What a week at the AHRA 2015.
I have to admit this is my favorite conference to attend. We renew old friendships and make new ones throughout the conference and networking events. The AHRA Design team outdoes itself year after year - their attention to detail, selection of inspiring keynote speakers and the support of exhibitors is unparalleled in my experience. There is a spirit of partnership and knowledge-sharing between attendees, speakers, and vendors that is always in full force at this event Most importantly, the opportunity to learn first hand about the issues and challenges of most concern to our customers and our industry is invaluable.
Each year I come away from this conference with even greater respect for radiology administrators. Their role requires they juggle increasing patient care and satisfaction, declining reimbursement rates, upgrading systems and protocols to meet upcoming deadlines for ACA and JACHO requirements, as well as the "basic" managerial tasks of running a business: increasing market share, delivering a consistently good product, maintaining relationships with other departments and vendors, and investing in staff engagement and morale. Their commitment to providing the best care for their patients and staff is evident in our conversations, despite the challenges they face in this era of unprecedented change.
The biggest takeaway from the 2015 AHRA conference is no surprise: health care costs will continue to rise and reimbursement rates will continue to go down. Radiology departments are being forced to do more with less.
Despite the Challenges, A New Opportunity and Redefined Role for Radiology Departments Under the ACA:
But it's not all doom and gloom. In fact, the overall tone of the conference was upbeat, from the keynote speakers to the educational sessions to the vendor symposia that our staff attended. Although the ACA significantly impacts revenue from imaging; many see the opportunity for radiology departments to take on a significant role in population health management by helping their hospitals and healthcare systems improve clinical outcomes and enhance patient experiences through stronger partnerships with referring physicians,community health advocacy organizations, and even inter-departmentally within their own healthcare systems.
Attendees were charged with the mission of managing the shift of radiology from a service provider to a healthcare consultancy role - particularly on the subject of radiation dose reduction. Quality of care, error reduction, patient experience, and even internal culture change were hot topics throughout the conference.
That focus on quality care, patient experience, dose and error reduction was reflected at the Beekley Medical booth as well: Breeza flavored beverages, AromaTabs aromatherapy tabs, TomoSpot skin markers for 3D mammography, and Bella Blankets protective coverlets for mammography generated the most requests for trial evaluations. Three of these products were designed to augment patient acceptance and compliance with protocols; all of them help technologists and radiologists in some way in achieving their goals of reducing radiation exposure, improving the patient experience, getting more done with less, and capturing the best image as possible.
Positively impacting patients' lives and improving clinical outcomes is a mission we share with the AHRA and our customers. So is our common emphasis on continuing education.
Beekley Medical has been a proud corporate partner of AHRA Educational Foundation Expanding Excellence campaign since 2012.
It's an honor to give back to our radiology community by helping imaging leaders stay abreast of industry trends and best practices, as well as be prepared for the challenges ahead. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the AHRA on both the national and locals levels in 2016 with even more educational opportunities and can't wait to see everyone again in Nashville at AHRA 2016.
Of course, some things that happened in Vegas may have stayed in Vegas! How was your experience and what takeaways or would you add from this conference?
Recognizing Beekley Medical's contribution to the AHRA Education Foundation Annual Appeal:
David Fox, outgoing President and Education Foundation Director (far left) and Lori Burns, Education Foundation Chair (far right) with Mary Lang (Sr. Marketing Communications Manager), Christina Steinhauser (Onboarding and Training Manager) and Laura Smith (Senior Account Manager) representing Beekley Medical