The path to leadership

The need for radiologist leaders has become crystal clear. However, examples of imaging leadership may be less evident. The conventional expression of imaging excellence—diagnostic excellence—is necessary but not sufficient. This week’s top news illustrates two opportunities for leadership.

This fall, Hurricane Sandy shined the spotlight on a few glaring gaps in healthcare infrastructure. The disaster has provided hospitals the opportunity to reconsider their preparedness and rethink disaster recovery systems and processes.

“Although experience is a great teacher, science can and should also inform disaster policy. Too often it does not,” wrote Irwin Redlener, MD, and Michael J. Reilly, DrPH, MPH, of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

That may, and should, change given the aging infrastructure in the U.S. and escalating threats posed by climate change, according to Redlener and Reilly. Radiologists, who are often medical informatics experts, can take a leading role in crafting preparation and disaster recovery plans. It’s essential and important work that can help demonstrate imaging’s key role in the enterprise.

Radiation safety presents another opportunity for leadership. To date, 16,459 individuals have signed the Image Wisely pledge and 18,180 have taken the Image Gently pledge. Both pledges focus on promoting optimal use of imaging modalities.

The state of Minnesota has upped the ante. This month, the state department of health became the first state health agency to take the pledges.

It’s another area where radiology leadership is critical. Results of a recent questionnaire published in the American Journal of Roentgenology indicated that fewer than 30 percent of emergency department providers have accurate knowledge of lifetime cancer risk attributable to commonly performed CT scans.

Radiology’s expertise, both in educating their colleagues and leveraging Image Wisely/Image Gently, is essential.

The opportunities for radiology leadership abound. The hitch is selecting the right avenue(s) and following through.

How are you practicing leadership in radiology? Please let us know.

Lisa Fratt, editor