It is an honour to serve the radiology community and to represent the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) on the national stage. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to learn from my predecessors, Drs. Gilles Soulez, Michael Barry, and Emil Lee during my term on the Board, and I plan to build on their success and accomplishments.
The CAR is working on your behalf on many levels to help our members be more successful in their practices. Advocacy continues to be a top priority for the CAR. While we have had success getting our message out and raising awareness for the importance of medical imaging, there is still more work to be done in terms of addressing the health human resources (HHR) challenges in radiology departments and integrating new technologies, such as e-referrals and AI, to help improve access for patients and enhance workflows.
Engaging with Key Stakeholders
I have had the opportunity to connect with many key stakeholders since assuming the presidency. I was fortunate enough to meet the Federal Minister of Health in Toronto and engage the Minister on the importance of radiology and highlight some of our priorities. I have also connected with provincial radiology societies to discuss our future collaboration in terms of advocacy and the advancement of radiology in Canada. Other opportunities have included meetings with national radiology organizations like the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists and Sonography Canada. Additionally, I have reached out to several members at CAR events to discuss the value of membership and to communicate the CAR’s goals and objectives for the next five years.
Access Over 170 Education Offerings
Education continues to be of the utmost importance. The CAR is focused on providing prime opportunities for our members to collect Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits through our Annual Scientific Meeting and on our online learning management system, RAD Academy. Within this platform, that is free for members, radiologists have access to over 170 offerings ranging from section 1 to section 3 credits, all Royal College accredited. If you are not a regular consumer of RAD Academy, we encourage you to check it out and start earning valuable CPD by emailing [email protected].
Improving Patient Care
Guideline development is what the CAR is best known for. We have developed over 25 practice guidelines in the last 5 years. Thanks to the work of our volunteers and subject matter experts, our clinical practice guidelines have become a trusted source across the country. We are also making significant progress on Clinical Decision Support (CDS). The aim is to package these enhanced referrals electronically and to make them available to referring health practitioners across the country. The goal is to ensure that patients receive the right test at the right time. We are in the middle of our development for Canadian referral guidelines and have established a strong partnership with stakeholders including the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Nurse Practitioners Association of Canada. A huge shout out to Drs. Paul Pageau and Ryan Margau for their leadership, and to our volunteers who have spent countless hours drafting these guidelines. Our aspiration is to push for incorporating CDS systems in all jurisdictions within Canada, as reflected in our advocacy work such as our Pre-Budget Submissions and our Days on the Hill.
Innovation in Radiology
Integrating new technologies into radiology continues to be a priority. During our inaugural Radiology Directors Meeting (April 2023), we had the opportunity to connect with radiology directors from across the country. HHR and workflows present a significant challenge. Introducing innovative solutions such as AI and information management will help to address these issues and improve productivity within radiology departments. We are also moving forward with our Radiology Artificial Intelligence Validation Network (RAIVN). RAIVN will focus on post-market review of applications approved by Health Canada. This will ensure AI solutions that are integrated into radiology departments and clinics meet an established standard of functionality.
Raising the Bar on Quality
The CAR has made great strides on the quality of medical imaging in Canada. Not only do we have an extremely successful Mammography Accreditation Program, we have been expanding our accreditation into different modalities. We have a pilot project facilitated by Niagara Health under the leadership of Dr. Ryan Margau. Thus far the outcomes have been positive, and we are hoping to integrate this into other institutions across the country. We are also in the process of creating a National Lung Screening Program, developed in collaboration with the Canadian Society of Thoracic Radiology (CSTR), a CAR Affiliate Society, and supported by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC). This program is geared towards general radiologists. There is a significant need across the country to help improve outcomes for Canadians with lung disease through early detection and the CAR is helping to address this need. Phase one and two of the QUEST Lung Cancer Screening has been launched and we expect to offer a case repository by the fall of 2023. In addition, we are also working with CPAC and our breast radiologist network to develop education to help decrease the abnormal call rate for mammography in Canada.
Building Membership Value
Beyond advocacy, guidelines, accreditation, and education, the CAR continues to grow our affinity offerings for members such as preferential packages from STATdx, TD Insurance, and Bell, significantly reducing the cost of your subscriptions.
As your President, I thank you for your support and your engagement with the CAR. This teamwork involving our community, combined with the outstanding work of our staff allows the CAR to progress and be a valuable resource for radiologists in Canada. I would encourage my radiologist colleagues to become involved with the CAR. There are several opportunities to join working groups and standing committees. For more information about these opportunities, reach out to [email protected].
We would like to thank our members for their continued support and recognize the many radiologist leaders who to take time out of their hectic schedules to support initiatives that will have a significant impact on patient care in Canada.
It is due to the support of our members, our Board of Directors, and dedicated CAR staff that we are amplifying the voice for radiology in Canada.
Dr. Ania Kielar