August 2012

Challenging Times in Imaging
By Jim Knaub
Radiology Today
Vol. 13 No. 8 P. 4

You’ll hear plenty about the challenges facing radiology administrators at AHRA’s annual meeting in Orlando this month. Here’s one incoming AHRA president Carlos Vasquez, MSM, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, shared with me during a recent interview: “We work in a technology-driven field. If we don’t invest in that technology, we tend to fall behind—not only on the equipment but also in keeping up with the clinical outcomes.” Appearing on page 22, the exclusive interview discusses this and other issues facing radiology administrators as Vasquez begins his year at the helm of AHRA.

Speaking of AHRA, stop by booth 122 when you’re in Orlando and share your challenges (and any solutions). It’s always good to meet Radiology Today readers.

Also in this issue, consultant David Myrice offers his thoughts on how radiology groups can combat competition from national teleradiology groups and radiology management companies. His advice: Make sure your group is doing its part (and perhaps a little more) to maintain good hospital relationships. He doesn’t mince words why it’s important: “Groups that open the door to a teleradiology provider before dealing with internal or relationship issues essentially are introducing an agile and aggressive competitor to their most important customer.”

Honestly assessing the need for some “hospital relationship therapy” and participating if needed is one smart thing a radiology group can do. It’s not a panacea, and Myrice doesn’t make that claim, but it’s not just a platitude. A contact in the imaging industry—who works for one of the national companies that competes with traditional groups for hospital contracts—told me candidly that in one-half of the radiology groups they displace, economic cost saving drives the switch. However, in the other half, my contact says the hospital is struggling with legitimate service issues. It’s simply true that radiology groups have more competitors than in the past; good service and relationships are smart tactics to make those competitors less attractive alternatives.

In our women’s imaging section, Kathy Hardy writes about the impact of breast density notification laws on radiologists. Connecticut, Texas, New York, and Virginia have laws on the books and legislation is pending in 11 more states. While many in the community anticipate benefits in such laws, others see risks—and most see more confusion in breast cancer screening and diagnosis.

Enjoy the issue. Hope to see you in Orlando.