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  • New RSNA Online Series Helps Radiologists Navigate Health Care Economics

    Knowing how economics and health policy affect the specialty can help radiologist be change agents. By Jennifer Allyn


    August 31, 2018

    For many radiology residents, fellows and practicing radiologists, learning about how economics and health policy affect the specialty — things like physician reimbursement and regulatory compliance — is far down on the list of items that need to be successfully understood before moving further into their careers.

    To help trainees and radiologists navigate the emerging value-based payment systems in the U.S., the RSNA Online Learning Center offers a series of Economics and Health Policy courses. This online series was developed by Richard Duszak, MD, professor of radiology and vice chair for health policy and practice, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, with the help of a 2017 GE Healthcare/RSNA Education Scholar Grant and the RSNA Education Center.

    “The reality is that society is looking for meaningful change in how health care services are delivered and paid. I’m a strong believer that that change best comes from within — from physicians who know how our system works, and have made lifelong commitments to providing the best patient care possible,” Dr. Duszak said. “If radiologists — whether in private practice or academics — don’t understand the complex ecosystem in which they practice, they will never be successful agents of change.”

    This online series provides radiologists with the knowledge to demonstrate competency in various program-specific areas of health policy and practice management, such as coding, compliance and productivity assessment. The series meets the requirements of the health care economics milestone project recently initiated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and American Board of Radiology (ABR) for all accredited residency and fellowship programs in radiology. Additionally, RSNA provides self-assessment CME (SA-CME) for practicing radiologists seeking education in health care economics and health policy.

    To help learners access the content in the format that best fits their learning style, each of the seven educational courses includes a number of short vodcasts — podcasts with videos — pre-populated content-rich slide decks for teaching faculty to create their own lectures, post-tests and an evaluation.

    RSNA Courses Offer Valuable, Enduring Content

    While Dr. Duszak has been a regular champion of the need to create and advance education in economics and health policy and often lectures and writes on the topic, it wasn’t until he learned about the GE Healthcare/RSNA Education Scholar Grant that he had his “aha” moment. He realized that he could create an online series that would democratize and facilitate access to this content for training programs across the country.

    “Without the R&E grant support, a matching commitment from my department at Emory, and the support of the RSNA Education Center, I never would have been able to pull this off,” Dr. Duszak said. “My R&E grant provided the academic time necessary to plan the curriculum, bring on board experts in adult education as advisors, develop a digital media dissemination strategy and obtain ACGME continuing medical education approval for the curriculum, in addition to the massive amount of time necessary to create brand new content for the series.”

    This type of education, while meeting a broad need within the radiology educational community, is particularly valuable and Dr. Duszak realized he had a decision to make about how and where to offer the courses.

    “A few for-profit continuing education organizations got wind of my idea, but I ultimately decided that doing this in a not-for-profit manner would best serve the radiology community,” Dr. Duszak said. “For over two decades, I had been the beneficiary of so much great work that resulted from RSNA, so I saw this as a great opportunity to pay it forward to the profession and create what I hope to be valuable and enduring content.”

    Dr. Duszak worked with the RSNA Education Center to design the unique format of the courses that are being offered now on the RSNA Online Learning Center.

    The courses are available for free to RSNA members and for $75 to nonmembers. Seven courses include topics on reimbursement basics, service valuation and costs, current and emerging payment models, physician performance assessment, revenue cycle management, advanced economics and health policy for nuclear radiologists, and advanced economics and health policy for vascular and interventional radiologists.

    “I hope this will be a resource that will help RSNA demonstrate its ongoing value to the radiology community,” Dr. Duszak said. “RSNA’s partnership adds a lot of credibility to the curriculum, creates a wider distribution to trainees and practicing radiologists, and, I hope, gives other radiologists who have big ideas the encouragement to apply for grants and consider working with RSNA on unique ways to educate their colleagues about important issues facing the specialty.”

    If radiologists — whether in private practice or academics — don’t understand the complex ecosystem in which they practice, they will never be successful change agents.

    Richard Duszak, MD

    Grants in Action

    Duszak

    Name:
    Richard Duszak, MD

    Grant Received:
    2017 GE Healthcare/RSNA Education Scholar Grant

    Study:
    Radiology Economics and Policy Learning Electronic Toolkit (REPLeT)

    Career Impact:
    “The GE Healthcare/RSNA Education Scholar Grant has been instrumental, after two decades in private practice, in jump-starting my career as an academic educator. I believe that this content fills an important void in radiology education, and in that way, I see this as great opportunity for me to pay it forward to the profession.”

    Clinical Implication:
    The online educational courses provides trainees and radiologists with the knowledge to demonstrate competency in various program-specific areas of health policy and practice management and also meets the economic milestones requirements for all ACGME residency and fellowship programs in radiology. The program provides self-assessment CME (SA-CME) for practicing radiologists seeking education in health care economics and health policy.




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