You get the email… There is a urology interdisciplinary conference on Tuesday at 7 AM, and you are responsible for showing 4 cases with multiple radiological studies. You’ve never done this before! How do you know which images to display to prepare for interdisciplinary conferences? Is there a logical order to the pictures? Will I be able to answer the questions posed by the clinicians in the room? Your heart beats a bit faster as you contemplate the issues.
This situation is common for the beginning radiology resident. Frequently, radiology programs thrust first-year radiology residents into their first interdisciplinary conference without much preparation. However, even though initially nerve-racking as an experience, these conferences are an excellent opportunity to get to know your non-radiological colleagues as well as a way for them to find out about how knowledgeable you are! Learning how to prepare for interdisciplinary conferences pays off big time!
Presenting for interdisciplinary conferences is slightly different from preparing for typical conferences. Your audience will be a bit more sensitive to mistakes that the presenter makes because decisions can often directly affect patient care. Therefore, today I will discuss some of the common questions that arise when you encounter your first interdisciplinary conference to make you feel more comfortable. These topics include how to sort through what is essential, what to discuss, and when to ask for additional help to prepare for your first solo interdisciplinary conference as a radiology resident. So let’s get started…
Selecting Cases To Prepare For Interdisciplinary Conferences
When going through a case, clinicians like to have the relevant initial diagnostic images and the subsequent follow-up images. So, it is imperative to get the correct history for the primary diagnosis. When you check the computerized records, make sure to find all studies that support the principal diagnosis. Then, you will need to look for the earliest studies of this sort. If the diagnosis is breast cancer, find the first mammogram and breast MRI present on the record. If the topic is metastatic colon cancer, look for the first CT scan showing the metastatic disease.
Next, you need to find the first post-treatment studies. So, find the next series of relevant images. If the topic is a retroperitoneal bleed, see the first series of post-intervention cases, such as the post embolization ct scan. These will usually be the second from the beginning.
And, then finally, look for the most recent relevant studies. If this was a case of metastatic colon cancer, find the most recent CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis to show the final consequences of treatment or lack of treatment.
Selecting Individual Images
There are two ways to show images during a presentation for interdisciplinary conferences. First of all, you can go to the source images in the PACs system and flip through the pictures directly. Or, you can select individual images and display them on a PowerPoint presentation. I would recommend doing the latter. Why? , You leave less interpretation by the audience, and you will get a lot fewer questions regarding things that you are not sure about during the presentation.
Additionally, the clinician will less likely ask about information and findings that are irrelevant. For instance, you are less likely to get a question about that borderline enlarged node on the corner of the film that was not mentioned but is present on the PACs display. By choosing the PowerPoint format, you have much more control over what is displayed, and it keeps the discussion centered on the essential topics.
Also, there is less chance for technical issues. PACs tend to go down when you most need it since it relies on an internet connection. A PowerPoint presentation is much more reliable since you do not have to rely upon the internet.
Also, when choosing individual images, make sure to look for the relevant information without the fluff. For instance, if it is a metastatic colon cancer patient, take those pictures only of the liver metastasis without the volume averaging artifact. If the case is a retroperitoneal bleed, show only those images containing the bleed without other distracting findings on the film. And so on…
When it is your turn to discuss a case, keep the discussion targeted. You want only to start discussing those issues that are relevant to the clinician’s question. If they need to know if the metastatic colon cancer lesion is better, worse, or unchanged, provide the clinician the relevant information such as the measurements. If they want a differential diagnosis, offer it. But do not go off on a tangential vector! If you go off-topic, clinicians tend to get angry because of the limited time you will have during the morning to discuss patient care and other cases. So, please don’t do it!
Also, try to look up relevant information on the topic during your preparations before participating in the conference. If you want to look like a star, gain additional knowledge on the relevant issues so that you can answer those questions intelligently and with authority. Then, you will establish an excellent reputation for yourself during the conference. Imagine how you will sound describing the features of colon cancer metastasis if asked rather than muddling through and stuttering.
When To Ask For Help?
So, you’ve gathered your studies and selected your images. When is appropriate to ask your attending for some assistance? Here are some specific circumstances: You have never rotated through a particular modality, and you are presenting those images during that case. You are not sure that the report description is the same as the information on the images. You do not understand the disease entity issues they will discuss at the conference.
I always like to know about any questions the resident may have before completing preparations for a conference. Better to be safe than sorry!!!
How To Prepare For Interdisciplinary Conferences!
Preparing for your first interdisciplinary conference can be stressful, especially if you do not have much essential guidance. Hopefully, this summary will allow you to make more sense of the necessary preparations involved. Good luck with your next conference!