Taking Time Away to Learn

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Amy HollisBy Amy Hollis, CRA

The AHRA Education Foundation’s Partners in Learning program, sponsored by GE Healthcare, provided me with the opportunity to visit Brenda DeBastiani and her team at Mon Health Medical Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. The landscape was stunningly beautiful and the facility, built in 1977 but recently renovated, has a cozy and modern feel. I selected Mon Health based on their experience with breast tomosynthesis (which my organization, Monroe Clinic, recently implemented); contract negotiation, which is an opportunity for my personal development; Lean/Six Sigma, as my organization is in the midst of our Lean journey; and quality metrics, which are critical in operational leadership.

My host, Brenda, has a wealth of imaging knowledge, and her experience as a CT technologist and radiology supervisor along with her education at West Virginia University and Fairmont State University have prepared her well for her current position as the Director of Imaging. She taught me tips and tricks for budgeting, variance reporting, and contract management which I readily admit are not my favorite topics. Brenda graciously entertained my questions on the set up of Mon Health’s lung cancer screening program, which will be very helpful as we build our own program at Monroe Clinic. She naturally included her insights on leading her staff by sharing the department’s consistent onboarding process and active use of employees’ preferred recognition methods. It is clear that Brenda does not need to make an effort to think of her staff’s needs because this is embedded in who she is.

While Mon Health is considerably larger than Monroe Clinic, with 189 beds compared to our 58, and there are over six hundred miles between us, there is little separation in our challenges. It is clear that we all (and by this I mean all imaging leaders) face reimbursement uncertainty, over-utilization of emergency services for primary care needs, opportunities to improve interdepartmental collaboration, employees who would benefit from improved mentoring and development, a multitude of data points we would like to harness into prospective metrics, clinical decision support implications, and limited hours in the day to accomplish our tasks. As individuals we are at different stages of different initiatives, but we all go through the same process. We practice in a world where healthcare organizations are realigning, rebranding is a new constant, and partnerships are forged daily; this is not the world we entered into as first year radiography students years ago.

As our field changes we must adapt. Mon Health, for example, owns three hospitals, an EMS entity, a medical product solutions division, and a retirement community in addition to other services they are affiliated with. Monroe Clinic operates one hospital, nine clinics, and a hospice home and are partners with a hospitality group to operate an assisted living and memory care facility. We are no longer just hospitals and, as imaging leaders, we can no longer think of our departments as silos.

Competition and turf battles often impede our ability to have open and honest conversations with our local peers where we can learn from each other. The Partners in Learning program not only provides the opportunity to learn, but it also provides the opportunity to visit a facility you have no competitive ties with so you can learn from the best and brightest in our field. My trip was professionally and personally rewarding and I feel blessed to have been selected as a participant.

Amy Hollis, CRA is the director of imaging at Monroe Clinic in Monroe, WI. She can be reached at amy.hollis@monroeclinic.org.

One comment

  1. I can’t agree with you more. The ability to learn from our colleagues that we meet and network with through the AHRA is unbeatable.

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