Strategic planning: a roadmap to the future.
Before the 2000 presidential election, a Saturday Night Live sketch featured an imitator of President George W. Bush saying the word “strategery.” While this was later attributed directly to President Bush as one of his many mispronounced words, the term became widely popular.
As I thought about the evolution of the word and what it has come to mean, it struck me that this “Bushism” has endured for more than a decade, emphasizing the overall importance of the strategery, or strategy, not only in government and politics, but in almost everything we do.
The importance of strategic planning for radiology is also emphasized in the radiology literature. There are 34 articles in the JACR® with the words “strategy” or “strategic” in their titles, and when the search is expanded to include the abstract and keywords, the search yields 630 articles. That’s a lot of information for us to process, and it highlights the complexities of changing practice patterns, ongoing health reform, and the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act. All of these challenges and more continue to create uncertainty. In today’s health care climate, it is more important than ever for us to think strategically and use our collective knowledge to plan our futures.
Professional organizations, which exist for many reasons, can help practices navigate these potential stumbling blocks. Such organizations should provide opportunities for professional and leadership development, facilitate networking, and include a mechanism for influencing public policy. But as we face challenges in our professional lives, it is my hope that radiologists will also turn to their professional organizations for the best information about the issues facing the specialty. We can tap into this collective knowledge for guidance about how to best position our practices to face the changes ahead.
It has repeatedly been said that for radiologists to continue to be successful, we will need to provide even more value to our patients, referring physicians, and health systems. The role of our professional organization should be to provide radiologists with the information, guidance, and tools that will empower them to do just that. As your new chair of the Board of Chancellors, it is my pledge that the College will devote the necessary resources to ensure we meet that need.
Among the members of the ACR Board of Chancellors and Council Steering Committee, we have assembled a team of individuals with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the issues facing our specialty. Their skills have been invaluable in defining and providing solutions and guidance for issues related to their specific areas of expertise. However, the issues facing our specialty are becoming more complex and span far beyond a single expert’s specific area of knowledge.
Furthermore, it is exceedingly unlikely we will be able to find a one-size-fits-all solution to these increasingly complex problems. While some “magic bullets” may come to light, the solutions are likely to be as complex as the problems themselves and will require us to collectively pool our knowledge. In adapting to the changing environment, we will use this collective expertise to work more strategically and will collectively inform radiologists about the issues that face our practices and provide some potential solutions.
As we tackle these issues head on, we are updating the ACR’s strategic plan. Like any large organization, the College has periodically undertaken internal strategic planning. However, the current iteration assesses how the ACR should respond to the new challenges facing our specialty while continuing to be efficient with our resources. I have heard this referred to by many radiologists as making sure we are keeping our eyes on the ball. So, as part of the process, we have assembled members from both the Board of Chancellors and the Council Steering Committee to ensure our membership is confident in the College’s strategic mission and our ability to deliver on that mission.
In closing, it is important for me to thank all of those whose work makes the College a great organization. The hundreds of College staff members and the thousands of member volunteers work diligently on our behalf to make our specialty better for our patients and ourselves. Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, the former ACR Chief Executive Officer, led the ACR for the past decade, and we are all grateful for his service. Through friendship, mentorship, and counsel, Harvey has touched many lives in a positive way. But even those of you who don’t know Harvey benefited immensely from his strong leadership.
I also want to thank William T. Thorwarth, MD, FACR, for agreeing to take on the role of the next ACR CEO. The next decade may be the most tumultuous decade for medicine and radiology in our lifetimes, and I am certain Bill’s strong leadership will benefit all of us greatly. Lastly, I’d also like to thank my predecessor, Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, for his strong leadership as chair of the Board of Chancellors over the past two years. Paul has been involved with the College leadership as a member of the Council Steering Committee and Board of Chancellors for almost two decades, and we have all benefitted from his knowledge, wisdom, and skill.
I consider it an honor and privilege to serve as your chair for the next two years. All leaders in organized radiology have the responsibility to be good stewards of the resources with which you as members have entrusted us. That is a responsibility I take very seriously.
In the current environment, it is always important to disclose our conflicts of interest. So while I have no financial conflicts to disclose, you should know I will be a zealous advocate for our specialty and our patients. I have a fervent belief that because of our collective knowledge, organized radiology and the College in particular can make an important difference in our professional lives.
By Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, Chair