A guide to groups

How to run a successful radiology special interest group. A collection of tips and tricks for group leads and facilitators.

Group Membership

The Yorkshire Imaging Collaborative (YIC) Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are a fundamental component of our operating model, emphasising the importance of everything we do being clinically driven and guided by the experts.

But we acknowledge that those experts have frequently received little or no training on how to guide an expert group towards a common direction or goal. This is especially true in a collaborative model, where there is no means of enforcement or jurisdiction over members.

Goals of Special Interest Groups

  1. Build good cross site relationships between specialists with a common interest
  2. Enhance clinical networks which exist across hospital and Trust boundaries
  3. Reduce problematic variation in radiology provision between postcodes
  4. Encourage common standards (imaging protocols, reporting standards, patient advice, procedural documents)

Minimum Viable Standard (MVS)

Variation in the fabric of services makes standardisation of procedures and protocols a more difficult problem, prone to conflict. The aims are not to depersonalise departments and services, but to achieve a minimum standard deemed acceptable but there to be built upon.

For example: The Musculoskeletal SIG hold a meeting to discuss the use of MRI for second line imaging of lipomas. They conclude that MR should include fat suppressed and non-suppressed images in at least the axial plane. A hospital chooses to build on this MVS by using skin markers and including tangential sequences.

Minimum Viable Standards are a sensible approach because they bring the lowest common denominator up to a clinically acceptable standard deemed by an expert panel, whilst leaving room to exceed and add personalisation to those already there.

What makes a good special interest group?

After running SIGs for 2-years we have identified some techniques and styles which result in good meetings and happy groups:

  • Celebrate quickly achieved wins, good motivator
  • Encourage the sharing of best practice through non-critical discussion
  • Make sure relevant information is available for the meeting
  • Stay focussed - Stay on topic - follow the agenda
  • Listen to meeting feedback
  • Be good followers, help the chairperson
  • Hold face to face meetings interspersed with virtual ones

Being a good special interest group lead

Leadership is an artform, but when it comes to chairing a SIG or any other meeting of specialists we think we’ve picked up a few top tips:

  • Keep sight of the YIC common goals with regards meeting content
  • Pay due attention to the process of running a good meeting
  • Quick roundtable introduction
  • Review achievements
  • Discuss key agenda topics (One major, one minor per meeting)
  • Set actions and follow up on those
  • Have the next meeting in sight (topic, time, target)
  • Be an open minded, warm and inclusive chair
  • Keep them on topic!