Critical Mass

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By Bruce Hammond, CRA

March 2011–Let me begin my first Link communication by saying I am grateful, moved, and honored with the trust you have placed in me by electing me RACC Commissioner. It is humbling and gratifying, and I will approach this office with diligence, respect, and an effort to prove your decision correct when you provided me this opportunity to serve.

In our chosen profession, the term “critical mass” has one meaning. In our professional development it has another. In business circles, it was “en vogue” in the first few years of this millennium. To the RACC, and CRAs in general, it needs to be a goal.

The RACC took dramatic, bold, and decisive steps under John Marshall in 2010. We are poised for expansion in 2011 and have very capable leadership with diverse backgrounds, solidly rooted in their skills. We have a newly written, (and more importantly) psychometrically validated CRA examination written by subject matter experts in management who concentrate on radiology administration. We—or more appropriately, you—have made the preparations: put the right people in the right places and the organization is poised for another level.

What we need now are numbers, lots of numbers. We begin 2011 with the CRA count at 767. We need each person to at least replace themselves this year. If we do that, 2012 will have us at 1535, and 2013 will have us at 3068. This represents the exponential growth needed for the CRA credential and the organization to reach critical mass: the point at which the mass is affecting changes not just internally, but affecting everything around it. The attainment of critical mass will allow the RACC to be an advocacy force of its own, not dependent on trying to find coalitions with organizations with divergent goals. An organization large enough to influence policymakers, lawmakers, and other professional organizations. Moreover, an organization large enough to increase the benefit to the CRA credential holders.

There is one significant caveat to this process. In order to have quality results, one must begin any criticality project with quality resources. If we build our numbers just for the sake of numbers, we have defeated our purposes. We need to ensure that our selection of the people we encourage and mentor is limited to those whom we are convinced will uphold high standards and be effective, rational, honest, and fair leaders. We do not need activists, self-promoters, or the like. The RACC has the CRA positioned to either experience a dramatic surge in numbers and recognition or suffer cataclysmic failure.

Just as with the materials we work with every day to help diagnose and treat patients, we must realize timing, technique, personnel, and attitude are all essentially necessary for the reactions we want and need. Those reactions, regardless of their radiological, business, or RACC uses, are necessary for attainment of the desired goal.

For the RACC and the CRA, that goal is for the credential to be the validated, recognized, accepted, respected definition of the best of the best in radiology administration.

Further, the goal should be to recognize that, although its name is radiology and its description administration, what we are really about is management, managing businesses and business processes, leading us to the pinnacle of our professions as healthcare managers, directors, and executives. To do so will mean acceptance by other organizations, not necessarily limited those in healthcare or radiology. The aim should be to exemplify the CRA as a valid indicator of professionals who have demonstrated understanding and passed the test of critical thinkers; who understood the critical mass models of radioactivity and business, who excel in those areas, and are needed, desired assets for all organizations.

Bruce Hammond, CRA serves as a commissioner of the 2011 Radiology Administration Certification Commission (RACC) and works as executive vice president at Diagnostic Health Services in Addison, TX.  He can be reached at


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