E1029. The Aging Radiologist: A Fine Wine or Sour Grapes
  1. Gabriel Meshekow; Cooper University Hospital
  2. Kevin Thompson; Wetchester Medical Center / New York Medical College
  3. Lillian Chiu; Wetchester Medical Center / New York Medical College
  4. Perry Gerard; Wetchester Medical Center / New York Medical College
  5. Jared Meshekow; Wetchester Medical Center / New York Medical College
Medicine is a complex profession that requires a superior level of knowledge, skill, as well as high cognitive function to ensure safe and effective patient care. The subject of practicing senior physicians, and the care he/she renders, has been debated for many years. It is common knowledge that physicians achieve the cumulative expertise and experience that stems from years of practicing medicine. While the effect of age on a physician’s competency level is highly variable, numerous reports exist demonstrating a potentially dangerous decline in clinical proficiency and lack of adherence to contemporary standards of care in physicians aged greater than sixty-five years. It is known that normal cognitive aging begins a decline as early as the middle adult years. What more, no governmental and/or medical societal mandates or restrictions exist to regulate potential quality and safety issues. Limited literature exists as this concept applies to the fields of radiology. Radiology is unique in that while it is not physically demanding, the field is ever evolving with technological advancements which improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease. While these advancements are hallmark of radiology, they can also act as the Achilles heel of aging radiologists. In this project, we review the number of issues affecting aging radiologists, discuss checks and balances in clinical practice, as well as review suggestions for practice improvement.

Educational Goals / Teaching Points
1) Discuss the normal aging process as it applies to the clinical practice of radiology a. Visual Acuity b. Hearing c. Cognition 2) Review of how other Safety-Conscious Industries Approach this Issue 3) Discuss Methods for Ensuring Clinical Competency in Radiology a. State Licensing b. Hospital Credentialing c. Local and National Membership Organization i. Initial and/or Maintenance of Certification ii. Peer Review / RadPeer d. Continuing Medical Education Requirements 4) Suggestions for Practice Improvement a. Departmental Support for new imaging modality instruction/education b. Modality Restrictions Older Practicing Radiologists c. Hospital or Society recommendations for Peer Review for Physicians of a certain Age d. State and/or national oversight.

Key Anatomic/Physiologic Issues and Imaging Findings/Techniques
Not Applicable

Radiologists possess a great knowledge and skill that is integral for the effective diagnosis of disease as well as for providing high quality multiciliary patient care. Radiologists must fulfil the fundamental tenets of medical professionalism as well as take the appropriate steps to practice safely at any age – with an emphasis on ensuring quality, patient centered care. Ultimately, the effect of aging and the clinical practice of radiology will remain a controversial subject and will eventually require a higher degree of oversight.