Mukherji SK, consulting ed. Yousem DM, guest ed. Socioeconomics of Neuroimaging. Elsevier; August 2012. Neuroimaging Clinics of North America; vol. 22; no. 3; pgs. 403-542; $342.
Neuroimaging Clinics of North America has yet again achieved success with its recent publication Socioeconomics of Neuroimaging. Each edition of the journal, published four times a year, consists of a series of related articles written and edited by experts in a specific field of Neuroimaging. In this edition Guest Editor David Yousem, MD, steers the journal away from its traditional clinical emphasis and delivers a comprehensive overview of the past, present, and potential future of the economic and political factors affecting the neuroradiologist.
The book is initially devoted to helping the neuroradiologist identify the group’s strengths and weaknesses, identify outside threats, and develop an effective strategic plan. Drs. Berlin and Lexa give a detailed overview of a formalized strategic planning framework using both the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) framework and the Balanced Scorecard framework. Additionally, Dr. Bello provides a review of turf issues in neuroradiology and a discussion of proposed strategies to confront and potentially overcome these issues.
Subsequent chapters are devoted to a comprehensive review of national organizations and political factors that may influence the practice of neuroradiology. Bill Donovan does an outstanding job of describing the convoluted history of the Resource-Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) with an overview of the committees and individuals that have represented the radiology and neuroradiology communities. In particular, there is an emphasis on the role of the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) in this process. This chapter is followed by clear, concise overviews of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), certificate of need (CON) programs, and a comprehensive review of the role of performance measures and evidence-based imaging in neuroradiology.
The book concludes with a discussion of practices that may be used to improve quality in neuroradiology and retain an effective competitive edge in this field in the future. Drs. Flanders and Lakhani address the role of the radiology report and discuss ways in which this could be improved upon to the advantage of the reporting neuroradiologist. Chapters on conflicts of interest in neuroradiology and medicolegal hazards are also interesting and very relevant to the field.
A physician is, by public reputation, a smart and honorable person. They are not, however, as well known for their business acumen. Socioeconomics of Neuroimaging does an outstanding job of distilling a veritable “Who’s Who” of confusing acronyms, from ACO to RUC, into a concise and well organized synopsis of the business of neuroradiology. It provides neuroradiologists with tools to identify their strengths and weaknesses, understand the factors affecting them, and develop a plan to retain a competitive advantage in the future.