June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

The Importance of Radiology in Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness

Radiology is at the forefront of diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Advanced imaging techniques allow us to detect early signs of brain disorders, track disease progression, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

This critical work can dramatically improve patient outcomes and enhance the quality of life for those affected by these conditions. That’s why, we at Medality, formerly MRI Online, are committed to transforming the way radiologists learn and thrive by creating courses that will give practicing radiologists and trainees the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose and manage these complex neurodegenerative diseases effectively.

Get Started with these Neuroradiology Courses

American Heart Month is a time to raise awareness about the importance of heart health and the ways to prevent and treat heart disease. February was traditionally designated as Heart Month in 1963 by President B. Johnson, with Valentine’s Day serving as a reminder of the importance of loving and taking care of our hearts.1

Cardiac health is a major concern, as heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. While there are many factors that contribute to heart disease, such as genetics and lifestyle choices, early detection and treatment can greatly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.2

Radiology plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Imaging tests like echocardiograms, CT scans, and MRIs can provide detailed pictures of the heart and its blood vessels, allowing doctors to identify and diagnose problems early on.3 These imaging tests can also be used to monitor the progress of treatment and track any changes in the heart over time.

One of the most important imaging tests used in cardiac health is the coronary angiogram.4 This test uses X-rays and a contrast dye to create detailed images of the coronary arteries and detect any blockages. This test can help doctors identify the location and extent of blockages and decide on the best course of treatment, whether it be medication, angioplasty, or surgery.

In addition to diagnostic imaging, radiology also plays a role in the treatment of heart disease. Interventional radiology procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting, can help open blocked coronary arteries and improve blood flow to the heart. These procedures are less invasive than traditional surgery and have a faster recovery time.5

Working Together to Improve Cardiac Health

Heart month is a time to raise awareness about heart health, the importance of early detection and treatment, and the role of radiology in maintaining a healthy heart. Radiologists can get involved by educating patients and healthcare providers about the importance of imaging in detecting and managing cardiac conditions, promoting the early detection and prevention of heart disease, and participating in community events and screenings. 

Additionally, radiologists can get involved in Heart Month by continuing to further their own education and staying up-to-date on the latest imaging techniques and advancements in cardiac care. Here are 3 ways that radiologists can boost their knowledge in cardiac imaging:

  1. Participate in online courses: Online courses are a convenient way for radiologists to continue their education and learn about the latest trends and techniques in cardiac imaging without having to take time off of work or be away from their families. These resources can also cover a wide range of topics, from basic cardiac imaging techniques to advanced treatment options, and are taught by industry experts from all over the world. Here are a few courses to get you started:
  2. Read scientific journals and publications: Radiologists can stay informed about the latest developments in cardiac imaging by reading scientific journals and publications. These resources provide in-depth analysis and commentary on the latest research in the field of radiology.
  3. Attend radiology conferences: Attending radiology conferences is a great networking opportunity to discuss cutting-edge research, new technologies, and best practices in the field of radiology.

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  1. https://www.aha.org/news/blog/2018-02-01-february-american-heart-month
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448128/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/coronary-angiogram/about/pac-20384904
  5. https://www.sirweb.org/patient-center/conditions-and-treatments/stroke/

Medality is committed to advancing & supporting women in radiology as part of our mission to transform the way radiologists learn and thrive.

In celebration of National Women’s Physicians Day, check out all the amazing content below from some of the top women in radiology!

Neuroradiology 

MSK

Head and Neck

Breast

Body-Gyn/GI/GU

Cardiac/Chest

Pediatric 

Remote Fellowships

View all courses https://mrionline.com/library/ 

February is designated as American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about cardiovascular health, heart disease, and its impact on individuals and families.1

The annual celebration started in 1963 when President Lyndon B. Johnson established February as American Heart Month to encourage Americans to join the battle against heart disease.2 Each year, a presidential proclamation is published that pays tribute to researchers, physicians, public health professionals, and volunteers for their work in preventing, treating, and studying heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.3

During Heart Month, organizations and individuals come together to educate the public about heart disease, its risk factors, and ways to prevent it. This includes promoting healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, managing stress, and, in some cases, medicine.

One of the most important ways to prevent heart disease is through regular screenings and check-ups. This includes checking blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other markers that can indicate a person’s risk for heart disease.4 People who are at high risk for heart disease, such as those with a family history of the condition, should be especially vigilant about getting regular screenings.

Another important aspect of Heart Month is raising awareness about the warning signs of a heart attack. These include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, and pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.5 Knowing the warning signs and seeking medical attention quickly can save lives.

American Heart Month is also a time when the medical community shines a light on hypertension (high blood pressure), which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is a common condition where the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high, which can put a significant amount of strain on the heart and cause damage to the blood vessels.6 This can increase the risk of serious health problems over time and may require the care of a radiologist. 

Radiologists play a crucial role in the diagnosis and management of hypertension, as they use imaging techniques such as CT scans and MRI to assess the health of the blood vessels and identify any damage caused by high blood pressure.7 They also work closely with other healthcare professionals to develop treatment plans and monitor the progression of the disease, helping to reduce the risk of serious complications such as heart attacks and strokes.

