and we can improve quality every step of the way."

Another of the papers submitted will focus on safety in the radiology department and how to prevent falls.

"It's not something radiologists tend to think about, but it happens just as frequently as it happens on the clinical floor," Carlos said. "We need to take part in making our department just as safe as if the patient were up in the clinic."

Since health services policy and research is such a broad topic, it's hard to point out year-to-year trends, according to Carlos. This year, there are quite a few papers on quality and on comparative effectiveness research, and many of the papers came from outside the U.S., she said.

"I'm pleased with the increase in international submissions. It demonstrates the reach of the RSNA," Carlos said.