With the warmer weather upon us, for many of our members the focus is on summer vacations. I hope that you have been able to get away from work to recharge your batteries. I would like to thank our members for their continued support and recognize the many radiologist leaders who have taken time out of their hectic schedules, even through prime vacation season, to support and lead 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 have amplified the voice for radiology in Canada. The CAR has had many accomplishments over the last few years despite the challenges of the pandemic. Our members have demonstrated resilience and stepped up to lead in many areas including the development of clinical practice guidelines, the growth of the CAR Journal (record impact factor of 4.186) as well as new research projects such as the Medical Imaging Lifecycle Equipment analysis and Improving Radiology Services in Northern communities. We have helped create four affiliate societies (CanSPR, CETARS, CSTR and CSAR) and grown our membership within these groups exponentially. We have also seen a massive increase in our trainee networks through the diligent work of the Resident and Fellows Section and the Medical Student Network.
Advocacy – Radiologists Being Seen More, Heard More and Better Understood
Advocacy remains the number one priority for the CAR. Working with our provincial and national partners, we have seen a significant amount of momentum around diagnostic imaging. In the last year there has been great progress in getting our message out for improved access to medical imaging services in Canada. Most recently in July, in the coverage surrounding the Premiers’ Meeting (Council of the Federation) there were several references addressing the need to enhance access to tests, procedures and healthcare services for Canadians. This is building on the announcement that the Federal Minister of Health made in relation to Bill C-17 at the end of March 2022 regarding an investment of $2B in new funding to better manage the backlog for surgeries and diagnostics. We will continue to advocate for more funding for medical imaging equipment and the development of a health human resources strategy for radiology in Canada. We have connected with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists and Sonography Canada to coordinate our messaging and help strengthen our ask. We believe that having multiple voices supporting the same priorities will ensure greater success.
The CAR also became the leading source of information for the global contrast shortage. Working with Health Canada’s Drug Shortages Division, provincial health authorities and industry, we can provide our members with regular updates on the situation in Canada.
Coinciding with the International Day of Radiology, the CAR will be holding its “Day on the Hill” on November 14-15. Radiologists from across the country will be meeting with MPs and senior officials to advocate for more resources.
Get Rid of Less-Than-Optimal Referrals and You Will Have My Membership for Life
On a cross-country membership tour, one of our Board members was told, “Get rid of less-than-optimal referrals and you will have my membership for life”. Clinical Decision Support (CDS) is progressing well. Working with other medical specialty societies, the CAR has developed several Canadian evidence-based guidelines and will work towards completing these over the next two years. 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.
CAR’s Continuing Professional Development – Growth as Well as Development
While I am aware that there are many competing CPD offerings, the CAR continues to invest in Canadian radiology education as a central CAR member benefit. RAD Academy, the CAR’s online learning management system, has many new accredited offerings that are available to all members. 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. 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. Phase one of the QUEST Lung Cancer Screening has been launched and we expect to offer phase two this September.
Always Working to Provide More Membership Benefits and Value
Beyond advocacy, guidelines, accreditation, and education, the CAR continues to grow affinity offerings for our members such as preferential packages including STATDx, TD Insurance and Bell, significantly reducing the cost of your subscriptions. I recently saved 30 percent by switching to TD Insurance for my home and auto insurance.
Our members can expect a hectic fall season. The CAR will be focused on evaluating our priorities to map out our strategic planning for 2023-27. As your President and an engaged volunteer, I thank you for your support and your engagement with us which is continuously increasing. This teamwork involving our community combined with the outstanding work of our staff, led by Nick Neuheimer, allows the CAR to continue progressing more than ever to be a valuable resource for radiologists in Canada. I would encourage my fellow radiologist colleagues to become involved with their national association. The CAR is currently accepting expressions of interest from members in both the Atlantic and Prairie regions to join the Board of Directors. There are also several opportunities to join working groups and standing committees. For more information about these opportunities reach out to [email protected].
Some things are certain in life, like the return of winter in Canada. In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy the rest of the summer with family and friends, and that you may draw on happy summer memories in preparation for the winter ahead. Which reminds me of the words of French philosopher Albert Camus,
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”