Overall, American Heart Month is a time to raise awareness about heart disease and its impact on individuals and families. It’s a time to educate the public about the disease, its risk factors, and ways to prevent it. Also, it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about the warning signs of a heart attack and to support those who have been affected by heart disease. Radiologists can also get involved by staying on top of their cardiac education. Changes in the standard of care for cardiac imaging mean there’s an increasing need for radiologists to be able to read cardiac CT and MRI.  

By working together, we can help to reduce the number of people affected by heart disease and improve the lives of those who have been touched by it.

Are you ready to learn from the top Cardiac Radiologists in the world? Begin by watching this free Cardiac case review with Dr. Stefan Zimmerman.

———–

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/american_heart_month.htm
  2. https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2017/02/21/12/42/the-evolution-of-american-heart-month
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm
  4. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/heart-health-screenings
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118
  6. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure
  7. https://jcmr-online.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1532-429X-14-28

Get ready to dive into the exciting world of radiology with our Ultimate Guide to Radiology Conferences, Events and Healthcare Awareness Dates!

Whether you are a practicing radiologist, an educator, an administrator, or a fellow / resident / student, this guide is your go-to that can help you plan out your calendar for the year or help you create professional development activities to engage or recognize your team. Picture it as your all-access pass to the coolest events, radiology conferences (in-person and virtual), and healthcare awareness dates that are important in the medical imaging community.

If you need help planning activities for any awareness days or would like access to a specific course or fellowship, contact us!

2024 Radiology Conferences, Events and Healthcare Awareness Dates by Month

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

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August

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September

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October

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November

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December

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*The Medality team is exhibiting at these shows.

If there are any conferences, events or special radiology appreciation days we missed or you would like to add, please contact our editors.

For more than 20 years, professional journals have speculated on how to retain radiologists across healthcare settings including private practices, academic medical centers, and community hospitals. They knew increasing retirements from an aging workforce would eventually take its toll, so would increasing rates of workplace dissatisfaction. But no one could foresee the havoc wrought by the COVID pandemic. 

Add high rates of burnout, competition for compensation, crushing workloads, and you have the perfect storm for radiologists to shop, and leave the practice. To survive and keep talented staff, practices must make retention part of recruitment. It’s not a new idea. 

In 2004, the Journal of Medical Practice Management1 published an article urging practices to consider retention as an extension of the recruitment effort. Fast forward to the present day and statistics show that retention isn’t just a good strategy – it’s the only strategy to keep radiologists. 

The 2022 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives2 shows that radiology is the third most requested specialty, behind nurse practitioners and family medicine physicians. There’s plenty of demand and not enough professionals to go around. Unfilled job openings on the American College of Radiology job board3 are climbing to new heights. That market competition puts radiologists in the driver’s seat and requires that practices find a way to retain good people. 

Four Retention Strategies to Consider

It’s actually not difficult to retain talented radiologists, it’s a matter of dedicating resources to support the strategy. If a practice can address these four issues, there is a good chance it will lead to more successful retention. 

1. Competitive wages and benefits

Money always talks, and today it is one of the main reasons why radiologists are on the move. The main culprit is the fact that RVUs are increasingly central to compensation. However, when the RVU/incentive balance is out of whack, radiologists know it, and they move on to a more favorable financial environment. 

Practices need to make sure that success is possible and the RVU system will truly incentivize, not penalize, radiologists. 

2. Aggressively address burnout

A recent Medscape survey4 shows that 54% of radiologists report burnout, many of them saying it is “pervasive and persistent”. Physicians regularly identify the top factors as: 

Nearly half the physicians surveyed (45%) said that increased compensation and more manageable work schedule would help alleviate burnout. It is also important that administration should practice continual communication and transparency to improve radiologist satisfaction. Practices can also access the American College of Radiology Radiology Well-Being Program to assist with long-term stress.

3. Provide a quality work environment 

Radiologists want to know they are valued. That means making sure they have the modern equipment and effective technology they need to do their job. Transparency is essential in this area. Administration must communicate with the radiology team:

Radiologists want support. Practices should provide support teams to relieve radiologists of administrative burdens so they can handle the demands of increasing workloads. 

Another factor to creating a positive work environment is to give radiologists a sense of control over their work, and the opportunity to provide input. 

This is an area where teleradiology can play a productive role.The ability to work remotely improves work/life balance and reduces stress, including burnout. Implementing the technology requires only a high-speed, reliable internet connection. The radiologist can work from home and avoid lengthy commutes.

As a result, it is easier to fill call schedules and off shifts. Radiologists are less resistant to filling those shifts because it doesn’t mean rushing to the hospital for emergency imaging, it can be done from home. That can be the tipping point for retaining talented professionals. 

4. Training and education

Radiologists want more education throughout their career. They want increased knowledge in subspecialties. This is especially important for mid-career radiologists who want training to feel they are valued by the organization. An article in the RSNA Daily Bulletin5 suggests encouraging mid-career radiologists with training and mentors so they don’t feel “stuck” in their career. 

