Dr. James V. Rawson, chairman of the Department of Radiology and Imaging at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, will design and lead a new Commission on the Patient Experience for the American College of Radiology.
Rawson, who also holds the P.L., J. Luther, Ada Warren Chair of Radiology at MCG, was recently elected to a three-year term on the 33-member Board of Chancellors of the American College of Radiology.
He has lectured and consulted nationally on bringing the patient centered focus to radiology. Leading this new commission, he will help his big machinery, high-tech specialty shift its focus even more toward patients.
“We have to put the patient in the center of health care,” said Rawson, an advocate for doing just that during his 15-year tenure as MCG’s Radiology chairman. “Everything has to be about the patient,” from how appointments are scheduled to parking to care delivery to timely receipt of study results, he said.
Rawson had sick family members throughout his medical school years at Tufts University in Boston and while completing a diagnostic radiology residency at New York Medical College, and a Body Magnetic Resonance Imaging Fellowship at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University. He believes those experiences made him a better doctor and encouraged him early on to build care around the patient.
“I never was very far from the experiences patients and families were having in health systems because I was always on both sides of the table,” said Rawson. He serves on the Patient Experience Operations Committee of Georgia Regents Medical Center and works closely with the GRHealth Center for Patient and Family Centered Care to ensure patient advisors are involved in every facility and service decision made in radiology, from the patient-friendly Breast Health Center to extensive changes still underway in the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
“The challenge was and is to think about how you can improve a child’s experience coming to a strange place that is potentially scary,” Rawson said of changes being made at the children’s hospital that will include color, lighting, and child-friendly technology. Even large imaging machines, such as MRIs, for adults already have lighted overhead boxes with soothing scenes for patients to focus on as they prepare for their exam. Adult waiting rooms also now have the look and feel of a coffee shop. Review of patient satisfaction surveys are part of regular radiology faculty meetings.
Mounting evidence indicates that a patient and family focus also yields shorter hospital stays and better outcomes; in fact, hospital reimbursement from federal health insurance programs are now tied to patient satisfaction. “Patient satisfaction surveys are part of the culture of medicine now,” said Rawson, who is excited and honored to help further incorporate this approach into his chosen specialty. He plans to populate the new American College of Radiology commission with a strong cross section of radiologists, related administrators, as well as patients with experience and/or interest in enhancing the philosophy and practice.
Rawson’s other leadership roles with the American College of Radiology include serving as Chair of the Committee on Governmental and Regulatory Issues in Academic Radiology, and the Committee on Economic Issues in Academic Radiology. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American College of Radiology and just completed an 11-year term as Chair of Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System/Ambulatory Payment Categories for the college.