Imaging 3.0: The Next Best Thing to Happen to Radiology

101 on Imaging 3.0

Imaging 3.0 is, for lack of better words, the next best thing to happen to radiology and diagnosis as such.

What is Imaging 3.0?

Imaging 3.0 comprises a network of tools and services developed by radiologists at the American College of Radiology (ACR) for use by radiologists, the medical community, and the health care system to optimize imaging at the point of care.

It describes the environment in which radiology services will be delivered in the not too-distant future. It embodies principles of appropriateness, quality, safety, efficiency, and satisfaction in a constellation of tools and behavioral changes designed by radiologists to optimize high-value imaging care in the current and future health care delivery systems.

It is, in other words, Radiology’s Roadmap for the transition from volume-based imaging to value-based imaging care, which will boost the performance of the medical sector by a substantial extent. (Fig 1)

Figure 1

Looking at the bigger picture, Imaging 3.0 is beyond all that. It is a banner for a practice model, a tool-kit for making the transition to value-based care, an advocacy tool for policy-makers to align incentives and a basis for empowering patients, all rolled into one.

What Is It for Radiologists?

Imaging 3.0 defines the radiologist’s role in patient-centered care.

Medical imaging is tied to the majority of complex episodes of patient care, placing radiologists in pivotal positions in the clinical and administrative health care team. Using Imaging 3.0, radiologists will participate actively in patient- care as an engaged member of the health care team.

It will enable them to be advocates for their patients, by assisting in selecting the most appropriate examinations and consulting with other physicians within the framework of shared decision making. They will thus empower patients to understand their many imaging options and participate in the selection of the best diagnostic imaging examination based on their unique clinical circumstances.

Radiologists’ leadership and management of imaging in integrated service environments will be imperative to enhance and optimize the current care delivery system and those that will be developed and implemented in the near future.

Imaging 3.0 resources will also be designed to help radiologists work effectively with Primary Care Medical Homes (PCMH), Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), and all medical care centers. Radiologists will be able to use Imaging 3.0 support to participate in the design, maintenance, and management of these new health care organizations to ensure that they provide and their patients receive optimum value from diagnostic imaging.

It will support general radiologists working with physicians to both appropriately resolve acute care episodes and manage patients with chronic illness, as well as, specialized radiologists delivering imaging that facilitates the diagnosis of complicated disease processes, directs complex surgical planning, and guides disease surveillance critical to effective therapy and follow-up treatment in these patients.

Greater involvement by radiologists and their advanced imaging systems and tools in coordinated care models, particularly ACOs, using support from Imaging 3.0 will yield savings shared among health care providers, health care facilities, patients, and payers and employers.

Therefore, radiologists must be ready to lead this transformation and share its benefits with patients, referring physicians, members of the clinical care team, payers, and policymakers.

What Is It for The Future?

Imaging 3.0 leverages Information Technology, redefines productivity and value and establishes relationships effectively.(Fig 2)

The transparency provided by radiologists will educate patients with a clear understanding of the results of their imaging studies, including the risks and alternatives with respect to the procedure. It will thus empower patients in decision-making.

For referring physicians, it will provide for sharing of imaging information to prevent duplicate care and for precise, reproducible and relevant reporting of results. It will create a transparent and educational decision support system without added costs.

Finally, it will provide radiologists with professional satisfaction and relevance and longevity to the specialty, integrating them into the full spectrum of patient care.

It will thus result in a network of Imaging 3.0 practitioners for collaboration and day-to-day support.


  1. American College of Radiology (ACR) Official Document
  2. Dr. McGinty, Geraldine What is Imaging 3.0 and how is it going to be Radiology’s Escape Fire? (for the American College of Radiology)

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