Accountable Care Organizations and Radiology: Threat or Opportunity?
Although the anticipated rise of accountable care organizations brings certain potential threats to radiologists, including direct threats to revenue and indirect systemic changes jeopardizing the bargaining leverage of radiology groups, accountable care organizations, and other integrated health care delivery models may provide radiology with an important opportunity to reassert its leadership and assume a more central role within health care systems. Capitalizing on this potential opportunity, however, will require radiology groups to abandon the traditional "film reader" mentality and engage actively in the design and implementation of nontraditional systems service lines aimed at adding differentiated value to larger health care organizations. Important interlinked and mutually reinforcing components of systems service lines, derived from radiology's core competencies, may include utilization management and decision support, IT leadership, quality and safety assurance, and operational enhancements to meet organizational goals. Such systems-oriented service products, tailored to the needs of individual integrated care entities and supported by objective performance metrics, may provide market differentiation to shield radiology from commoditization and could become an important source of new nonclinical revenue.
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