I am confident with the direction that the CAR is heading and the progress that our association is making. Canadians have become more aware of the value of radiology and the role that radiologists play in the healthcare team. The work that is being done behind the scenes propelled medical imaging into the headlines for the 2019 federal election. Foundational advocacy work with all the federal parties, at many levels, led to the pledge from the Conservative Party for an investment of $1.5 billion in medical imaging equipment; one of the most memorable promising highlights in 2019. This announcement was a clear indication that our message is resonating with key decision-makers and has initiated action. Over and above this, it demonstrates the CAR’s commitment to patients as we advocate for improved access to quality imaging care in Canada.
Much of our time has been focused on advocacy and innovation. Our board, with the support from our CAR staff, spent hours working with the Conference Board of Canada to produce the Value of Radiology Part II report, which supported our key priority: a federal investment in diagnostic imaging equipment to reduce wait times and save lives. Our AI Working Group helped innovation in radiology. Under the leadership of Dr. An Tang (Universite de Montreal), Chair of the AI Working Group, in collaboration with the Canadian Heads of Academic Radiology (CHAR) were part of a consortium of industry and academics who were awarded the Strategic Innovation Fund grant from the federal government for a total investment of $48 million. These two initiatives helped to establish the CAR as leading subject matter experts on medical imaging and innovation in radiology in Canada.
We also made significant progress in patient care and education. In only a short time we launched the CAR’s RAD Academy. What started off as an introductory education platform grew into a world-class online learning platform for radiologists. With over 150 educational offerings online in combination with our annual scientific meeting, our members can easily attain their Royal College certification requirements. Currently, there are 2,600 members registered and over 550 active users.
We successfully published new guidelines and our board, in collaboration with the Point of Care Ultrasound Working Group, led by Dr. Tanya Chawla (University of Toronto), took a stand in identifying the discrepancies in care. We are continuing to work with various stakeholder groups to develop a universal national standard for POCUS in Canada.
As we approach 2020 there is still a lot of work to do. Over the course of the next year, we will keep the momentum going. I thank the membership for their support and confidence. We have a strong team and are headed in the right direction. Awareness of the CAR is spreading. When I meet with members, they mention that they saw the headlines of the pledge to invest $1.5 billion in new medical imaging equipment. I also hear from members that they were not aware that the CAR was as involved as we are in policy, advocacy and guidelines development.
Going forward we will be working to capitalize on our advocacy efforts. We will regroup to meet with MPs and be back on Parliament Hill this winter, driving our priorities on medical imaging equipment, clinical decision support (CDS) and artificial intelligence. We begin these meetings by telling the story of radiology and especially radiologists – your story.
We continue to travel to all provinces and hear from our members on how we can best serve them. Burnout is an important priority and we will work to help secure the resources required for improved access to diagnostic imaging for patients while lightening the load for our members.
In meetings with members from across the country over the last year, it’s been a pleasure to get to know you better. It’s clear that radiologists in Canada share many of the same challenges as well as aspirations for the future. Wishing you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.
Dr. Mike Barry
President, The Canadian Association of Radiologists