Average Burnout

“This is gibberish, totally meaningless, a foreign language to me,”

Frustrated potential patient, Sara Stovall, in a recent New York Times story on how federally-required online price lists have fallen well short of their goal to improve healthcare price transparency.




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The Imaging Wire

Visage’s Big Partners Win
Visage Imaging added another big logo to its client list, winning a system-wide enterprise imaging deal with Partners HealthCare. Partners will make the Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging Platform the core component of the Partners Radiology Enterprise Platform (PREP), representing a key step towards eliminating decades-old legacy PACS (Agfa at MGH, GE at BWH, plus others across its network) and allowing system-wide imaging access across the healthcare provider. The Visage implementation is already underway, with planned go live at both MGH and BWH in mid-2019 (that’s really fast compared to similar-size legacy PACS upgrades), followed by a second implementation phase at other Partners network hospitals. Partners joins an increasingly noteworthy list of Visage clients (including Mayo Clinic, Mercy Health, and Yale-New Haven — all of which completed rollouts last year), suggesting that the company’s value proposition is resonating with nation’s largest hospital systems.


Radiology Reading Levels
A pair of studies revealed that most radiology reports are written for advanced reading levels, which is understandable given their writers and traditional audience, but the studies suggest that report language should be simplified as more patients and their families access them. A U Penn study (n=97,052 reports) found that radiology reports are written at a 13th grade mean level, while just 4.2% of reports were written at or below an 8th grade reading level (the US average) and just 0.7% were at or below a 6th grade reading level (the NIH/AMA recommended level). Separate research from Johns Hopkins and the University of Wisconsin looked at 110 lumbar spine MRI reports, finding that the reports were written at a 12th grade mean reading level and only one report was written at or below an 8th grade reading level (0.9%). Given The Imaging Wire’s focus on simplifying complex radiology information, this study isn’t a big shock to us.


Philips Azurion with FlexArm
Philips made a big flexibility upgrade to its Azurion image-guided platform with last week’s launch of the Azurion with FlexArm. Due to the FlexArm’s ceiling mounting, eight-axes design, and image beam rotation technology, the new configuration can image in 2D and 3D from a full array of directions, reducing the need to reposition patients/tables or otherwise shift clinicians’ attention from the patient. This all adds up to a potential to expand procedures, perform procedures with less support, and perform procedures in less time.


No Gambler’s Fallacy
The gambler’s fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy, is the mistaken belief that, if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future (or vice versa). This certainly can happen, but the good news is it may not be evident in radiology decision making, at least when reading mammograms. A team of UCSF radiologists reviewed BI-RADS assessments of 8,500 consecutive examinations and found no evidence of gambler’s fallacy, such as an increase in false positives after a streak of negative assessments.


Average Burnout
Radiologists reported about “average” levels of burnout compared to other specialties in a recent Medscape report (n=15,069 physicians, 29 specialties), with 45% of radiologists claiming burnout (vs. 44% of all physicians). The report cited high levels of bureaucratic tasks (59% of burnt-out respondents), long hours (34%), and increasing computerization (32%) as the most common burnout contributors, all of which play a role in radiology, although only 45% of radiologists worked more than 51 hours per week (vs. 77% of surgeons, 76% of urologists). This report confirms what many readers already know, that burnout is common in radiology, while providing some useful context that burnout is far more than just a radiology problem.





The Wire

  • Massachusetts General Hospital researchers found that a fluoroscopy radiation reduction program (including: monitoring, encouraging lower-dose and shorter-exposure fluoroscopy, suggesting ultrasound alternatives, and reviewing high-Ka,r procedures) helped significantly decrease high-dose procedures over eight years. Analyzing data from the provider’s dose monitoring system (n=41,585 procedures), the researchers revealed that the number of procedures with Ka,r greater than or equal to 5 Gy fell from 1.0% in 2010 to 0.13% in 2017, while procedures with a Ka,r of 2–5 Gy fell from 5.9% in 2010 to 2.0% in 2017.




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