The Bottom Line 

Retention means supporting radiologists with strategies that make them feel valued. Most likely the pipeline of available talent isn’t going to improve any time soon. The market is dynamic and these professionals are going to continue to shop for higher compensation and better work environments. 

To retain staff, practices must make sure they create and offer that desirable environment. The alternative is not enough staff to provide high quality patient care. And that impacts the bottom line, every time. 


References

  1. Allen V. Recruitment, retention, and revenue: the three Rs of successful group practice management. J Med Pract Manage. 2004 Jan-Feb;19(4):185-8. PMID: 15018363.
  2. The 2022 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives. AMN Healthcare Merritt Hawkins
  3. 2022 Radiologist Job Market Update: High volume, high pay and a search for high quality of life. Radiology Business. May 25, 2022. 
  4. ‘I Cry but No One Cares’: Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2023. Medscape.com
  5. The Forgotten Middle—Strategies to Engage Mid-Career Radiologists | RSNA 2021

Medality CEO and Co-Founder, Daniel Arnold, and VP of Educational Strategy and Operations, Deanna M. Heier, PhD recently chatted with The Imaging Wire to discuss how practices can take advantage of growth opportunities, despite the radiology labor shortage, by helping their radiologists upskill in critical areas.

Transcript

Brian Casey: Hello and welcome to the Imaging Wire Show. My name is Brian Casey and I’m Managing Editor of the Imaging Wire. We’ve got a great episode for you today. Our topic is Practice Growth Opportunities: Overcoming the Radiology Labor Shortage and our guests are Daniel Arnold, CEO and Co-founder of online education company Medality and Deanna Heier, PhD, Medality’s Vice President of Educational Strategy and Operations.

Dan and Deanna, thanks for being with us today. 

Daniel Arnold: Thanks for having us on the show, Brian. I’ve been an avid reader of yours since I started in the industry and a big fan of The Imaging Wire and really grateful to be here. 

Brian Casey: Awesome, it’s great to have you. Now, most folks might know you from when Medality was called MRI Online. Dan, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the rebranding? 

Daniel Arnold: Well, first of all, just the fact that you say most folks may know you is humbling. I remember when I first started the company, I would sit alone in my apartment late at night hitting refresh on the website to see if anyone visited us and we’ve come a long way since then. We started out with just one course in MSK Knee MRI, and as it will quickly become apparent throughout this call, I’m not a radiologist by training, my background is in technology, so I thought, we’ve got a course on MRI, we’ll call it MRI online.

We gained a lot of traction really quickly and then customers started asking us “do you have courses in CT, do you have courses in Mammo? You know, we have a lot we need to learn.” And so I quickly learned that we needed to broaden the horizons of our training. And so we’ve since gone on to expand our offering to cover all modalities and all subspecialties of radiology and over time, we’ll enter new medical specialties as well.

And so the name Medality actually has a lot of meaning for us. First of all, modality has a lot of meaning in imaging. And we teach across all modalities. Modality also has meaning within education. Some people are visual learners, some are interactive learners, some are auditory learners. And so we take people’s multiple modalities of learning, multiple modalities of health care and medicine and brought that all together for our new name Medality. 

Brian Casey: Awesome. And it’s been great to see you guys evolve. Deanne, can you tell us a little bit about your background? 

Deanna Heier: Sure. So I come from a background of scientific research, and I’ve been working in medical education for the last 20 years, which is always hard to think about how long.

But I’ve really come to love this field. And when I met Daniel and saw what Medality was doing to disrupt traditional CME, I was hooked. You know, basically being able to take what we’ve been doing online for education to a new level with a more interactive and simulation based training model that we know has better impacts was what really brought me here.

And I had never worked in radiology before. And as I learn the field of radiology, I just have seen what a great impact that this education can have. So that’s why I’m here and I do it…I’m really just passionate about working in a field where we can really make some strides and have a great impact on patient care.

Brian Casey: Great. Now, if we can start kind of at a high level, can we talk a little bit about the traditional model for radiologist education and training? 

Daniel Arnold: Sure. So my background is actually in technology. I started out my career at Google where I was building new online products, one of which was in the online education space. And I was building up partnerships with companies like Khan Academy and Coursera and Masterclass.

If we’re using things like microlearning, short 2 to 4 minute interactive videos, paired with simulation training to really disrupt the way that people learn. That’s sort of it. I got my MBA. I wanted to start a business and my wife Tayler was going into radiology for residency. In med school, she had relied on many of these online education platforms to learn. She’s actually never been a very good reader. She always struggled to get through textbooks and journals. And so these online education applications that she used throughout med school really transformed her ability to get through this period. And then when she got to residency, she matched at Penn. She was all excited and the first thing they emailed her was “here’s your prerequisites list” and on the list was Dave Yousem’s textbook called Neuro Requisites and it was 300 pages. And I looked at her and we started laughing. “Oh my goodness, right? Residency is going to be hard. Is this all there is in radiology residency? There’s no Khan Academy for radiology?” 

And so your traditional model of teaching radiology is an apprentice model. And what’s great about radiology is it’s a resident, it’s a trainee sitting side by side with an attending, working through an actual patient case. And that model is proven to be the best way to learn. But then all the learning that happens outside of that, outside of that at the workstation learning has to happen on your own. And so it used to be, you know, you go to the hospital during the day and then at night you go to the library and read for 4 hours.

