By Ron J. Barak, BS, CRA, FAHRA, MBA
August 2012—I began my career as an x-ray technologist. In rad tech school I learned how to operate the equipment that we utilize on a daily basis. Over time, I learned how to do basic trouble shooting to ensure that my equipment functioned properly. I also learned, through experience,when service was needed on the equipment. What I did not learn as a rad tech was how to determine when it was time to replace rather than repair the equipment I used. This is one of the many things that were important for me to learn during my transition from staff to management.
As a technologist, I always felt that management did not bother to consider replacing equipment until it was broken and could not be repaired. As a director, I have learned that this usually is not the case. Very often, the department management team believes that the equipment needs to be replaced, but sometimes our administrators may not agree with our opinions and sometimes they do not understand why it is a priority to replace this equipment. It is our job as radiology directors to be able to put forth a convincing justification to help administrators make the right decision.
The CRA exam is made up of five performance domains, one of which is asset resource management. In this performance domain there are six tasks; the first one is “acquire necessary capital equipment by developing business plans to address forecasted growth of current and/or new demands.” Part of acquiring capital is determining when it is time to be replaced. It is important to be able to make that determination and back it up with facts that are convincing enough and solid enough to justify the expenditure. It is most often our justification statements and data that convince administration that it is time to replace the equipment. The second task is “select capital equipment by conducting an evaluation in collaboration with organization stakeholders (physicians, finance, materials management, etc) to provide optimal technology.”This competency ensures that all stakeholders have their say and opinion heard when selecting capital for the department. It ensures fairness to all, including the vendors. When consensus is reached in equipment selection it is easier to justify the purchase.
Mastering these competencies is part of our learning process as directors and will help us to be successful in our careers. It is imperative that the department managers know how to properly justify the replacement of our assets, as well as selecting those replacements.
Having the CRA credential shows the human resource staff and “C” level administrators that the person they are hiring as their radiology director has the necessary knowledge to make theserecommendations. It also shows you have been able to bring together what you learned in modality training, work experience, business school classes, CRA preparation, and life experience as a manager.
If you are interviewing for a job, bring a copy of the CRA performance domains and tasks to your prospective employer. This will show your competence and help you sell yourself. Youshould also bring these to your current HR director and/or your direct supervisor to request that they add “CRA preferred” to your job description.
Ron J. Barak, BS, CRA, FAHRA, MBA is the senior director of imaging services at Mercy Hospital in Miami, FL. He can be reached at email@example.com.