Putting Patients First

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By Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE

December 2012—AHRA recognizes the critical importance of patient centered care and has been one of the early adopters and endorsers of the concept in the industry. In partnership with Toshiba, we launched the Putting Patients First program in 2007 and awarded the first three grants in 2008. Last month, at RSNA in Chicago, we announced the seven 2012 grant recipients of the Putting Patients First program, bringing the total grants awarded for this program to 29. That’s well over a quarter of a million dollars given to make a difference in clinical outcomes and in putting patients first.

The theme for this year’s RSNA meeting was “Patients First.” I say rightfully so, well fit, and what took you so long? They also introduced their Radiology Cares campaign with its tagline: The Art of Patient Centered Practice. This campaign is designed to ask radiologists to take the pledge to directly communicate with patients; to personally interact with patients to help them gain understanding and comfort of the exams/procedures they are about to undergo. In other words, get out of the reading room and make a little time to talk to patients. This is music to our ears. If this is put to practice it would be revolutionary to the patient experience in medical imaging. I have been advocating throughout my career for radiologist/patient relations and for now I will remain cautiously optimistic.

The AHRA Board of Directors and the AHRA Education Foundation Board of Directors held their fall meetings last month in Boston. We had a productive gathering where we exercised our fiduciary duties in approving the operational budget for 2013, took actions on strategic items, and accomplished significant progress in advancing our strategic plan in support of the association’s short horizon goals, but also prepared to adjust our sails in light of the looming fiscal cliff and eminent healthcare reform. We reviewed the initial work and report of the task force that was formed to evaluate our annual meeting, which quickly became the AHRA Ways and Means task force. They will be taking a global overview of educational products, meetings, member needs, and demographics. We had an exciting discussion on non-traditional membership models; for example, our commercial partners and vendors. Angie McDonald and Russ Cain also introduced us to a military membership option centered at helping our men and women in uniform in radiologic sciences make the transition from military to public when ready. Brenda Rinehart provided an update on phase two of the membership campaign, which will focus on retention and expansion and continues on the success of AHRA local area meetings.

Melody Mulaik is exploring an initiative to develop industry wide accepted labor standards. This will strengthen our ability to manage labor resources by giving us the method to translate these standards into FTE/position requirements and use them to deploy and justify workload/procedures ratios. This initiative will be designed to work in sync with AHRAdatalynx and mutually enhance the benefit to our members.

As you can tell, every board member is working hard on initiatives to help us succeed on the challenges we face daily, while strengthening the future of AHRA. I couldn’t be prouder of the trail we are blazing.

I wish you all happy holidays, peace in your heart, and much success in 2013. Health reform is coming to town!

Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE is president of the 2012-2013 AHRA Board of Directors. He is the division director of radiology services at Franciscan-St. Elizabeth Health in Lafayette, IN and can be reached at Carlos.vasquez@franciscanalliance.org

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