And that model just doesn’t really fit with today’s modern resident. They’re busy. My wife and I…we had three kids during residency, so having a four hour stretch to go sit at the library wasn’t a reality. And we thought there must be a better way. And so that’s one way education has changed. We’re trying to move away from analog training models to digital training models.

And one of the other big trends is that over the last 20 years, there’s been a really increasing focus on subspecialization in radiology. It used to be you do a general radiology training or maybe one fellowship in a broad area like MRI that you would practice across multiple subspecialty areas. Since the field’s gotten much more subspecialized, over 98% of people in the United States subspecialize, which is on the whole, very good for patient care.

As a result, I think we’re a lot deeper and more knowledgeable, more sophisticated at treating diseases in areas like pediatrics and neuroimaging and the like. But the realities of practice today is that people have to practice outside of just their core subspecialty. We’re going to talk a lot about the data in our report later about what those trends look like.

But so, as a result, your education, you can leave training and not have as broad a skill set as you might have had ten or 15 years ago. And so then when you leave your academic training setting and get into the real world, which is where we’re focused, our business is focused on helping real world clinicians practice more effectively. You find that you have some training gaps, we’ll get into that a little bit.

Brian Casey: Yeah. So you mentioned this apprentice model of an apprentice sitting next to a mentor at a workstation. And I’m just sitting here going like, how did that work during COVID? You know, because you’re not allowed to be in a room with anybody. So did that have a big impact on your company and your evolution?

Daniel Arnold: It did. So when we first started the company, I thought, “okay, we’re going to build this world class studio. We’re going to fly radiologists in to build courses.” And we opened the studio in February 2020. It became very apparent very quickly that no one’s going to be flying to Cincinnati to build our courses, which is where we’re from.

But then the other thing that became really apparent is that residency programs were going to shut down and people weren’t going to be able to do their in-person learning. And, you know, we started reading up on this little company called Zoom. We go…“hey, you know, I think we could do a lecture conference.” We started a lecture series and we invited five of the top radiologists we knew: Neuro Radiologists, Body Radiologists to do a lecture, and each one got attended by over a thousand people that first week because all of the residency programs had shut down and they couldn’t get their training. And so we actually quickly became an integral tool, not just for residency programs that we found though, you know, we thought, okay, this would be great for residency programs, is that actually practicing radiologists would really value this content as well because for them, they couldn’t go to their conferences anymore. So you couldn’t go to Park City for your head and neck conference. You couldn’t go to Hawaii anymore either. And so the audience quickly brought in, which helped us come into focus. 

Brian Casey: Now, Deanna, can you talk a little bit about some of the services that Medality offers right now that address some of these training issues that Dan has been talking about?

Deanna Heier: Yeah, sure. So Daniel touched on it a little bit. But you know why we’re different and, what attracted me here is, well, it’s really that learning model that draws you in. So it’s moved away from the more passive style of learning. You know, watching endless YouTube videos isn’t going to get you there. It can start you off and give you a foundation.

But what our model really does, the service we offer is a microlearning simulation based model. And so what that means, what that breaks down to is microlearning. You know, it’s accessible, it’s something you can do, which is just 5 minutes here or 5 minutes there. We hear from a lot of radiologists actually that tell us different places that they learn alongside us, whether it’s watching the Super Bowl or on their Pelotons and things. So it’s really trying to incorporate your professional development into your every day because they’re trying to make every minute work. 

And the simulation based side of it is where the impact really happens. And what we do is we put the real DICOM images that radiologists are looking at day to day. So just like if you were at your workstation, you’re going to be able to scroll through that image and watch somebody like Dr. David Yousem scroll through that same brain CT and you’ll be able to see the search patterns that he’s using. How does he evaluate that lesion? How does he move forward to interpret and report on that lesion and really help them kind of hone those skills, make sure you’re not missing and doing it really efficiently because once you know the fundamentals, it’s more about how do you now deal with the volumes that you’re facing day to day, right?

So how do you get really efficient at what you’re doing day to day? So when you see that case come up in your workstation, you’ve seen it before and you know what to do and you know how to handle it.

Brain Casey: It almost sounds like you’re sort of sitting there next to Dr. Yousem while they’re going through a case.

Deanne Heier: It’s a great model. So, I mean, think about it. The way we work today, you’ve got more than one screen in front of you, right? Especially if you’re at your workstation, so you literally have your scan that you’re looking at on one and you have Dr. Yousem working through that same scan on your other screen.

And it’s just like you were back in residency, you know who’s going to those good ol’ days. Where you were able to just be there and learn and soak it all in. And so we have hours and hours of experts just scrolling through cases on our site. And so really go back to those days and reinforce some of those cases you haven’t seen in a while and just build your confidence. 

Brian Casey: And you can do it all in your pajamas.

Deanne Heier: Yup. Some of them do. Some people share that. 

Brian Casey: Yeah. So you recently published a report on radiologist education and training. Can you talk a little bit about the report and what some of the findings are in there? And then we’re going to look at some data in a second. 

