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Q&A with Dr. N. Reed Dunnick, RSNA president

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | November 20, 2014
Dr. N.Reed Dunnick
From the November 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

This year marks the centennial anniversary of the founding of the RSNA. HealthCare Business News caught up with Dr. N. Reed Dunnick, the 2014 RSNA president, to find out what the association has been working on over the past 12 months and what radiology as a whole has been up to, as well as his predictions for the future of the profession and health care overall.

HCBN: What moment or event during your time as RSNA president will stick with you the most?
The high respect with which the RSNA is held all over the world is most impressive. I believe this reflects the quality of our annual meeting, our journals, and the many educational opportunities available on the RSNA website throughout the year.

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HCBN: During your time as president, were there any key causes you championed? If so, where do they sit now?
The changes in health care are happening quickly, and it is important for young radiologists to become involved in the direction of our field at an earlier age. The Resident and Fellow Committee is an enthusiastic group of young radiologists that is already making an impact.

It is essential for radiologists to maintain intellectual leadership in our field and to do the research to advance medical imaging and image guided therapy. The Research and Education Foundation awarded $3.6 Million to 94 investigators this past year. Their subsequent success of attracting more than $40 for every $1 of RSNA funding shows the value of these grants.

The annual meeting of the RSNA provides tremendous educational opportunities. In order to further expand our programming, we are beginning it at 7:15 am. These programs appeal to many of our attendees and attendance at them remains strong.

HCBN: What are the biggest challenges currently facing radiologists?
American health care is too expensive, and we are already seeing a reduction in payment for clinical services. Although medical imaging is widely recognized as providing some of the most important improvements in health care, our imaging studies are criticized for being one of the major causes of the high cost of health care. Radiologists must educate others about the value of medical imaging and image guided therapy, and reorient our practices to move from volume-based to value-based.

HCBN: What do you predict will be the biggest challenge in the coming years?
It is difficult to manage transitions. We must learn how to develop a value-based practice while we are still being reimbursed on our volume-based system. We must partner with industry to develop needed tools, and we must understand the clinical settings and the role imaging plays in directing effective and efficient patient care. As radiology and the health care system grow increasingly complex, we will need to conduct more sophisticated research so that we can continue to innovate and apply our imaging and interventional tools to health care appropriately. Most importantly, we must continue to keep the patient utmost in our minds to assure that our interventions lead to an improved quality of life.

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