Sharpening the Saw

The annual event of the Radiology Leadership Institute brings together radiologists to interact and inspire each other — and improve patient care.sharpening the saw

More than a year has passed since the ACR announced the formation of the Radiology Leadership Institute. Since then, the institute has integrated a variety of webinars, lectures, and even MBA programs into its curriculum.

Among its most notable offerings, however, is its annual event — a multi-day course featuring world-renowned faculty from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and prominent leaders within the radiology and medical communities.

Daschle Endorses ACR Efforts

Among the many highlights of the event, a keynote address was given at the RLI Leadership Luminary Award dinner by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle — who was also one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act. Daschle endorsed ACR's efforts, especially its utilization management policy, which states that referring physicians should consult with ACR Appropriateness Criteria® through clinical decision support tools. "I can't think of a better example of redesigning and improving [health care] than the ACR imaging utilization management policy initiative. It's an excellent illustration of what it means to redesign and improve," he stated. "It ought to become an enacted law, because it is the kind of way in which to ensure that we're going to maximize value and reduce cost to the taxpayer and to the country."

Daschle also noted four areas in which national health-care policies will unfold in the next 24 to 36 months: court cases, administrative and regulatory changes, state and local laws and policies, and congressional changes. "Things will play themselves out," he said, "but it will take time." To measure success through all of the uncertainty, Daschle posited that radiologists must examine their own resiliency, innovation, collaboration, engagement, and leadership. "We need motivators. We need risk takers," he concluded.

At the dinner, the RLI Leadership Luminary Award was given to Daniel H. Johnson Jr., MD, FACR, and Alexander R. Margulis, MD, DSc, FACR. "Their exceptional experience and exemplary level of leadership in organized radiology is nothing short of inspirational," expressed Cynthia S. Sherry, MD, FACR, medical director of the Radiology Leadership Institute and chair of the ACR Commission on Leadership and Practice Development.

“I can’t think of a better example of redesigning and improving [health care] than the ACR imaging utilization management policy initiative.” — Tom Daschle

Reputable Radiologists

In addition to Daschle's keynote speech and the Kellogg faculty's presentations, the radiology leaders themselves spoke during the event's sessions. Radiology-specific lecturers included Alexander M. Norbash, MD, MHCM, FACR, Arl Van Moore Jr., MD, FACR, Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, FACR, Jonathan W. Berlin, MD, MBA, FACR, Ricardo C. Cury, MD, and Richard B. Gunderman, MD, PhD, FACR.

Norbash spoke on the topic of applied leadership. He noted an important distinction between the words "leadership" and "management." "Managers are typically responsible for a defined unit within a larger organization that sets the goals," he said. Leaders, on the other hand, set a direction, cope with change, motivate, inspire, and align people.

As practice leaders, radiologists will have the opportunity to become more involved with creating strategic alliances with their hospitals, explained Moore. The reason strategic alliances fail is because of a lack of confidence in each party's goals and objectives. To overcome these difficulties, Moore suggested, engage the other party in strategic planning.

When creating strategic or other types of alliances with hospitals, Muroff added, a radiology practice must either be or appear to be united when negotiating and must have an alternative plan if negotiations break down. He also called upon practice leaders to utilize their source of power — skills, relationships, service, and medical offices held — to negotiate the best terms possible.

Berlin continued the leadership discussion in his presentation, "The Importance of Understanding and Managing Group and Team Dynamics in Future Radiologic Practice." In the days before PACS, he noted, radiologists and their colleagues had time to chat while film was drying. One byproduct of these interactions was team building. Now, however, digital imaging and PACS have pushed away much of the incidental down time associated with generating images, leaving radiologists to work alone and without routine breaks in workflow. To remedy this, Berlin stated, "We have to change our culture." He then quoted Richard Duszak Jr., MD, FACR, saying, "A radiologist's value lies not in a report, but in meaningful and actionable information that improves patient care."

For more information about the RLI Annual Event or the RLI's other course offerings, visit For more information about the Kellogg School of Management, visit

By Brett Hansen

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