Deanne Heier: Yeah, sure. So in working through all of these cases…we’ve been working with a lot of radiologists, a lot of private practices around the world, and we realized that we have a lot of needs assessment data.

So our approach to learning is that we really only develop courses that radiologists need for their day to day practice. So we do needs assessments that tell us what areas radiologists are confident in or less confident in, what are they currently reading, what do they want to be reading in and what are those barriers? And a lot of times it’s just training or exposure or lack of exposure to cases.

And so we found we were collecting quite a lot of data. Last year, we collected over 2,700 radiologists who were working with us, and so we wanted to share it out. We were seeing some interesting trends and we wanted to be able to share some of those gaps and opportunities that we were seeing in the data. And that’s how the report came to be.

Brian Casey: All right. So we actually do have some of the data from that survey. So let’s take a quick look at it. And this is from a survey of 2,700 radiologists, correct?

Deanne Heier: That’s right, yeah, a little over 2,700. You know, we asked them some pretty basic questions just about what their day to day is. And one of those questions was “What subspecialties do you currently read in your daily practice?” And 40% reported that they read across all of the subspecialties so we had a list of them that they can pick from and they said, “no, I read across all of these on any given day I might see a scan in any of these subspecialties.” And then the other 60%, you can see the results from those here. 

The highest reads were happening in Neuroradiology and MSK then Body so both GI and GU. So those weren’t maybe too surprising but what did strike us is outside of everybody’s reading general radiology, people are still reading 4 to 5 subspecialties in their day to day practice. And that really surprised us. You know, Daniel mentioned that training a lot of times it’s very focused on some specialization. And so the fact that the reality is that they’re not only reading in their subspecialty areas, they’re actually reading across many subspecialties. 

Daniel Arnold: And if you think about Brian, the pace of change in radiology, I think one of the reasons people love radiology is the fast pace of change. If you look at areas like Stroke Imaging, Breast Imaging and Prostate Imaging to take three, the pace at which those have changed in just the past five years from no Tomo adoption to Tomo being the standard of care. And from stroke protocols completely being reinvented. 

If you’re a general radiologist or you’re an MSK radiologist, but then you’re practicing outside those areas. That’s a lot of information to stay up to date on, to be able to provide high quality care to your patients. And so this helped us realize just how broad the need is within a large radiology practice. You’re going to have multiple training needs just for each radiologist in your group. 

Brian Casey: Yeah, and a couple of things are at the bottom there, cardiac and nuclear kind of low percentages. And we’re going to run into that in a second. So what are we looking at here now? 

Deanne Heier: So another question we asked is just how confident they are when they’re reading in those different subspecialties. And so the data you’re seeing here are the subset that are reading in each of these subspecialties. So we’ve taken out anybody who’s not currently reading in the subspecialty and just ask them how confident they feel when the studies come through. And so you can see here most people are confident, but quite a large percentage are only somewhat confident, right?

So there’s inevitably cases that come up that you’re concerned about. You’re just not sure that you’ve seen that case before. You know, I think radiologists as a group tend to be a more humble medical specialty. So there’s probably some of that in here. But you see the trend. The trend is that less than half are very confident when they’re reading in their given subspecialty that they’re working in on that day.

Daniel Arnold: I was just going to say, and one of the things to think about is how does confidence impact a radiologist and how does that impact a radiology practice. Patient care is first and foremost, if I’m not confident, I’m not going to provide a good diagnosis. And so now I don’t think this means that a quarter of people are providing bad diagnosis. I think we might be going a little slower. They might maybe not be taking studies on that they might otherwise want to and that causes problems in the practice around turnaround time or just a few people having to take on the most complicated studies, which creates all sorts of challenges within practice. So if you’re wondering, “hey, why are my prostate MRs sitting on the list? Why are my advanced head and neck cancer staging studies staying on the list for a week?” Oh, well, it’s because Dave is out on vacation and the other rads we have in the practice that claim to read neuro, they’re just not confident enough to take that on.

And so trying to understand these areas where radiologists are reading but not as confident as they can be in certain areas can help you plug some pretty targeted holes within your practice that can really improve efficiencies within the group. 

Brian Casey: Yeah and on imaging where we reported on a study a few weeks ago on cherry picking from the work list, and this study found that cherry picking actually has pretty serious downstream effects on turnaround times and hospital length of stay and things like that. So, you know, it’s a big issue. 

Deanne Heier: There is another interesting thing that came out of the results that we’re seeing here that caught our attention. You keep seeing Cardiac and Nuclear Medicine there at the bottom of the list. And those are two really key fields in imaging right now that we know are high growth areas. And so, the fact that we see not as many radiologists reading in those areas and also the ones that are really aren’t feeling as confident as they’d like to be, those were two core places for us that we saw a great need for education and training.

Brian Casey: Great and I think that feeds into the next slide that we’re going to take a look at right here. 

Deanne Heier: Yeah, so this is an interesting question we asked. First, we asked them what are they currently reading in? And you can see the breakout there of current readers. But then we asked the group that was not currently reading in the specialty if they would want to.

