In 2022, the Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI) celebrated 10 years of delivering leadership and professional development training to radiologists at all career stages. Each year, the RLI recognizes the work and achievements of current leaders and provides scholarship opportunities for new leaders through its RLI Leadership Awards and Scholarship program. One of those honors is the RLI Impact in Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals whose participation in an RLI course or program was integral to the successful completion of a specific project or initiative at their practice or institution.
The 2022 Impact in Leadership recipients were Andrew K. Moriarity, MD, vice president of clinical operations and quality chair at Advanced Radiology Services (ARS), and Vivek Masson, MD system chair of radiology at CarePoint Health. Here are their stories of leadership initiatives and impact.
Optimizing the Organizational Structure
At ARS, Moriarity faced the challenge of integrating two disparate reading environments, where 200 radiologists were reading more than 2 million exams each year. Over the course of a year, he led a project to merge the practice’s largest hospital partner into the ARS teleradiology platform, creating a cohesive reading solution. As a result, the practice was able to achieve its goals of enhancing patient care, standardizing systems and improving overall clinical operations.
“At the beginning, we were effectively operating in two parallel environments, with limited ability for radiologists in one area to assist others,” Moriarity says. “Creating a cohesive reading workflow not only helped us optimize case distribution, but we were also able to expand the reach and impact of our subspecialists, while improving overall scheduling flexibility and radiologist work-life balance.”
As chair of the Clinical Leadership Committee, Moriarity was tasked with coordinating this project while working with radiology practice section chiefs, the distributed radiology information technology department, the clinical decision support analytics team and hospital partners. According to Moriarity, participating in the RLI Maximize Your Influence and Impact Course (provided the crucial foundational leadership knowledge and the skills to lead this project to fruition.
“Throughout the project, I was able to draw on lessons learned from the many hands‐on discussions and real-world case examples,” Moriarity said. “The course highlighted how to build effective teams, manage change and develop operational efficiencies, as well as underscored the importance of both formal and informal communication in building relationships and enhancing the success of major initiatives.”
Among the successes, Moriarity’s project:
- Created the right organizational structure to navigate change in radiology and hospital operations. The team mapped out the practice volume across 14 different hospitals, according to detailed historical data, and used a robust capacity analysis tool to optimize scheduling on a per-hour basis, which gets patient exams to the right radiologist faster.
Addressed team challenges by aligning members with diverse perspectives and backgrounds around performance goals. The project tackled “turf” concerns and created equity across different jobs, which was vital to program implementation and success.
- Focused on enhancing work-life balance. Optimizing subspecialty workload distribution for on-site staff and increasing in-home workstation deployment by 100% resulted in enhanced job satisfaction and greater ability to recruit new staff, especially for second and third shifts.
- Recognized the critical relationship between radiology and clinical operations to improve outpatient turnaround times (TAT). By combining a robust remote reading solution and optimizing clinical staffing, the practice was able to improve outpatient TATs by more than 35% within just three weeks.
- Used basic financial statements and financial analysis to assess financial health and develop improvement strategies. While improving patient care and clinical operations were key goals of the project, the team paid specific attention to how changes would improve operational finances while also supporting radiologists’ well‐being.
- Improved standardization of protocols and reporting templates. As a result of the project, protocol standardization increased from 54.3% to 80.2% and technologist history standardization increased 10 times.
“The RLI is a great resource to supplement the clinical training we get as radiologists,” Moriarity says. “In training, we learn a lot about disease pathology, but not about healthcare delivery and economics or change management and gaining buy-in. The RLI gives you a new lens to determine the best way to improve your local practice. Beyond that, it gives you access to a network of people who are highly engaged and motivated who can become very influential in your career.”
He adds, “Every radiologist needs the skills the RLI teaches to be successful. Our practice subscribes to the RLI philosophy that leadership is for everyone, and we believe every radiologist should be an excellent clinician and bring an additional expertise to the practice. The RLI provides a forum to explore your own personal interests and see how you can bring added value, maximize your own contributions and develop those gifts to give them back in service to others.”
The RLI has empowered me to make a positive impact in my local community that I hope will lead to bigger and more impactful initiatives in the future.
Serving the Underserved
Integration of disparate imaging providers is a focus at CarePoint Health, which serves a busy network of safety-net hospitals and outpatient centers in northern New Jersey and is located in one of the most populous and ethnically diverse counties in the greater New York area. In his role as system chair of radiology, Masson combined previously separate radiology divisions and hospitals into one combined service line, allowing for increased subspecialized care for the local community.
One example of Masson’s efforts to enhance patient care in this underserved community was the development of a Woman’s Health Pavilion in 2022, which aimed to address access-to-care issues for local communities.
“Over the past few years, I have worked hard to address access to care and systemic bias issues in my local system and community at large,” Masson says. “A significant aspect of the woman’s center is offering affordable care to populations who would otherwise be unjustly deprived of access. Beyond that, we’re providing state-of-the-art technology, top-quality facilities and exceptional care in underserved communities — we didn’t sacrifice anything. Quite simply, this center has saved lives by providing one-stop screening, diagnosing and treatment for women who have breast cancer, as well as a host of other gynecological malignancies and diseases.”
Masson says the RLI has been instrumental in his efforts to lead radiologists across three hospitals and build a unified platform and system for the health system. “When I entered my position 10 years ago, I had little knowledge or formal training in radiology leadership. The RLI became my primary source for this knowledge. The ability to learn and be shaped by world-class leaders who are giants in the healthcare field was instrumental in my success, particularly in building the new Woman’s Health Pavilion.”
Masson’s lessons learned from various RLI courses include:
- The need to develop strong relationships with the medical staff and administration. This seminar laid the foundation for Masson’s project. Getting buy-in from all parties involved was instrumental in selling his vision, and truly building a connection with the president of the medical staff as well as the system CEO was crucial to the success of the program.
- The importance of understanding finances. Masson gained a solid foundation to understand the business side of radiology, where he could sit down with relevant stakeholders from the finance and business development teams and speak their language with confidence so everyone was aligned to the same goal for the Woman’s Health Pavilion: being self-sufficient and sustainable, while providing additional downstream sources of revenue.
- The critical opportunity to think outside the box. The involvement of political and public health teams allowed Masson to advocate for the project on a grassroots, community-health level and engage local officials — including the mayor, council members and state lawmakers — who would become vested stakeholders in the importance of the project and who helped overcome legislative and financial hurdles.
“Without the RLI, I would not have had the tools to be able to lead my radiology team for the past decade,” Masson says. “The skills learned from the RLI and ACR have been by far the most important part of my transformation into a practice and system leader. If not for the RLI, this project, which will help save the lives of thousands of underserved people in northern New Jersey, would not have happened. The RLI has empowered me to make a positive impact in my local community that I hope will lead to bigger and more impactful initiatives in the future.
“For radiologists at every level, it’s more important than ever to develop leadership skills,” Masson adds. “With the advent of AI, our workflows are going to change. And those people who can lead reorganization of processes and navigate management changes will be the ones who come out ahead. My advice: Keep building your leadership skills and it will pay off in the end. The RLI is an incredible organization, and the people behind it are extraordinary. We’re fortunate to have their wisdom and the ability to network with one another and bounce ideas off other people who are solving the same challenges we have. That’s a remarkable advantage.”