'Anti-imaging bias' haunts radiology industry

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Editor's note: This Fierce exclusive interview is from our newest online publication, FierceMedicalImaging. For more of the latest radiology and imaging news, subscribe to the weekly newsletter here

Continuous innovation has been key to the success of the radiology industry over the last four decades, according to Bruce Hillman, M.D. (pictured), a professor of radiology, medical imaging and public health sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. However, in a session at the recent session at the recent Radiological Society of North America annual conference in Chicago, he said an "anti-imaging bias" continues to loom over the industry.

"There's been this perfect storm of events that has been injurious," Hillman told FierceMedicalImaging in an exclusive interview. "The 2005 Deficit Reduction Act; the likely institution of technical fee cuts related to the Affordable Care Act; the worldwide recession; an unsustainable growth in healthcare costs in which imaging has been pinpointed as a contributor; the rise of radiology benefit management companies; and radiation phobia: all of those things have combined to repress imaging utilization."

Hillman talked about potential solutions to those problems, as well as innovations he expects to see in the future.

FierceMedicalImaging: What has created this "anti-imaging" environment?

Bruce Hillman: Radiologists are fearful about further cuts to technical fees, fearful they will lose positions in hospitals, fearful of competitors like hospitals and corporate radiology companies--and they are retrenching. Young radiologists aren't getting the kind of job offers they used to get, and as the boomers eventually start to retire, the question is whether there are going to be radiologists out there to replace them. There is a worry that the specialty is becoming less attractive to medical students.

FMI: What solutions do you see on the horizon?

Hillman: First, we need to support innovation. The innovations of the future must be of a certain type if they're going to be successful.

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