And what you see here in the coral color is that particularly in Cardiac, we’d be able to double our workforce capacity in Cardiac by providing training and exposure to more general radiologists who are interested in reading in that specialty area. So we started to see again these needs, which is great because it’s a high growth area where training can really have a great impact.

As we know, the guidelines in Cardiac have changed in recent years and so the volumes are increasing and we need to make sure that our radiologists are ready for those orders as they come in. Nuclear Medicine, another great field where we are about to see a huge change, big transformation…the field of Theranostics. I’m sure you’ll cover that in Imaging Wire as well is one that can revolutionize imaging.

And so having radiologists be ready to be on the forefront of big changes like that is a way that training can really take them to the next level. 

Brian Casey: When it comes to Cardiac, do you get the feel from your customers that maybe radiology is starting to maybe clawback a little bit of cardiac imaging from cardiologists?

Daniel Arnold: It’s a great question, Brian. We have a regular ad board meeting filled with subspecialty leaders as well as practice leaders who kind of report from the trenches what’s going on. And what they’re saying is that the cardiologists don’t want it. They don’t want it right now because they’re having their own challenges keeping up and they don’t want the liability and everything else that comes alongside it.

And so they’re starting to win back a little bit of the volumes and what’s made our solution unique and where we’re just so different than anything that’s come before it. What makes Cardiac particularly challenging to learn is that it’s a very different software to interpret. You’re actually doing 3D reconstructions of the blood vessels, you’re flying it through and try and identify plaque and other sorts of issues and so you can’t just read a textbook and figure it out.

So in the past, maybe you could go to a workshop for three days…Some are across the country and you better hope you learned it in those three days, because then you get home and you’re on your own. And then, by the way, the group has some challenging discussions to figure out as well, because it’s a pretty big investment if you want to build up a cardiac CT practice.

So you go “hey, do we want to upgrade our CT equipment? Do we want to add new software capabilities?” Well you have to have a confident reader. If I don’t have a confident reader to bill around to go bill the referring base and it becomes very challenging. You have a little bit of a chicken and the egg problem where groups say, “we would love to take on some more volumes. I don’t know if we have a reader who could really own this thing.” And if you want to just hire a cardiac reader, I mean, good luck. Get in line. As we talked about, this is a big, challenging market to hire in any specialty right now. And so what we’ve done is actually partnered with TeraRecon, the market leader in 3D reconstruction for Cardiac CT.

So you can actually do simulations in the cloud before you even invest in this new technology. And then you have access to all those learning cases. So once you’ve gone through it, you know, you can go back and reference that. We also then pair that with expert readers that give you feedback on your reports and usually submit test reports on actual patient cases where you don’t know the answer.

You get feedback, saying “Daniel, you missed this thing or you got the answer right but you didn’t describe it in a way that’s going to really solve the critical question for the physician. Here’s how you could have improved the sophistication of your report.” So by the end of this fellowship, this mini remote fellowship is what we call them, you have enough confidence to say, I actually think I could help us, take on some of these volumes at our group.

Brian Casey: Awesome. Well, this is great data. Are you guys going to continue doing these reports in the future? 

Deanne Heier: That’s our goal. So, we really dug into the data quite a bit. We learned a lot and there’s lots of tidbits you’ll see in the full report, just great needs around MRI education and in these new fields.

But yes, this is an ongoing survey. So every day we’re having hundreds more survey results come in. So we’re looking forward to watching those trends over time and some new data that you’ll see year over year. So first, it was more of the needs assessments, but now we’re really evaluating people’s skills, their proficiency, their accuracy and efficiency at reviewing these cases.

And so I’m excited to see all the data that’s coming out and we’re happy to share with the field. 

Brian Casey: So this is really great information. Where can people find more information about this report if they want to dig into it deeper?

Daniel Arnold: Yeah, a few places to come. One is definitely check it out at Medality.com, our website will publish the report.

We also have a podcast ourselves where we’re going to be talking with leaders about the report, different trends that they saw on the radiologyreportpodcast.com and you can find that on my LinkedIn profile. So connect with me if you have thoughts and we love to chat about them with you. 

Brian Casey: Perfect. We’ll definitely do that. So as we draw to a close, any advice that you have for radiology practices that might be struggling with education and training issues apart from just going to Medality.com and signing up? 

Daniel Arnold: Sure. So I think the real framing of the question is the challenge. I think if you ask the large radiology practice, they might not know they have a training-in-development problem. They’ll say we’ve got a labor shortage problem. They’ll say we don’t have enough trained, you know, we don’t have enough capacity of radiologists. They’ll say we want to grow our practice. We’re winning new contracts. We can’t keep up with the volumes. I don’t think their initial thought is always training. I think they think, “Oh, maybe AI can help. Maybe midlevel providers can help. Maybe we can cut off lower end volumes”, those types of things, but they’re not always thinking about training. And so I think for us, helping folks realize that training their workforce and upskilling their workforce can be a real area of capacity for them is part of what this whole exercise is about.

And I’ll just give an example. We do something called a Remote Fellowship. Through our Remote Fellowship in Neuroradiology we followed a cohort of radiologists, post fellowship, and we found that they are reading 20 additional advanced imaging neuro studies six months after their fellowship. This is on top of their existing workload. So they weren’t taking on these studies before and now they’re finding 20 additional RVUs per week. And you see that in areas like Prostate MRI.

