By Kelly J. Frick, MBA, CRA
I have been in imaging for almost 30 years. Throughout these years I have been blessed to fulfill many roles and along the way gain knowledge about virtually all imaging modalities. Over the past ten years I have been in a variety of leadership roles that have continued to develop my skills. During this time I also completed my Bachelors of Business Administration, my Masters of Business Administration, and became a Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA). As a firm believer in the continual learning process and always desiring to have a better understanding of the healthcare world, I felt the AHRA Partners in Learning program was an opportunity for me to continue my pursuit of learning.
Immediately upon hearing acceptance of my acceptance into the Partners in Learning program, I reached out to the contact at my destination site. I had chosen to go to ECMC in Buffalo, NY, and was partnered with Debbie Clark. I had never met Debbie, but soon we were communicating like we were old friends. I was excited for this visit, both for the information I was going to gain and to meet this person who seemed as eager as I was for my visit. I was not disappointed.
On Sunday, August 23, I arrived in Buffalo. Shortly after getting settled in my hotel Debbie arrived to take me to lunch and do a little sightseeing. Although it was not part of the program, Debbie went out of her way to make sure I saw and experienced as much of Buffalo as I could during my stay. She also wanted to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other before our first day at ECMC on Monday. Throughout the day we discussed our various departments and roles, and by that evening I was amazed to realize that we had many of the same challenges.
Transparency in metrics and projects helps people feel like they are part of an organization. As I began my visit to ECMC on Monday morning, I witnessed values, metrics, and goals consistently displayed throughout the facility. I quickly realized that while it is valuable to have many of these posted in more formal ways, the ones that were displayed in less formal ways were referenced just as quickly by the employees. I will be developing more department specific quality metrics that the teams within my department can own and take pride in developing and achieving. In addition, I will be translating some of the metrics learned from my visit into meaningful metrics for my own department. Meaningful metrics provide value not only to the organization and customer but also to your team.
During my visit, I was able to witness how the ECMC team dealt with construction within their department by taking part in a construction walk-through and meeting. These are skills that are not taught in any classroom, and the information I gained will be valuable for future projects. Simple determinations such as door location, the option of security cameras, and interlocking door mechanisms are sometimes lost in the details. Discussing these options in an outside environment allowed me absorb the information in a non-stressful, real-life setting. In addition to the physical construction, there were new technology platforms being implemented. The future of healthcare will involve the successful rollout of continual technology changes. Witnessing a structured rollout session provided me with ideas for future department implementations.
After two days at ECMC, my mind was full and racing with thoughts on what to look into first upon my return home. On the third day I was lucky enough to sit in on an ICD-10 preparedness meeting. This was an added benefit as we are all looking for ways to ensure we are educating our teams appropriately. It was nice to see that others are still navigating the best approach to this task. We sometimes get so caught up in what is going on at our own organizations that we forget others are in the same situation, and if we use our resources we can be more efficient and effective. I now have a great new resource.
Every day we are challenged in our roles to do more with less, and having the opportunity to evaluate how others meet this demand will help me in my continued career path. During my brief stay I not only gained new insights on how to meet my daily objectives, but I also gained a new colleague and friend. The Partners in Learning program did not fail to meet my objectives in any way. Learning from others in real life situations in a stress free environment where you can either be actively engaged or the quiet observer is clearly beneficial. I hope ECMC gained as much knowledge from me as I gained from them!
Kelly J. Frick, MBA, CRA is the director, imaging services at UnityPoint Health-Trinity/QC & Muscatine in Moline, IL. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.