ACGME reaffirms independent call for radiology is okay

They didn’t actually do that. That is my subjective interpretation as a random person of the language of the current ACGME Common Program Requirements (emphasis mine):

For many aspects of patient care, the supervising physician may be a more advanced resident or fellow. Other portions of care provided by the resident can be adequately supervised by the immediate availability of the supervising faculty member, fellow, or senior resident physician, either on site in the institution or by means of telephonic and/or electronic modalities. Some activities require the physical presence of the supervising faculty member. In some circumstances, supervision may include post-hoc review of resident-delivered care with feedback.

I think imaging has and should continue to fall under “some circumstances.” Until the machines take over, hold-out radiology programs should strive to maintain their status quos of “post-hoc review.” Efforts should absolutely be made to improve that review process and help residents learn and iterate toward improvement, but the last thing we need in the era of increasing mid-level autonomy is to have graduating residents unable to make a call.


Bobby 03.18.17 Reply

“Until the machines take over…” do you really think this will happen soon?

Ben 03.18.17 Reply

Depends on how you define soon. 30 years from now? Probably, though we’ll be working side by side long before then. (As a related matter, this is absolutely not going to be confined to radiology).

Bobby 03.18.17

Are you worried about not having a job? Should a med student avoid this field?

Ben 03.18.17

Not at all. While the speed of AI technological change will eventually happen quickly, it’s certainly not there yet now. It’ll be years before computers can even really *help* radiologists do their job consistently, let alone replace them.

People like to think that radiologists and pathologists will be replaced by machines, but the practical matter is that a lot of tasks we consider being the domain of physicians (and humans in general) are ripe for disruption. Machines will help radiologists handle increasing volume and needs for efficiency for years before quality and regulatory concerns make a fraction of the imaging workforce obsolete (even automated factories have some humans working in them).

Radiologists are working harder than ever. I personally think things are going to get better, not worse.

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