The New and Improved Reading Room

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By Margaret “Peggy” Kowski, CRA, PhD, DABR

At the AHRA Spring Conference in Savannah, I was able to attend Greg Patrick and Robert Junk’s presentation, “Are You Prepared for Imaging 3.0?” This particular session covered various aspects of the radiologist’s reading room with respect to the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) initiative “Imaging 3.0.” To learn more about the program after this session, I visited the ACR’s website and read a few informative articles about the initiative. Imaging 3.0 is a program for radiology process changes and the part that radiologists will play to “ensure their key role in evolving health care delivery and payment models,” focusing on quality patient care.

The speakers presented an overview of the“reading room” environment and transition due to:

  1. Changes in imaging technology (eg, film to PACS systems)
  2. Temporal differences in regulatory and fiscal policies
  3. Patient care and patient satisfaction with updates in current initiatives
  4. Expectations for the radiologist to have more involvement with the patient, technologists, and referring physicians
  5. Changes in reimbursement from a fee-for-service model to a value-based model

This session also included information about the improvements in reading rooms from various imaging sites (shown in the design phase) and in current working reading room environments. Planning these updates includes easily accessible workstations that are acoustically and ergonomically designed. Patrick and Junk presented valuable information to those who are involved or who may be involved in the future planning of reading room improvements, including aspects of work-place safety, design (optimum or central location), and budgeting considerations for this new integrated environment. In the ACR Imaging 3.0 model, the radiologist is no longer sequestered in a dark, solitary room but is a visible, integral part of the team. The expectations for high quality care include the involvement in all aspects of the patient’s care for the radiology team, with radiologists leading the charge.

It was a great talk and very educational. I was not previously familiar with this initiative, and this was a great opportunity to learn. My one question was: Now that the radiologist will be more accessible, will the interruptions break concentration, and will these distractions cause any issues with the patient imaging results being reported? The speakers did not think there would be any issues, as the radiologists will adapt to the new environment. I have not checked/searched the literature for any recent articles reporting on this but it would be something to look into; possible solutions to the limitations of the new initiative may be a consideration.

Note from the editor: Interested in attending this session? Good news; Greg Patrick and Robert Junk will be presenting “Are You Prepared for Imaging 3.0?” at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Anaheim! Early bird pricing ends on April 14, so register today.

Margaret “Peggy” Kowski, CRA, PhD, DABR is the medical physicist/epidemiologist at National Medical Physics Plus in Saint Petersburg, FL. She can be reached at

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