SIR Loss Leaders

SIR was a blast this year. Being in NOLA for the first time since Katrina was a treat in itself. Where else can you get gumbo for breakfast? The IO sessions were packed with people and energy. Weeks later I still have people asking me about the hot button issues debated in the lively and sometimes heated Tumor Board and new Meet-the-Professors sessions. Gary Siskin’s innovative “In the Trenches” program covered fundamentals of many cancer-related palliative procedures in ways that were practical and full of neat tips and tricks.

Part of the SIR experience is attending the Dotter Lecture and related Plenary Session on the current and future state of Interventional Radiology.  I was disappointed to yet again listen to industry and clinical leaders opine on the gloom and doom that pervades IR.  Moderator Jim Benenati, noting the widespread cynicism regarding the future of interventional radiology, observed that threats to our livelihood have been ubiquitous from our field’s inception, and urged IR’s not to lament what has been lost, but to meet both old and new threats with renewed expertise and a commitment to proactively innovate more effective models of care. 

When I gave the Dotter Lecture three years ago, I bemoaned the doom and gloom theme that pervades so many high-level presentations by leaders at SIR, particularly the endless teeth-gnashing about turf loss. Like Jim, I have always had a clinical practice, and it was mostly vascular disease in the beginning. By my fourth year out of Fellowship, I was the #1 referring physician to the Penn IR division. Anyone coming out of an IR Fellowship is as equipped to build a practice as someone coming out of a medical or surgical fellowship. Everyone has to hang out a shingle, build relationships with referring physicians, then do a great job taking care of patients. A recent hire in my group built a complex PAD practice from nothing in less than two years. Another partner is growing our DVT and venous insfficiency practice. There are tons of patients out there; no one can take your own patients away from you.

Over 80% of the audience said that IO is their biggest growth area in the immediate future. Building strong clinical practices, whether in oncology, womens’ health, vascular disease, or MSK/spine/INR, is the key to an enduring future for IR. 

Come to WCIO, learn how to become part of the birth of a new clinical discipline -- and don’t be disheartened by the Loss Leaders.

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