Hand in Hand

Taking your practice through big changes requires collaboration.


May 2015

During the ACR 2015 session “Working Synergistically to Succeed Now and in the Future,” radiology practice leaders discussed tactics for leading a radiology practice through times of potentially radical change. Among the speakers’ key takeaways was bringing the entire practice on board but through negotiation and cooperation rather than through force. Follow these steps to lead your team through new territory and unfamiliar challenges.

• Be receptive. Although you may be the CEO of your practice, you cannot get anything accomplished without the support of your team, noted Alicia Vasquez, former president of the RBMA, whose practice went through a divisional merger. Also, be sensitive to individual needs, adds Michael A. Bohl, MHA, also a former president of the RBMA. Bohl took the time to have as many conversations with his staff as possible, even stopping by for one-on-one chats so that their opinions could be heard. As a result he was able to more effectively pursue a joint venture with another health system.

• Make Sure You’re Prepared. Jonathan Breslau, MD, FACR, noted that it’s important to realize your members may oppose your opinion, rather than accepting it just because you are their leader. Instead of issuing an ultimatum, be willing to discuss the problem and its potential outcomes. He added that if you come to a meeting with an ultimatum without any data to back it up, people will not willingly follow. Your team will fracture into opposing sides, grinding the process to a halt. Respect the opinions and arguments of those who oppose you, or you may find your talks breaking down quickly.

• Be open to new things. One of the biggest challenges for Vasquez’s practice was helping staff feel comfortable with new members of the practice as a result of the merger. However, the situation improved as they provided opportunities for the groups to get to know each other. “Once we understood them as a group, we weren’t afraid anymore,” she said.

• Break down those silos. Alan D. Kaye, MD, FACR, was able to make his practice compliant with stage 1 of meaningful use in just under one month. One of the keys to his success, he says, was that it wasn’t just radiologists doing the work. They brought in project managers from their IT department. Meanwhile, their executive administrators and staff members from the billing and accounting departments also worked on the project and acted as advisors. “Every department had a role,” he said. And with everyone working together, they were able to bring about huge change without disrupting any workflow.

“Radiologists are working in a complex world, with great changes going on around us,” said Bohl, but by working as a team with your staff and administration, radiologists will be well equipped to deal with changes to come.

By Meghan Edwards, copywriter for the Bulletin

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