Imaging’s Unsung Heroes

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I have the best job in the world. In the past month alone, I visited 10 outpatient imaging facilities as part my ongoing relationships with clients all across the country. It is an incredible privilege for me to see so many differing operations throughout the year and to be involved with their leadership and development strategies. This month I have been witness to one successful grand opening, one magnet quench, several site tours, strategic planning sessions, and more.

On one recent visit I had one of those “ah-ha” moments and was surprised by the fact that it had not necessarily occurred to me in this same way many years ago. Nevertheless, what is probably obvious to anyone in this business is that the true unsung heroes of our outpatient radiology world are the center managers—those people probably have the hardest job of all. They are in the line of fire and accountable for each and every detail of their imaging center. They most often are taken for granted in the big picture discussions about the global view of the practice and its market position and mission.

You need the toilet paper changed in the rest room? Call the center manager. Got an angry patient that needs to vent? Call the center manager. Dictation is backed up and the lead just quit? Call the center manager. A last minute marketing lunch is scheduled with a big referrer and no radiologists are available? You’ve got it: the center manager is called on to pinch hit for the docs

Today’s busy center manager wears many hats. From equipment maintenance and negotiations with vendors, to managing the differing cultures of the technical staff and the administrative team, to understanding the art of avoiding the dropped call in scheduling, to decisions on how best to deploy the sales team, these all around “franchise players” are the ones that get things done and make things happen. They define the business and they do not get enough credit for all that they do. Just think about how this particular job has changed over the past five years or so. Today’s center manager needs to be well versed in the modern world of customer service, technology, finance, medicine, marketing, leadership, operations, team building, janitorial services, and parking space management.

As we move into the aftermath of the DRA and its affect on the business side of our practices and IDTFs, keep in mind the people who will be in the best position to make lemonade out of lemons, those who will keep the lights on, the restrooms in good working order, the equipment up and running, and the referrals coming your way. Make sure that they are empowered to make things happen and that they know and understand how they fit into the vision of the organization. Give them the tools they need to succeed and my guess is that you will see yet again the resourcefulness of this unique and all-important player in the imaging profession. It is definitely not the glamour job in an imaging center, but it just might be the most important one.

I would also like to mention in a small aside that we are approaching our first year of publication of imagingBiz.com, and I am very pleased that it has found its niche as a different type of information source. We are providing you with a digest of the most relevant articles related to the business of outpatient imaging in a quick and easy read that has received a tremendous acceptance. Please send it along to a colleague and make sure that if you have not signed up yourself, that you do so soon because we will eventually send it out only to those who have specifically asked to continue to receive it at no charge.

Finally, I welcome your comments and suggestions for what you think we could do to add more value to the newsletter. Please send any comments directly to me at ckp@imagingbiz.com.