Rebranding the Radiologist

Unveiling Radiologist 2.0

Disclaimer: The article is a summary of lecture given by Dr. Geraldine McGinty on the same topic at the 50th annual Hampton Symposium held at MGH. Please visit the link to view the full lecture

Radiology as a brand is a story that started with the likes of Marie Curie and Becquerel. Since then, radiology has developed and grown to be what it is today- a unique meld of medicine and technology. With several consequent technological inventions, radiologists are melding the anatomic and the physiologic and outputting them in ways that are meaningful to those reading them.

A brand- the identity of a company, product or service- is more than its logo. Its more about the interaction. There’s often a disconnect between what the brand thinks it is doing and what those that interact with the brand thinks it is doing. In fact, 80% of CEOs believe their products are differentiated, and 8% of customers agree with them. That is exactly what is happening today with radiologists as a brand (Fig 1).

Figure 1

The fact of the matter is, brands are powerful. They can elicit a positive or negative feeling in people and influence them to a large degree. People clearly have a raging misconception about radiologists, which is clearly linked to their brand.

Although technology like PACS has always helped radiologist read images remotely, improving productivity and information obtained, it has begun to render radiologists as “invisible”. According to some, radiologists are also facing an extinction of sorts at the hands of new and emerging technologies in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence has already found several areas in healthcare to revolutionize starting from the design of treatment plans through the assistance in repetitive jobs to medication management or drug creation.

Thus, it is evident that radiologists must undergo a significant rebranding process. The best way to do this is by switching to a more patient-centric track, providing more opportunities for radiologists to directly interact with patients, telling them their contribution to the diagnosis. The earliest of the initiatives was taken by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) via their Radiology Consultation Clinic which puts radiologists in direct contact with patients to explain their imaging and answer their questions [1]. The program aligns well with the widely acclaimed Imaging 3.0 initiative, which forms the beginning of the rebranding exercise.

Ever since, there have been several steps in the right direction, such as the weekly conferences given to patients and their family members to discuss scan results and potential treatment courses at the Elkhart General Hospital’s Thoracic Oncology Clinic, [2] and several other Imaging 3.0 case studies.

Today, we’re starting to see radiologists in leadership roles, such as Vivian Lee, Dean and CEO of University of Utah and Garry Choy, Chief Medical Officer at Tesla Motors. These are roles that may be filled by internists, but today radiologists are taking up these roles which is improving radiology as a brand. The opportunities are endless, soon radiologists may even occupy prime positions in the government.

Radiologists must also strive to create a brand for themselves within their respective departments and institutions, to show they are both valuable and care about the goals of the institution. The personal brand is how one chooses to interact with the community, connecting and reaching out to patients and thus helping to amplify the reach of the brand. Having a social media presence also does no harm. It gives the potential to propagate research papers and hence the value of what radiologists do.

In conclusion, radiologists must adapt and innovate around emerging technology and disruption in the healthcare industry. Working harder and smarter will help project radiologists as innovation and imaging experts as well as patient advocates for population health and screening.

References

  1. Hampton Symposium 2017. 01- 2017 Hampton Symposium 12pm . [ONLINE] Available at: http://externalmediasite.partners.org/Mediasite/Play/a18fc530fa284e27bf663e722cefe2b61d.
  2. Direct to Patients — American College of Radiology . 2017. Direct to Patients — American College of Radiology. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.acr.org/Advocacy/Economics-Health-Policy/Imaging-3/Case-Studies/Patient-Engagement/Direct-to-Patients
  3. 1. Patient Forward- The American College of Radiology (2017). Patient Forward- The American College of Radiology. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.acr.org/Advocacy/Economics-Health-Policy/Imaging-3/Case-Studies/Patient-Engagement/Patient-Forward

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