Will 2015 be the year radiology makes its own luck?

The single most interesting and, in retrospect, forward-looking comment I heard at RSNA wasn’t spoken during the several sessions and press conferences I attended, enlightening and fascinating as those were. It didn’t rise above the drone of the exhibit halls, exciting as so many of the product displays and booth discussions proved to be.

No, for me, the single most memorable observation expressed at the venerable organization’s 100th scientific assembly and annual meeting was uttered at a casual evening reception.

You don’t really set out to be a leader per se, an up-and-coming CEO of a growing radiology-services vendor told me over hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. But when circumstances and hard work conspire to place you at the top, he said, just do your best for your company, your customers and your workers—and don’t be surprised when luck takes care of the rest.

I’m not using quotation marks because I’m paraphrasing the CEO, having neither jotted the conversation verbatim in my reporter’s notepad nor recorded it. This was, after all, after hours.

But I digress. Luck? Did this proven leader really credit his success with luck? I asked him to clarify. Yes indeed, he said. Success has a lot to do with luck, he reiterated, and luck has a lot to do with success.

I found the comment all the more intriguing for its humility.

I used to play racquetball with another humble guy—one who, game after game, found a way to defeat me even when I knew I was outplaying him. In countless rematches the ball would bounce just his way, just when he needed the break and in just such a way that he could not possibly have intended but I could not possibly return. Was he uncannily lucky? I used to think so. I don’t think so now.

Perhaps, on the doorstep of a new year, with the 100th RSNA gathering under its belt yet fresh in its mind, the medical specialty of radiology and its attendant vendor community would do well to stare down its hydra-headed “opponent”—the commodification of radiology, the rise of pay-for-performance, the expansion of punitive regulatory oversight, the calls for transparency in pricing and procedures, and on and on—and recall the wisdom Ernest Hemingway famously imparted to his son Gregory:

“You make your own luck, Gig.”

Dear reader, may you do just that in 2015. 

Dave Pearson is senior writer with imagingBiz.