So one of our largest customers is called I-MED Radiology. They have 500 radiologists in Australia. They’re the biggest radiology group in the country and they go “Daniel, we need ten more prostate readers tomorrow because we’re growing our service lines in all these areas.” And so, they’re looking, where a group might initially think about hiring, they’re looking at training within. And then are assessment capabilities, which we’ve shared some of those reporting on. We usually roll those assessments out within a group. And so within a group we can help identify individuals within the practice that might have skills or desire areas for new skills in the areas aligned to your growth. And so, you know, if people take anything away from this, I think it’s to try to think a little bit more about how professional development and investing in your radiologists might lead to areas like increased capacity within your workforce.

Brian Casey: Great. Some great, great parting words. Well, Dan, thanks so much. Deanna, thank you so much for sharing all this amazing information. It’s been great talking to you guys and getting your take on the world of education and training in radiology. 

Deanne Heier: Thanks for having us Brian. 

Daniel Arnold: Thank you so much for having us. Yeah, this is great.

Brian Casey: All right. Signing off for The Imaging Wire. My name is Brian Casey.

Download your copy of The 2023 Radiology Practice Development Report

Medscape’s report on physician burnout and depression, ‘I Cry but No One Cares’: Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2023, paints a desperate picture of the emotional status of physicians in nearly all specialties and builds on last year’s findings on radiologist burnout. It remains a crisis that threatens the profession and the statistics paint a picture of urgency. 

High Rates of Burnout for Sustained Periods of Time

Emergency Medicine physicians have the highest reported rate of burnout at 65 percent, which is striking because just five years ago only 45% of ER doctors reported burnout1. Radiologists round out the top ten specialties, with 54% reporting burnout, an increase over last year, when the survey showed that 49% of radiologists experienced burnout2. The other specialties in the top ten include: 

‘I Cry but No One Cares’: Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2023
  1. Emergency Medicine: 65%
  2. Internal Medicine: 60% 
  3. Pediatrics: 59%
  4. OB/Gyn: 58% 
  5. Infectious Diseases: 58%
  6. Family Medicine: 57% 
  7. Neurology: 55% 
  8. Critical Care: 55% 
  9. Anesthesiology: 55% 
  10. Radiology: 54% 

These feelings aren’t new. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents say they have been burned out for 13 months or more and the feelings are “pervasive and persistent”3. Many more female radiologists (65%) experience these feelings compared to 44% of males4. Burnout affects more than just work life; two-thirds of radiologists (67%) say burnout negatively affects their personal relationships5.

What’s Going On? 

We know that in order to maintain quality of care and patient safety we must protect the physical, mental, and emotional health of providers, which begs the question: how are these high rates of burnout allowed to be the status quo? 

Radiologists and other physician identify the same top four causes for their burnout6

  1. Lack of respect from administrators/employers, colleagues or staff: 60%
  2. Too many hours at work: 50%
  3. Lack of control/autonomy: 47%
  4. Too many bureaucratic tasks: 30% 

Providers also believe there are other contributing factors, namely7

  1. Insufficient compensation: 34%
  2. Lack of control/autonomy: 31%
  3. EHR’s: 25%
  4. Lack of respect from patients: 23%

Taken together, it’s a picture of providers who feel burned out, underpaid, and micromanaged with cumbersome technology and rude patients. It’s a perfect storm that threatens the availability of providers just when the population is aging and needing more care. 

It’s Not Just Burnout, it’s Full On Depression

Burnout significantly impacts performance and long term career sustainability. Depression impacts daily life and that’s an important distinction. Sixty-seven (67%) percent of respondents report feeling down, blue, or sad, (colloquial depression), and one quarter (¼) of physicians and radiologists report clinical depression, (depression that lasts some time and is not caused by a normal grief event or medical condition)8

Burnout is named as the leading cause of depression by 64 percent of respondents. 

Nearly half of physicians (47%) have not sought professional help to reduce burnout, but would consider it9. Thirty-nine percent said they have not sought help and will not consider it and 13% have sought help10

The taboo of depression and admitting it exists looms large for providers who say they can’t seek help because “depression says something negative about me” (51%)11. Forty-two percent (42%) say they worry people will think less of their professional abilities and 41% “fear” that the medical board/employer will find out12. Providers express great skepticism and mistrust of administration and colleagues saying; “Our medical board does not help doctors and nurses; they only punish and humiliate,” and “I don’t trust doctors to keep it to themselves”13

A smaller percentage of radiologists say they treat themselves for depression through meditation (26%), reducing work hours (21%) or speaking with administration about productivity pressure (13%)14

Is Burnout Changing Radiologists? 

Fifty-one percent (51%) of physicians and 61% of radiologists said burnout does not affect their patient relationships15. However, there are other areas where burnout is seeping in around the edges, and in a negative way16.*

*(Percentages do not add up to 100% because respondents could make multiple choices.) 

Take Steps to Combat Burnout and Staff Shortages

It’s imperative that healthcare organizations of all sizes take these skyrocketing rates of burnout seriously. It has long lasting effects that can impact patient care, quality and safety, and cause radiologists to leave a field that is already suffering from severe staff shortages. 

