Developing the CAR’s new five-year strategic plan

Developing the CAR’s new five-year strategic plan

Putting members first

On June 8th, your CAR Board of Directors met in Calgary to discuss the next five years in Canadian radiology. What is important to radiologists? What drives radiology? How can the CAR, as a national association, enhance value to its members? What does the future of radiology in Canada look like? Essentially, if we could travel into the future and look at a commemorative plaque detailing what the CAR had accomplished over the preceding five years, what would that plaque say?

These were some of the core questions that fuelled discussion over three days. The answers we generated will ultimately develop into the CAR’s five-year strategic plan.

The board members’ discussions were guided by the responses received from the membership survey, sent out in May 2017. The comments we receive through surveys are extremely important because they help us identify what you, our members, value, and what you want your association to focus on. The CAR represents all radiologists across Canada, and we want each and every one of you to feel that we are working on your behalf.

Guidelines were identified as our members’ main priority; both referral guidelines and clinical practice guidelines are in demand in the community. Developing world-class guidelines is an essential mandate of the CAR, to ensure patient safety, improve patient care, and demonstrate value to our members and to referring physicians. The second priority identified by our members was a continued focus on advocacy. The work of radiologists remains misunderstood. More must be done to highlight the inherent value of radiology in patient care and the healthcare system as a whole. To this end, our strategic directives will allocate our association resources towards:

  • putting radiology and radiologists in front of policy makers
  • coordinating our efforts with the provincial associations
  • developing leaders within our association
  • helping to ensure radiologists have the optimal environment to continue to deliver excellent care to our patients.

Continued emphasis on the value of radiology

We considered economic, political and technological changes as we planned our activities for the next five years. The economic outlook in Canada calls for modest growth of, at best, 1.5-2.0%. With modest tax revenue growth, governments across the country will likely continue to look for ways to deliver care for less money. Political pressure to deliver services is expected to increase. As a result, communicating the value proposition of radiology through CAR projects like the Value of Radiology in Canada will remain a priority for the CAR. Given the increasing discussion about the role of artificial intelligence and deep learning technology in medicine and radiology, the board considered what the response of the CAR should be.

A deep and wide pool of talent focused on planning for the future

Your CAR board was highly engaged and passionate about addressing the future needs of their colleagues. The board is made up of members from across the country and from a spectrum of sub-specialties as well as community and academic radiologists. It also includes a representative from the American College of Radiology, which gives us the opportunity to call upon the vast experience and expertise of the ACR. This connection is especially relevant with regards to our advocacy efforts as the ACR has already faced many of the challenges we currently face in Canada, such as increasing government regulation.

Next steps – putting it all together for 2022

The next step in the strategic planning process is to review and refine the goals for the next five years out to 2022 and align them with the CAR’s resources. Throughout the summer, the CAR board will be meeting to refine these plans. A five-year plan will be prepared for the September 8-9 board meeting in Ottawa.

As always, we will be working hard to represent all of our members: the core of our association.

Emil Lee, MD, FRCPC
President, Canadian Association of Radiologists


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