Healthcare reform for imagers: finding a way forward now.
The changing healthcare environment presents many challenges to cardiovascular imagers. This perspective paper uses current trends to propose strategies that cardiovascular imagers can follow to lead in managing change and developing the imaging laboratory of the future. In the area of quality, imagers are encouraged to follow guidelines and standards, implement structured reporting and laboratory databases, adopt ongoing quality improvement programs, and use benchmarks to confirm imaging quality. In the area of access, imagers are encouraged to enhance availability of testing, focus on patient and referring physician value and satisfaction, collaboratively implement new technologies and uses of imaging, integrate health information technology in the laboratory, and work toward the appropriate inclusion of imaging in new healthcare delivery models. In the area of cost, imagers are encouraged to minimize laboratory operating expenses without compromising quality, and to take an active role in care redesign initiatives to ensure that imaging is utilized appropriately and at proper time intervals. Imagers are also encouraged to learn leadership and management skills, undertake strategic planning exercises, and build strong, collaborative teams. Although it is difficult to predict the future of cardiovascular imaging delivery, a reasonable sense of the likely direction of many changes and careful attention to the fundamentals of good health care (quality, access, and cost) can help imagers to thrive now and in the future.
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