Society of Interventional Radiology

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

We’re Listening

By James B. Spies, MD, MPH, FSIR
SIR 2014–15 President

You’re not listening to me! How often will we say (or even hear) those words over our lifetime?

My hope is that you won’t need to use those frustrating words when talking about SIR. When it comes to your society, its mission, vision, and educational, advocacy, awareness and research efforts, we listen to our essential audience—you. This type of listening doesn’t require an advanced degree in espionage; it requires SIR to be present for you.

Your opinions matter—whether in addressing your specific needs to advancing a better understanding of IR and its positive impact on patient care. SIR’s cadre of volunteer physicians are developing data registries to meet the quality monitoring needs of you and your patients; adopting program requirements for the IR Residency and transitioning our current programs to that new standard; initiating the PRESERVE trial to study the safety and effectiveness of IVC filters currently in use in this country; and ensuring that policy makers understand the unique benefits of IR while addressing barriers in coding and payment.

In addition, we have conducted an SIR Foundation research consensus panel to provide education and insight on the process of developing performance measures relevant to IR practices; submitted 13 performance measures to CMS for review and possible addition to the 2015 measures under consideration; provided a comment letter to FDA regarding laparoscopic morcellation of fibroids and the risk of missed malignancy, highlighting the need for women with symptomatic fibroids to know about all treatment options and related risks; identified member needs related to our strategic plan and defended coverage of endovascular procedures for intracranial arterial disease with a private insurance carrier. Beyond these efforts, we are completing a new blueprint for education, exploring new methods of providing member services and began a discussion on new innovative models of practice. These are but a few instances of where we listened and acted on your behalf.

As part of our brand update process (detailed by Executive Director Sue Holzer in “Strengthening Our Story”)—we held in-depth interviews with numerous members to understand what you think about and hope for the Society, the Foundation and the specialty. What we learned was insightful, sometimes surprising and critical in defining what we’re known for, what individuals expect from us and how we can develop new ways of reaching out to key audiences.

You believe, and rightfully so, that IR showcases the very best of today’s medicine—bringing together doctor insight, professional expertise and advanced image-guided technology to solve the toughest medical problems with less risk and minimal discomfort for patients. You see the society as inclusive and critical in supporting innovation, furthering the profession and offering essential training. You value creativity, patient interaction and collaboration. While you are delivering integrated care, perception lingers among other medical professionals that we may simply be proceduralists. This is for us to address, as a member put it this way, “We have a bit of an identity crisis.”

We also listened to the many important audiences that influence our specialty. As a result of the assessment, our new brand will enable us to position SIR as the indispensable expert resource for the field and SIR Foundation as the premier scientific body dedicated to advancing IR through research. You’ll hear more about how we are fortifying “who” we are in the coming months.

I look forward to hearing what you think about any of these initiatives.

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