May 2019

Developments in medical imaging and the rapidly evolving doctor-patient relationship encourage the European Society of Radiology Patient Advisory Group (ESR-PAG), bringing together imaging professionals and patients, to continuously strive for an even higher level of patient engagement within medical imaging across Europe. To meet growing expectations on the side of patients and radiologists, the ESR-PAG and the ESR are delighted to release the new strategy ‘ESR-PAG: a Strategy for 2019 and Beyond’ that, building on the fruitful collaboration between the ESR and the patient community, is aimed at further enhancing patient-centeredness in medical imaging.

The strategy sets out the ambition of enhancing the membership to even better reflect the wide diversity of the patient community that adds crucial expertise to the discussion on how to optimise radiology procedures for patients. Traditionally hosting patient sessions at the annual European Congress of Radiology (ECR), the ESR-PAG seeks to ensure patient issues are optimally addressed in upcoming editions. Making use of the potential of the ECR, a wider involvement of patients is sought with the aim of adequately informing radiologists of patient concerns and vice versa. While existing policy areas, with a focus on the professional-patient relationship and communication, will remain at the top of the agenda, the ESR-PAG will look into new topics that are at the intersection of patients and radiology. 

Living up the promise to explore new areas, the ESR-PAG will actively take part in shaping the debate and adapting the concept of value-based radiology towards patient-centeredness. To this end, the ESR and the ESR-PAG will join forces to ensure the patient perspective is reflected in scientific publications and ESR positions. The rapid introduction of digital solutions and Artificial Intelligence in medical imaging inevitably affects the patient-professional relationship, while the shift to digitisation also offers pathways towards patient empowerment. Exploring patient concerns with regards to the use of digital solutions, the ESR-PAG will reflect on concrete initiatives to adapt digital tools integrated in medical imaging to shared decision-making and patient empowerment.    

 Considering the radiologist’s limited visibility during the care pathway, communicating the precise role of the radiologists to patients is central to the work of the ESR-PAG. In light of this challenge, the ESR-PAG will raise its voice in ESR activities and policy debates with the aim of triggering additional interest in patient representation within radiology. In return, ESR-PAG input will feed into the activities of the various ESR bodies and committees through a system of structured patient representation. In the short- to mid-term, the ESR-PAG should ultimately be transformed into a group of committed patient ambassadors, which, jointly with the ESR, puts the patient at the centre of medical imaging.