Michael Kasotakis, MD

It is with great honor and humility that I accept the presidency of the MRS 2016.   Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that the presidency is like a glove, and it takes  the shape of the hand that is put into it.  And when a big hand is put into it, it stretches the glove, stretches the office.  As president, I have the opportunity to put my hand into the glove of a society that was founded in 1921 with over 94 past presidential hands that have made the MRS what it is today.  I want to personally thank and congratulate Dr. Gaurang Shah on an outstanding presidential year where truly the glove of leadership has been stretched.  We have been nationally recognized with accolades such as the ACR’s prestigious overall excellence award in 2013 and this year winning the quality and safety award. We represent over 1,400 members across the state.  We are considered one of the most active and innovative societies in the country.  

As president I will commit to promote the core mission and values of the MRS.  That is: to be the premiere radiology society in the country and to serve patients and society by empowering our members to advance the practice, science, and professions of radiological care.  In these challenging and changing times of healthcare it is imperative that we have strong leadership coupled with active engagement of our membership to constantly and consistently make our relevance known to our stakeholders and most importantly our patients.  

I wish to highlight three areas that I feel represent current and near term challenges but also opportunities within radiology.  That is: the continued commoditization and corporatization of medicine, the rising epidemic of physician burn-out, and a future of increasing automation and technology where deep or machine learning or artificial intelligence could potentially compete for our very jobs.  

As we have seen, the corporatization of medicine has led to the disintermediation of the radiologist for the sake of profits often at the expense of quality care. I am proud to build upon the initiative that the MRS has endorsed as we become the first society in the country to legally fight and defend Michigan’s learned profession clause which states that healthcare facilities need to be physician owned and operated.  Here in Michigan we have several examples of non-physician owned, for profit imaging centers that employ physicians usually at the expense of quality and control.  The MRS has committed money and legal representation to fight this at the state level, the result of which will surely be of interest to radiologists and physicians across the country. 

Physician Burn out is at all time high the results of which are multifactorial but ultimately stemming from a loss of physician control and autonomy.  Every year the field of medicine loses one large medical school class equivalent to suicide.  We are feeling increasing pressures on productivity, quality reporting, 24/7 coverage, turn-around times, the merging and consolidation of our medical practices, and outsourcing of imaging, all of which is contributing to burn out.  Although we cannot reverse this trend, we need to focus on managing the transition as we move from a fee for service model to a more value based system.  The MRS with the resources of the ACR will work to bring speakers and consultants who are well versed in the topic of burn out.  We hope to become a go-to resource where our membership can seek help and guidance as we continuously transition in healthcare to a more quality based model and away from fee for service.

Finally I predict that within the next 5 to 10 years, the fusion of big data coupled with deep/machine learning algorithms will have potentially disruptive effects in our field of medical imaging.  There is no doubt in my mind that imaging has and will continue to play an even larger role in the science and practice of medical care.  We are just beginning to peer into a world of personalized and precision medicine coupled with the power of imaging to screen, diagnose, and monitor disease and treatments.  It is up to us to help define and shape that future and solidify our role as imaging professionals who espouse the virtues of Imaging 3.0 where our value goes beyond the read. But rather than a threat, we should see emerging technologies an opportunity to enhance our productivity and provide better patient care and outcomes.  The MRS will keep at the forefront of this emerging technology where we the physicians will control the technology rather than the technology controlling us.  We have officially recognized “automation and technology” in our five year strategic planning initiative.  In the short-term the MRS will help serve as a central resource for vetting Clinical Decision Support tools for groups throughout the state of Michigan.  

In summary, this will be an active and exciting year for the MRS.  I look forward to working with Shannon, our executive board, and our committees to bring action to the year’s agenda.  We have many new and ongoing projects including a new and improved website, enhanced teleconferencing and CME abilities, expansion of our social media footprint via Facebook and Twitter, expansion of our membership campaign to group practices, ambassador liaison visits to small and large group practices across the state, increased engagement of our radiology and radiation oncology residents, increasing involvement of radiation oncology and physics colleagues, and continued legislative and advocacy efforts at the state and national level.  We look forward to hosting exciting and innovative medical conferences including: our breast imaging conference this fall, our first ever combined society meeting with our Florida colleagues this August on Amelia Island, and our second “MRS UpNorth” conference to be held fall 2017.  

In conclusion I urge everyone to stay engaged and take the time to show up to our MRS meetings.  Meetings allow for the exchange of ideas and new ways of thinking, and when ideas are exchanged, action and new thought is given birth. Thank you for the privilege, honor, and opportunity to serve as your MRS President.

Michael Kasotakis, MD
Michigan Radiolgoical Society