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A Message from the President of the CAR

Dr. James Fraser - June 2011

 

Dr. James FraserI am extremely pleased to announce that the CAR has enjoyed yet another successful Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM). Our collaboration with the Société canadienne-française de radiologie was a tremendous success and helped us to garner a record number of attendees at the meeting, held in Montreal from April 28 to May 1, 2011. One of the resident attendees of the meeting, Dr. Stefanie Lee, noted that: “It was my first time at this conference, and I quite enjoyed it. All the sessions were interesting and interactive, and I was impressed by how much of the programming was geared towards residents. The practice and feedback from the hot seats were especially valuable, as we can definitely benefit from more simulated orals earlier in our training. Thank you for all of your efforts in putting these together, and I'm looking forward to attending [ASM] again in the future!”

Congratulations to the members of the working groups and of the staff for putting together such a memorable meeting!

At the meeting, I assumed my role as President of the CAR. While I am excited and honoured to be your president for the next two years, I am well aware of the challenges we are and will be facing. This reality is somewhat daunting but I believe we are better positioned now than we ever have been as a national specialty organization.

As our governments struggle with the financial realities of coping with the debt realized as a result of stimulus spending over the last number of years, there is huge financial pressure, particularly in the area of healthcare spending. Even the public, who have always placed healthcare spending as a top priority, are realizing that we are rapidly approaching a point where our healthcare spending is no longer sustainable. This, in combination with the additional public realization that our healthcare system is neither truly patient centered or efficient, will drive healthcare reform. I recently attended the CMA/Maclean’s town hall meetings on the future of healthcare reform in Canada and was struck by two themes from the discussions: the first is that the public is starting to realize our healthcare system is broken and no longer a shining example of a successful publicly funded system; the second is that change will not likely be driven top down by the federal government but from the bottom up by innovative groups providing efficient truly patient-centered and outcome driven solutions, which can be adopted as best practices.

Change for our profession will be inevitable. How we influence this change however remains uncertain, but with change also come opportunities. Charles Darwin, the great English Naturalist once said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” (en.proverbia.net). With the end of the present health accord looming (2014) how will all this unfold and how can Canadian Radiology best respond to these anticipated changes? What role should the CAR play?

I am fortunate that as I take on the role as the new president of the CAR, we are also in the midst of a strategic planning process which provides for me valuable feedback from leaders in Canadian and International radiology, our membership, provincial associations and our corporate partners to name just some of the groups surveyed. While it will be up to the board as a whole to chart our strategic direction for the association over the next three to four months, this information has helped to solidify my vision for the direction the CAR should be moving in to best position ourselves for a strong future of radiology in Canada. Advocacy is the common thread from the feedback thus far. This advocacy needs to occur at a number of levels.

With government we must work to convince both politicians and administrators that we are the experts in imaging and our profession is taking a lead role in insuring appropriate use of resources through our guidelines and appropriateness work and quality as demonstrated through our accreditation programs and Standards work. The CAR has played a leading role in developing national and international guidelines on the appropriate use of imaging thanks in large part to the work of Dr Martin Reed; however, we have had limited success getting these incorporated into widespread use by our ordering physicians. We need to develop these to the point that they can be presented to governments as a radiologist-lead solution to not only justify the relatively high cost of spending on imaging but also to address the growing concern of radiation exposure to the public.

We need to advocate on behalf of our patients and members, for access to state of the art medical imaging equipment no matter which province or territory they reside in. We also need to work hard to demonstrate that we are leaders in assuring quality and safety for our patients with further development of National Imaging Standards and expanded accreditation programs. As Drs. Forster and Munk have pointed out in their recent CARJ editorial Accreditation: Problem or Opportunity?, “It is better for the Canadian radiology community to play an active role in drawing up accreditation guidelines; patient care will be substantially enhanced by our input as the imaging and intervention experts.” They also comment: “Those in other disciplines of medicine who are interested in performing radiologic procedures or interpreting imaging studies, therefore, would be expected to adhere to the same high standards that will be expected for radiologists. In a similar way, teleradiology, therefore, should not be performed by practitioners who are not adequately accredited by Canadian jurisdictions.” This is particularly important as the practice of medicine is changing rapidly with blurring of traditional boundaries of surgery, medicine, imaging and intervention. And while this is occurring, there is no question that just about every specialty is eyeing diagnostic imaging, wanting a piece of the pie.

What can all of us do to help position radiology for a strong future? We need your continued support as your national association and we need your help to recruit non-members and volunteers. We also all need to work hard to be perceived as an integral member of the healthcare team; we know we are, however, we have to do what it takes for our medical colleagues, governments and patients to recognize the important role we play. A simple way to help in this effort is to ensure we are visible and accessible to the public and our referring colleagues. We need to engage and educate our radiology trainees and our young radiologists in this area and we must support and encourage radiology research to help maintain our ownership of new and emerging technologies. Further suggestions on how to do this can be found at www.mypatientconnection.com.

On my part, I promise to advocate on your behalf both to government and the public and work towards better communication and coordination with our provincial associations to meet the many challenges we are facing. It is critical that we work collaboratively with the CAR playing a supportive role developing policies and standards at a national level, that are in sync with the needs of the provinces.

I believe we are blessed to be part of such an exciting and stimulating profession as radiology. I have confidence in the future of Radiology in Canada given the many very talented and dedicated volunteers working hard on your behalf as well as the well trained and motivated staff at the CAR office.

I look forward to building a strong future for Canadian radiology together.


Jamie
President, Canadian Association of Radiologists

I want to hear your thoughts and suggestions: Contact me at jfraser@car.ca


There are many ways that you can directly help secure a bright future for Canadian radiology: support the CAR by becoming a member, contribute to the development of guidelines and standards by becoming a CAR volunteer, become a member of a CAR working group, or help the Canadian Radiological Foundation carry out its mission by providing a donation. For more information on how you too can help secure the future of radiology and to become a member of the CAR, contact us at info@car.ca or by calling 613 860-3111.

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