Imaging leaders can't let pushback stop them from improving quality

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 - Michael Walter
Michael Walter, Editor

I attended a lot of great presentations at RSNA 2016 in Chicago, but the one by Paul J. Chang, MD, on Nov. 28 had perhaps the biggest impact on me.

During his talk, Chang, medical director of enterprise imaging at the University of Chicago, explained that radiology groups often struggle to gain funding for quality improvement projects because they go about it the wrong way. Requests for more money to improve quality aren’t always approved, he said, because providers already expect high quality from their radiology departments. The more effective way to request funding? Explain that you want it to improve efficiency, not quality. Providers understand that term just fine, Chang said, and they know that an efficient department can save some serious coin in the long run.

By going that route, he was able to gain funding that went directly toward leveraging the IT department and completing several important projects—projects that directly led to improved efficiency and improved quality.

This is a key lesson for imaging leaders to remember as the shift from volume to value continues. You will encounter pushback as you work to get your group or department up to speed, but you must keep pushing ahead. Think outside the box, adopt a creative solution and don’t allow decision-makers to hold back your quest for improved quality and better overall patient care.

The push to quality is happening, whether you’re prepared for the ride or not. And if you don’t roll with the changes, you risk losing patients one by one to facilities that are able to adapt more quickly.