By Kyle Kellum
October 2011–In May, I received a call from Maureen Firth, AHRA Education Foundation Chair. She informed me I was one of the Osborn Scholarship recipients for AHRA’s 2011 Annual Meeting in Texas. Of course, I was more than happy to receive the scholarship, but at the time I truly did not realize the wealth of information I would learn and the number of people holding this information that I would meet. If you have never been to an AHRA annual meeting, it’s time to figure out a way to go… it really is priceless!
I flew into DFW airport Saturday afternoon and walked outside to find a shuttle to the Gaylord Texan Resort. The weather was not as hot as I’d expected and, much to my surprise, people there really do say “y’all.” The hotel was amazing, but it was the sessions I was most looking forward to. I have some areas that I needed education on to improve myself and my organization. I was able to attend sessions that encompassed customer service, radiology as a business, strategies, negotiation, patient safety, leadership, and the list goes on and on. I am someone that puts a lot of time and effort into customer service and, like the rest of you, want to have the best customer satisfaction scores possible. After talking with many of the professionals attending the meeting, and listening to a sensational customer service session, I brought back to my organization ideas that would help to transform customer satisfaction into experience. After all, if the total experience doesn’t exceed desires, we risk losing that patient to another facility. That said, the customer experience doesn’t simply encompass the time the patient is within the walls of our organizations. It spans everything from charges dropping correctly, to financial statements received, and anything the patient (customer) ultimately views the organization as in regards to a player in their care.
The AHRA annual meeting is what you make of it. There are sessions for virtually everyone that cover many topics. However, the fun really begins with involvement. I, like many others on the AHRA Forum, received a message about volunteering from Bill Algee, the Design Team chair. And, like many others, I jumped at the opportunity. Here was a way for me to give back to the organization that has already given me knowledge and prospects. I have read many (ok… most) of the Forum posts as a way to gain insight into other best practices, and have come to “know” many AHRA members through the Forum. I was very fortunate to attend the volunteer reception Saturday evening and meet some of those that I have conversed with through the Forum. I also met many whom I have never had any conversations with. It was through these types of networking that really set the stage for my meeting experience. To say the experience was amazing would be an understatement!
I would also like to say how happy I am to be able to help play a part for the 2012 Annual Meeting in Orlando. As a new member of the Annual Meeting Design Team, I am happy to be giving back.
My learning, and the knowledge I was able to bring back to my organization, was made possible because of the Osborn Scholarship and the AHRA Education Foundation. A big, Texas sized thanks to y’all!
Kyle Kellum is the director of diagnostic and therapy services at Syringa Hospital & Clinics in Grangeville, ID. He can be contacted at email@example.com.