Summary: Leadership, collaboration and insights from nations leading the way in imaging practice are just a few of the features in what promises to be a rich and educational ECR 2020 congress. HealthManagement.org spoke to Prof Boris Brkljačić, President of the European Society of Radiology for the full overview.
How is ECR supporting ‘Management and Leadership’ in radiology?
There will be ample focus paid to the topic of ‘Management and Leadership’ in radiology and this can be seen with the wide variety of sessions that we have prepared at ECR 2020 which concentrate on this subject. The sessions focused on management and leadership look at the topic from various different perspectives, including AI, clinical practice, cross-functional collaboration and so forth. They will take place under the umbrella of various session types including workshops, coffee and talk sessions, research presentation sessions and much more.
With the advent of AI, cross-collaboration is increasingly important in imaging and not just amongst radiology disciplines but across hospital departments. How are ECR and the ESR promoting the important topic of cross-collaboration in radiology? How do you see this area developing in the future and will team leaders need to develop more skills?
Cross-collaboration is an important aspect of modern clinical practice and it’s a factor that no radiologist can overlook. This is especially true nowadays with the advent of new technologies, including artificial intelligence. Creating effective cross-collaboration channels not just among radiology disciplines but across hospital departments, presents a clear benefit to all those involved, mainly due to faster and more efficient workflows. Effective cross-collaboration will also help to maximise the clinical benefit of all the tools that radiologists have at their disposal, namely AI. We are also looking at this topic closely during ECR with sessions that focus on artificial intelligence and translations to clinical practice, AI & clinical decision support and much more, so stay tuned!
How will multi-disciplinary teams in radiology develop in the near-term future?
Looking at the current situation, I think it’s accurate to say that multi-disciplinary teams are already developing. I also think that there always has, and always will be opportunity and need for multidisciplinary collaboration between radiologists and their counterparts in other fields of medicine. In particular, I think there will be ample opportunities for the development of multi-disciplinary teams with other specialties such as cardiology, urology, surgery and so forth. Much of this multidisciplinary collaboration stems from the big value that radiologists bring with their highly accurate diagnostic modalities that clearly contribute a huge benefit when it comes to treating patients. In this sense, radiologists will always play a vital role in the treatment of patients. As an additional point, I think that a synergistic and integrated use of different diagnostic pathways is essential in modern healthcare. For many years now, we have organised multidisciplinary sessions at ECR; this year there will be a session on breast cancer (with a radiologist, a pathologist, a surgeon and an oncologist from the same hospital), a session on liver transplantation in HCC patients (with a radiologist, a gastroenterologist, and a surgeon from the same hospital); a session on developmental dysplasia of the hip (with a radiologist, a paediatrician and a paediatric orthopaedist) and a session on epilepsy (with a neuroradiologist, a neurologist and a neurosurgeon).
Which are the ‘ESR meets’ countries at the 2020 congress sand why did you select them?
One of the big privileges of being the ESR president is that you can choose your ‘Meets’ Countries. For the first time, Canada will be part of the ‘Meets’ programme. The country has a very strong and well-organised national radiology society and many excellent radiologists. I know that the programme that the Canadian Association of Radiologists will provide, very diverse with lectures on AI, gender roles, stroke and traumatic bowel injuries, will be very interesting for ECR participants, and we are very happy to host them at ECR.
In addition to this, after twelve years, Israel will once again feature as an ‘ESR meets’ country. Israel has been somewhat underrepresented so far at the ECR; it is a land of scientific innovations, sometimes referred to as the start-up nation, and many things that we use in everyday radiological and medical practice were invented in Israel. It has a very active and well-organised radiology association who have created a very attractive programme. Both Canadian and Israeli presentations will deal with innovations, technology, and artificial intelligence.
My home country, Croatia, was already an ESR meets country in 2009. To add further perspectives on radiology, I have decided to include other neighbouring Slavic countries, including Slovakia and Slovenia, neither of which have ever been ‘Meets’ countries at ECR. There are many similarities in the healthcare systems of these three nations, so I am certain that the debate will be very interesting and insightful.
With breast care one of your speciality areas, what diagnostic developments are interesting you most?
The diagnostic developments that attract my attention relate to breast cancer as I believe that we will witness a change in the strategy for breast cancer screening in the future. One big change will come in the form of abbreviated MRI protocols. Regular MRI offers greater sensitivity in comparison to mammography when it comes to breast cancer screenings. However, this imaging modality is currently deployed only in high-risk cases. The issue is, that currently around 20% of breast cancers goes undetected by mammography screening, especially in cases of high breast density.
On a more positive note, abbreviated MRI protocols can radically change the current paradigm as they enable us to perform an examination within 5-10 minutes. The benefits of this are clear; reduced costs and greater accessibility for all patients. Currently, MRI is showing very promising results in this area and abbreviated MRI protocols will make the whole procedure more cost effective and accessible.
I am personally also very interested in breast ultrasound, and in my department, we run a project called “Sonoelastography and MRI in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.” Funded by the Croatian Science Foundation, we are investigating the use of sonoelastography in multiple areas.
ECR 2020 features topics like lung cancer screening, AI, interventional radiology, stroke diagnosis and treatment amongst others. What will be new this year and what do you hope the main take-aways will be for delegates in each of these areas?
In true ECR fashion, our scientific programme offers an excellent array of sessions that cover all fields of radiology and in this sense, they are suitable for beginners as well as very advanced professionals. It is true that lung cancer screening, AI, interventional radiology and stroke diagnosis and treatment are currently hot topics which will all receive substantial coverage during the congress.
On top of this, I would like to highlight other developments, such as the return of the ‘In Focus’ programme, which, this year is all about children and their healthcare needs. Additionally, for the third year in a row, the Cube will present Interventional Radiology in a novel and very exciting way, never seen before at any other meeting.
As every year, the Grand Opening will be a magnificent entrée to the congress, and in 2020 it will have a beautiful equivalent at the end, called ‘Grand Finale’, on Sunday. This Grand Finale will feature a colourful fusion of inspirational talks, musical performances and visual spectacles with plenty of surprises along the way. The highlights of the session will come from three extraordinary young speakers sharing their thought-provoking personal stories.
Last but definitely not least, I am very proud to announce that we will welcome three extraordinary plenary speakers at ECR, namely Ralph Weissleder, James Thrall Professor of Radiology and Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Bernd Montag, CEO of Siemens Healthineers and Nenad Šestan who is the Professor of Neuroscience, Genetics, Psychiatry and Comparative Medicine at Yale University, and Executive Director of the Yale Genome Editing Center.
I would like all delegates to feel inspired after ECR 2020, particularly after hearing the stories of the three amazing young speakers and their truly inspiring experiences, going the extra mile to achieve their goals and visions. With the ‘In Focus’ programme I would like to get participants to think about and discuss important issues related to children and their wellbeing in the context of healthcare provision under challenging circumstances. Above all, I would like all delegates to fully immerse themselves in this year’s scientific programme and for ECR 2020 to be remembered as a truly unforgettable experience.