Community radiologists play an important role in the delivery of medical imaging. At the 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting in April, the CAR will host an exclusive roundtable discussion with veteran radiologist Dr. Bill Anderson of Alberta specifically geared towards radiologists who work in a community setting.
In Alberta, Dr. Anderson noted that community clinics are responsible to more than 55% of all imaging that takes place in the province through AHCIP funding. In his nearly four decades of experience working in both community clinic and urban hospital settings, Dr. Anderson says community clinics provide an outstanding level of care.
“What I have learned is that the community clinics can provide a high level of excellent imaging in a very efficient way, with easy and timely access for patients. The image archival system in Alberta is provincial in nature and all images and reports are integrated into the patient file and can be reviewed as relevant priors or directly to the physicians through a portal. All patient reports are immediately available to patients through the provincial portal upon completion.”
Dr. Anderson has been able to transition between different clinical settings during his career and says that the nature of each clinical setting comes with its own appeal and set of challenges.
“In a hospital setting, there is more support and duties can be shared among a larger body of colleagues. Also, there are more opportunities for individuals with different passions to lead in various positions. With different challenges all around, boredom is usually not an issue. Community radiology allows for a more predictable lifestyle,” continued Dr. Anderson, “but the type of work may either be limited in certain clinic practices, while in others, the generalist needs to become more of a master in many areas, which can be challenging.”
For radiologists who have only ever experienced working in an urban hospital setting, Dr. Anderson says there is a common misconception that clinical practice is “easy work” and the challenges of working in a busy practice located in a smaller community are often misunderstood.
“The business side of radiology is not easy, but it does allow for people with that type of personality to shine. Recently there has been ‘offloading’ of outpatient work from the hospitals for budgetary reasons and many cases in the community clinics are much more complex today than previously. Even more so in the post-pandemic era.”
Dr. Anderson notes that the complexities of large hospital settings are partially the reason community clinics have begun to absorb outpatient work.
“Efficiency and convenience for patients are things that most hospital practices struggle with due to budgetary issues. Staff shortages, hallway waiting while more critical inpatient and ER patients are looked after, parking, way finding, exposure to pathogens, and many more issues may make it a challenge for the routine outpatient work to be performed efficiently and effectively.”
Are you interested in participating in an exclusive roundtable discussion with Dr. Anderson for community radiologists? We want to hear your experience working in a community setting – your challenges and solutions – to help facilitate the conversation. Tell us your story to win a complimentary registration to the CAR 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting. This contest will be limited to 10 community radiologists across the country.