‘Boot Camp’ for Breast Radiologists: Building Skills in Saudi and Middle East
In auto racing, a driver with better training and more hands-on experience behind the wheel is likely to chalk up more victories than someone with less practice time on the track. Of course, a more advanced and powerful car also can help. It’s the same in radiology. The better the training and the more experience that a radiologist has looking at diagnostic images, the better his or her diagnoses and resulting outcomes for patients.
That’s why GE Healthcare has taken a proactive approach to support oncology capacity building in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East by teaming up with the American College of Radiology (ACR) and King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center to bring the first-ever ACR-led “imaging boot-camp” training for breast radiologists in the region.
The first workshop under this program will focus on breast imaging such as mammograms, a topic that is particularly relevant, since breast cancer in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole is the most common type of cancer affecting women, accounting for approximately 22% of all new cancers in women in Saudi Arabia and 24.4% across the GCC.
The three-day Breast Imaging Boot Camp to be held in May will provide up to 40 practicing radiologists in Saudi Arabia and Middle East with an intensive hands-on experience in mammography and breast ultrasonography. They will develop their skills in interpreting and evaluating mammography studies through hands-on interpretation of more than 240 digital screening and diagnostic mammograms and other medical images. In addition, interventional workshops will be available in breast ultrasound and stereotactic biopsy.
Participants will be guided toward developing their perceptive skills with direct assistance from a panel of expert radiologists. After successfully completing the workshop, participants receive an ACR certificate, a prestigious distinction. The Breast Imaging Boot Camp is being convened by Dr. Irfan Mamoun, Chairman of the Department of Radiology at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center in Jeddah.
The partnership between GE Healthcare’s Education Solutions and ACR is the first of its kind to involve ACR in the region and will roll out an ongoing series of boot camps and fellowships for radiologists across the region. Vendor-neutral, each boot camp is run by ACR’s experts and operates under the ACR Education Center, which provides these courses primarily in the United States.
The training partnership reflects GE Healthcare’s commitment to building skills and capabilities among healthcare professionals in the region as a partner to national health authorities working hard to boost healthcare capacity to address growing populations and increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Designed specifically for Saudi Arabia and Middle East, the boot camp will focus on the hands-on solving for rare cases using approximately 240 pre-selected digital screening and diagnostic mammograms, Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) and whole breast ultrasound cases at digital workstations.
GE Healthcare has been supporting training and healthcare worker development in the region for years as part of an ongoing US$100 million GE Healthcare investment in skills development, which since 2013 has been delivering technical, clinical and leadership training to more than 10,000 healthcare professionals in the region, with more than 1,000 courses and 50,000 hours delivered.
Some specific examples:
- A $100 million commitment announced in February 2015 for the development and delivery of localized education and training in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States regions through 2018.
- The 2013 opening of the Healthcare Skills and Training Institute, launched in partnership with King Fahad Medical City in Saudi Arabia, which has trained more than 6,000 healthcare professionals.
- Providing 150+ hours of training for 100+ medical and support staff, combined with local disease awareness efforts, has resulted in the breast cancer screening of more than 20,000 women as part of the Saudi Ministry of Health’s National Breast Cancer Screening Program, a project supported by GE and the Ministry of Health.
- A GE Healthcare agreement with the Egyptian Ministry of Health to boost the country’s healthcare technology management system, which includes plans to establish a Biomed Center of Excellence in Egypt.
- Across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) GE Healthcare has trained 400+ hospital staff in change management and performance improvement methods across 20 hospitals, resulting in reduced surgical waiting lists by up to 58% and a 47% improvement in operating room utilization.