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The top 7 ways radiologists can avoid medical malpractice claims

Originally published by Michael Walter on Radiology Business

Medical malpractice claims are a significant source of anxiety for all radiologists. Unfortunately, decisions made in the heat of the moment, with the absolute best intentions, can still land a specialist in court.

In my role as chief medical officer for vRad, I’m intimately involved with our radiology malpractice claims and have observed commonalities among them. To quantify these observations, I recently analyzed all 220 claims made against vRad radiologists between June 2017 and October 2020—applying a detailed classification taxonomy including the alleged type of miss, study type, if the standard of care was met, if communication failures contributed, settlement, and so on.

What emerged from that data was a clear set of guidelines to help radiologists avoid the costliest and most likely cases to go to trial.

ED imaging demand skyrocketed in 2021, and many radiology providers are struggling to keep up. What's next for the specialty?

Originally published by Michael Walter on Radiology Business

The United States has faced a growing shortage of physicians for some time. This long-term trend—coupled with the pandemic and increased imaging demand throughout 2021—have led to a highly competitive radiologist employment market at a time when practices find themselves short-staffed, overworked, and in need of relief.

The growing imbalance between radiologist supply and imaging demand has affected radiology providers of all types. To learn more about the ongoing situation, Radiology Business sat down with two executives from Virtual Radiologic (vRad) for their unique national perspective of serving over 2,100 facilities and radiology groups across the U.S.

vRad Announces Largest Ever Radiologist Compensation Increase for 2022

I am extremely pleased to announce that beginning in 2022, vRad radiologists will see a compensation increase of up to 25%.

This will be the largest pay hike in the history of our practice and it will benefit all vRad radiologists. As part of a long-term reinvestment strategy in our radiologists, it is the fourth increase since 2019 and it reflects our values in compensating radiologists for the time, effort, and expertise required to advance vRad as a premier practice.

I spend nearly 100% of my shift reading images. Here's how.

Can you recall the last shift during which you spent close to 100% of your time on clinical duties?

I can. It was my last shift. I had no administrative obligations, no committee meetings, no software glitches, no running around trying to find a physician or tech—just eyes on images and voice into the mic.

Then again, every shift is like that for me. After working in several private practices, I’ve spent the last 11 years doing full-time teleradiology—backed 24/7 by a superb support team of 51 dedicated staff.

Radiologist Salary Reckoning: Who Has Control Over Your Compensation?

Radiologist salaries average $420,000 to $430,000 annually. Last year was an outlier due to COVID, when the collective figure dipped to around $413,000, according to Medscape’s latest physician salary survey.

Whether or not your salary is in line with these figures, now is a great time to take stock and ask yourself the following:

  1. Am I happy with the money I’m making as a radiologist?
  2. Am I content with the hours I’m putting in to get there?
  3. Am I even in control of my earnings and how hard do I have to work?

10 Steps to a Stress-Free Mammography Inspection

Whoever said the only things certain in life are death and taxes never faced an MQSA inspection. Federally mandated in the early ’90s and delegated to the states ever since, the process can seem like a frenetic exercise in reprimand avoidance. However, with a little rethinking and some focused preparation, you can turn the stressful day into an enjoyable experience.

In fact, watch out. You might even come to see your pre-inspection checklisting as a rewarding labor of love. After all, the beneficiaries of your dutiful i-dotting and t-crossing are deserving mammography patients.

It is with them in mind that I offer some principles and pointers I’ve come back to time and again over the 30-plus years I’ve worked in mammography technology, operations and administration. This includes the last seven years helping vRad’s telemammography clients prepare for their inspections.

How I Eliminated Worklist Pressure and Burnout from My Radiology Career

It’s been two and a half years since I realized the pressures of work had been getting the better of me for too long. I needed to make a change. The prime source of my duress was an unrelenting and constantly expanding radiology worklist.

I’d always loved my work as a radiologist. Getting things right—and fast—for patients and their treating physicians was one of the most satisfying sources of joy in my life. But 15 years into my private practice career with a large, multihospital health system, my worklist was making every day feel simultaneously monotonous and frenetic.

Rad Results: The mobile app that connects radiologists with the patient care team

Originally published by Michael Walter on Radiology Business

In radiology, it is vital for radiologists to connect with the entire patient care team in a seamless and timely manner.

Imaging providers have done this over the years through such tools as land lines, pagers, fax machines and integrating with the electronic medical record (EMR). Some radiology practices even have their own secure client portal for this very purpose.

But times are changing. Communication among healthcare providers is more complicated now than ever. Radiologists are working on a broader array of technology platforms from diverse locations, including from home. Care teams are getting larger with an increasing need for near real-time communication. The old ways of delivering radiology results are imperfect for this new era of modern medicine. One dropped connection or wrong number can cause wasteful delays and even harmful outcomes.

Finding a Mentor—or Becoming One—Can Make All the Difference in Your Career (and Your Life)

At some point in your career, if you are lucky, you find somebody approachable who’s blazed trails and navigated difficulties in ways you can model. I can speak to this because I was fortunate enough to meet a humble high achiever who not only inspires me but also took an interest in helping me along. Her guidance has made all the difference to me—personally as well as professionally.