September 2017

ESR publishes paper on value-based radiology

The ESR is pleased to announce the publication of its concept paper on value-based radiology. Prepared by the ESR Value-Based Imaging Working Group (VBI WG), led by its chair and current ESR 2nd Vice-President Prof. Lorenzo Derchi, the paper sets out the ESR's position on value-based trends in healthcare in general, and radiology in particular.

Established in August 2016, the VBI WG was tasked by the ESR's Board of Directors with leading the ESR's response to trends within healthcare that increasingly emphasise value-based aspects in relation to quality of care, patient safety and reimbursement systems. Within radiology, the issue of volume-based vs. value-based practice has been debated for a number of years, and with this paper, the ESR seeks to make a contribution to the discussion on this important issue and move it to the next level.

The ESR sees value-based radiology as an emerging paradigm that complements and enhaces its existing approach to quality and safety, but puts a premium on focusing on what actually matters most to professionals, patients and payers. Determining what has the greatest impact, and how to develop metrics to demonstrate this impact, is the central question of value-based radiology.

Value-based healthcare concepts focus on 'outcomes' as the cornerstone for evaluating healthcare processes, cost effectiveness and healthcare professionals' performance. What has been lacking so far is the inclusion of the diagnostic process, which constitutes the integral first part of any care cycle. The ESR argues that the diagnosis should be recognised as the first 'outcome'.

Having established a radiologist's diagnosis as an outcome, the paper goes on to illustrate radiology's multifaceted value, and to introduce a number of metrics that can be developed based on this premise.

The discussion on value-based radiology is just starting, and we hope that radiologists in Europe will actively engage in this debate to keep our profession at the forefront of healthcare in the 21st century.

The ESR concept paper on value-based radiology, published online in Insights into Imaging on August 30, 2017, is available here.

If you have any feedback on the ESR's VBR paper or suggestions for the VBI WG, please contact the ESR EU Affairs Department.

ESR VBR concept paper