Protecting the health and wellness of providers is not a luxury, it is a requirement. It behooves healthcare organizations to take stock of work hours, productivity requirements, onerous EHR documentation, and staffing shortages. 

If we are to move into the future with a highly skilled workforce that delivers the best care to patients, then employers and partners must do everything in their power to find innovative solutions that will protect the mental, physical, and emotional health of essential radiologists and clinical providers. 


References

1-16: ‘I Cry but No One Cares’: Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2023 (medscape.com)  Leslie Kane, MA, Executive Director, Medscape Business of Medicine, January 27, 2023 

Hiring talented radiologists is hard. Retaining them is critical.

In a study of annual practice separation rates, researchers found 41% of all radiologists left at least one job within 4 years.[1] And it’s only getting worse.

Fewer radiologists, bigger workloads, and growing demands for imaging make this the most competitive hiring market we’ve ever seen. That’s why it has never been more important to attract and retain radiology talent to your practice.

Give your practice the competitive edge it needs with our 10 tips that can help you overcome hiring challenges, keep your team engaged, and foster growth opportunities:

  1. Offer competitive compensation packages: Radiologists are in high demand and can often choose from multiple job offers. Offering a competitive salary and benefits package can help attract top talent to your practice and make it stand out.
  2. Create a positive work environment: To attract and retain radiologists, it’s important to cultivate a positive and supportive work environment. As radiologists spend a significant amount of time at work, they value an atmosphere of open communication, teamwork, and a culture of positivity. By fostering these elements, you can create a work environment that radiologists will enjoy and want to be a part of.
  3. Provide opportunities for professional development: Radiologists want to continue learning and growing in their careers. Offer opportunities for continuing education, training, workshops, and professional development to keep your radiologists engaged and motivated.
  4. Offer flexible scheduling: Many radiologists have families and other commitments outside of work. Offer flexible scheduling options, such as part-time or remote work, to accommodate their needs and attract top talent.
  5. Invest in technology: Radiologists want to work with the latest technology and equipment. Investing in new technology and equipment can help attract radiologists who are interested in staying current in their field and keeping their skills up-to-date.
  6. Provide mentorship: Many radiologists are looking for guidance and mentorship from experienced radiologists. Provide mentorship opportunities to attract radiologists who are looking to connect with and learn from experienced professionals.
  7. Offer opportunities for leadership: Radiologists want to advance in their careers and be recognized for their contributions. Offer opportunities and a defined career path for leadership and management roles to attract radiologists who are looking for career growth.
  8. Promote a healthy work-life balance: Radiologists want to have a balance between their work and personal lives. Promote a healthy work-life balance and offer benefits that support this, such as paid time off, professional development stipends, and wellness programs.
  9. Listen to feedback: Radiologists want to be heard and valued. Listen to feedback from your radiologists and take action to address their concerns. This will show them that their opinions matter and will help retain them in the long run.
  10. Promote your practice: Radiologists want to work for a reputable practice. Promote your practice through a mix of marketing, networking, public relations, and reputation management to attract radiologists who are looking for a respected and well-regarded practice to work for.

[1] https://www.neimanhpi.org/press-releases/radiologists-job-changes-trends/#:~:text=Researchers%20found%20that%20over%20the,job%20during%20the%20study%20period.

As a practice leader, it is important to ensure that your radiologists are up-to-date with the latest industry developments and certification requirements. Continuing medical education (CME) is an essential component of maintaining and improving the knowledge, skills, and performance of healthcare providers. Managing and tracking CME hours can be a complex and time-consuming process, particularly when you are responsible for overseeing a large team of radiologists.

Medality is a Practice Development Platform that offers a one-stop-shop for CME for radiologists. With our platform, you can create CME pathways for your radiologists and enroll them in affordable training courses based on their necessary certifications and state requirements. This makes it easy for you to manage your team’s CME certification process and ensures that your radiologists are always up-to-date with the latest industry developments.

What content do you offer?

Medality’s flexible practice development platform includes more than 100 courses, 4,000 bite-sized microlearning videos, & over 4,000 integrated, scrollable cases designed to simulate a workstation.

Is your content accredited?

Our case-based education is accredited under MRI Online by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and totals more than 600 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ across the platform.

Who teaches your content?

Courses are developed in partnership with hundreds of top academic faculty, such as:

What type of credits can radiologists earn?

Learners can earn unlimited CME & SA-CME credits across 135+ courses to meet their CME and certification requirements. Medality helps to fulfill:

How are the courses and fellowships setup?

Medality offers a wide range of CME courses, covering a variety of radiology subspecialties and modalities. Our courses and fellowships are designed to be engaging and interactive, allowing your radiologists to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Can I track the CME credits earned by my radiologists?

With Medality, you can say goodbye to spreadsheets and chasing your radiologists to complete or collect their certifications. Our platform offers completion tracking, so you can easily monitor your team’s progress and ensure that everyone is on track. You can also integrate our platform with credentialing software, making it even easier to manage your team’s certifications and licenses.

Learn how Medality can help you streamline the CME process for your radiologists.

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