By Julie Kaufield, MA, RT(R)
My first introduction to AHRA came in 2004 shortly after taking a major management role overseeing several modalities at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, IL. My boss and mentor at the time, Mark Steffen, MBA, CRA, FACHE, was a huge advocate for professional and personal development, understood the new set of skills I would need to successfully work as an administrator, and saw many benefits to being nationally aligned with an organization that supported them. He was also working with AHRA on a new certification exam for administrators called the CRA and believed it would become an industry standard.
As I became involved with AHRA, I was selected as a guest in the Partners in Learning program and was able to visit Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA, a facility similar in size and practice to my own. To this day, those leaders and the strategies they shared with me over a few days have contributed to many of my immediate operational successes. I came to rely on their advice and remained open and optimistic that any time I partnered with other practices, I not only grew as an administrator, I also learned valuable tips and tricks to managing each modality.
Fast forward to today, and a chance encounter with Mark led to a collaboration to host the AHRA Chicago area meeting in Oakbrook on August 31.
With a surprise visit from AHRA’s CEO, Edward Cronin, CAE, our meeting kicked off with Ed sharing the new motto, “We are all in this together,” encouraging all of us to not only remember how AHRA can aid personal growth, but also how it fosters community amongst administrators on a higher level. Providing value from professional networking to continuing education and group discounts helps administrators align with a professional, respected organization while connecting with peers old and new.
Sharon Wegh from Hitachi Medical Systems was our gracious sponsor for the meeting, supplying everything from audio equipment to the amazing Italian meal at Maggiano’s. The Hitachi team also provided informative speakers, with Pam Odino from Guerbet speaking about “Radiation Dose Management Using the XR-29 Standards” and Jef Williams from Paragon Consulting discussing “Enterprise Imaging -The Ten Things Successful Initiatives Do Well.” Seeing administrators from several states come together to share valuable, insightful information was a delightful break from the midweek workday.
This meeting marked my return to the healthcare industry after leaving in 2008. I knew one of the first valuable steps I could make was to rejoin the AHRA and begin the process of reconnecting. Spending the last several years reporting on RSNA and covering radiology topics as a writer for Diagnostic Imaging and other publications has afforded me the luxury of seeing healthcare through a long lens. In my absence, the very nature of healthcare changed with the Affordable Care Act and along with it many new regulations, payment models, and industry standards. I know I have my work cut out for me if I hope to bring value as an administrator again. Luckily, AHRA is there to help every step of the way (and as I look ahead, I see the CRA exam in my future!)
We hope to organize the next Chicago area meeting sometime in early spring and thank all who came out last month.
Julie Kaufield, MA, RT(R) is a freelance medical writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.