Originally written for publication during ECR 2020 in March and updated in June.
Thanks to the European Society of Radiology’s Patient Advisory Group (ESR-PAG), things are moving forward for the most important stakeholders in radiology, the patients.
Launched in 2013, the group’s ambition has been to bring together patients, the public and imaging professionals to collectively address and leverage developments in the field of radiology. It advocates a patient-centred approach. The group’s specific aims are to improve communication, raise awareness, improve patients’ knowledge of imaging procedures, liaise with patient groups on policy issues, involve patient representatives in strategic decisions regarding medical imaging and also ensure a human approach to the work of the European Society of Radiology.
The ESR-PAG welcomed its new leader, Birgit Bauer, an influential German blogger on multiple sclerosis and healthcare. Ms. Bauer is a digital health and social media expert, speaker, data analyst, and a journalist specialised in healthcare with more than 15 years of experience. She arranges workshops and talks on the use of social media for target groups, designs strategies for projects on social networks, performs feasibility studies and analyses consumer groups’ communication activities.
Her expertise in communications fits with the ESR-PAG’s desire to enhance its visibility through the creation of a social media team that is active on platforms such as Twitter. Each ESR-PAG member represents a patient organisation with different needs and objectives. All members expressed their expectations and provided mini-biographies that are now available on the European Society of Radiology’s website.
The ESR-PAG developed a strategy in 2019, ESR-PAG: a strategy for 2019 and beyond, which aims to put the patient at the centre of medical imaging. In the new leader’s opinion, innovation and the growing use of digital solutions in medicine entail greater patient-doctor discussions and collaboration. Ms. Bauer believes that the ESR-PAG will enable such patient-doctor communication about the use of artificial intelligence. Accordingly, the strategy explores patient concerns regarding the use of digital tools. It also focuses on the way the group can attract attention in ESR activities and in policy debates, to trigger more interest in patient representation in the radiology field.
The strategy sets out to increase membership in a way that will better reflect the diversity of the patient community, and to enable the group to benefit from additional expertise which will make it possible to optimise radiology procedures for patients. In this respect, the ESR-PAG can pride itself on welcoming a new member who represents the patient organisation Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE).
The increased presence of the ESR-PAG means that members are to draft lay summaries of ESR’s scientific publications, to make them more understandable for patients. They also take part in the society’s Annual Leadership Meeting to highlight their position.
Besides, the ESR-PAG has always participated actively in the European Congress of Radiology. Building on concrete initiatives, the patient group is involved in various projects such as EuroSafe Imaging, an ESR flagship initiative to promote quality and safety in medical imaging.
The ESR-PAG keeps expanding and maintains its ambition to keep radiologists adequately informed about patient concerns and vice versa.