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Radiology Partners and three universities establish radiology research center

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | January 15, 2018
Business Affairs RSNA
Radiology Partners has partnered
with US universities to create a
research institute dedicated to radiology
Radiology Partners (RP), a physician-owned radiology practice, has teamed up with three U.S. universities to establish a research institute for the practice of radiology in health care.

The Radiology Partners Research Institute (RPRI) is now open as a clinical innovation lab for programs and research dedicated to advancing the specialty of radiology and enhancing its value among patients, hospitals, providers and payors through medical imaging. Collaborating players include Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Chicago Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“As we began longitudinal studies, measuring the impact our best practice recommendations (BPRs) have on patient outcomes, we realized that our academic colleagues are particularly well suited to partner with us in establishing these long-term clinical research studies and helping us design new projects,” Dr. Jay Bronner, chief medical officer at Radiology Partners, told HCB News. “Coincidentally, as our country transitions to a payment system based on value, it's critical that we, as providers, find ways to better serve patients while also being conscious of cost considerations.”

Areas of focus in the medical imaging programs include quality of care and consideration of expenses. The institute is continuing RP’s work in developing and implementing BPRs to reduce variability, decrease waste and improve patient care.

RP has also partnered with software development companies to produce proprietary natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, to automatically identify and evaluate compliance of the BPRs and has developed a software tool to interface with voice recognition dictation systems, enabling the system to detect the presence of findings and offer BPRs to radiologists at the time of dictation.

Bronner says the use of this technology will especially come in handy for complex clinical algorithms in imaging, and will help scale BPR adoption.

“Through RPRI, the collaboration between academic medical centers and a private practice like Radiology Partners will help showcase the value of incorporating evidence-based best practices on patient outcomes and resource utilization,” he said. “We have been able to demonstrate that by applying our specific recommendations for the management of abdominal aortic aneurysms, we can save up to 300 lives per year. The type of data provided by longitudinal outcomes studies may open the door for radiologists to become more active managers of care and assume a lead role defining value metrics and standards for our profession.”

RPRI officially launched in the fall of 2017 with the focus of its projects on evidence-based BPRs, radiology-led care coordination, the transition from peer review to peer learning, and machine learning applications, among other topics.

Some of its research was presented at the 2017 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and has been accepted for publication in journals, such as the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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