This was our first year attending AHRA’s annual meeting. It was certainly a worthwhile experience, with all the new people that we met. A lot of familiar faces also came by our booth – mentioning that they recognized us from events hosted by RSNA, SIIM, and PaRADigm. Once again, we were very fortunate to have in-depth conversations about the challenges that leaders and organizations are facing. Continue reading to learn about our top three takeaways.
Staffing Appropriately is a Hot Topic
Burnout tends to be the headlining topic when staffing challenges are discussed, but we also heard about another important, but hot topic. Many leaders are experiencing a type of FOMO with respect to the number of patients they could be serving… if they only had enough staff. While burnout is very real, some organizations aren’t experiencing significant levels of staff dissatisfaction and are challenged with staffing appropriately to meet patient demand. For example, they’re only able to fill shifts based on staff availability (or willingness), leading to gaps in service access. Of course, they’re still challenged in the hiring process given the limited pool of candidates, rising salaries, etc. Meanwhile, others overstaff (if they can) to ensure that demand and contractual obligations are met, even if it means having to pay underutilized staff on days when patient throughput was lower than anticipated. Many of these staffing issues can be addressed with demand forecasting and capacity modeling.
IT is Burdened
A number of leaders also shared that their IT partners are facing bandwidth issues. Subsequently, they make an effort to limit IT requests and be as self-sufficient as possible. For example, considering a new technology solution may not even cross their mind because they don’t want to further burden their IT partners. In many organizations, IT must review and approve any solution involving data, efficiency, or operations – and that takes time and effort, which must be used wisely. However, we were able to explain to our booth visitors that the right technology solution, such as a radiology business operations platform, could actually reduce the burden on IT by empowering staff to run their own reports and create their own dashboards. Such a solution is a win-win for both IT and leadership: IT requests decrease and leadership is able to use the technology they need to make informed, data-driven decisions.
Leadership Needs a Better Analytics Solution
Similar to what we heard from informaticists at SIIM23, many leaders depend on Excel as their primary analytics solution. While they may not be producing the reports themselves, their team members are – and spending many hours in the process – simply because they don’t have a dedicated analytics solution. Such a solution would automate the reporting process with real-time dashboards, effectively saving hours that would otherwise be spent on manual report creation or better spent on patient care. Those that did have a solution shared that it was a part of their EHR (e.g., EPIC SlicerDicer), but even then, they felt limitations: reports creation required requests to IT, only painted part of the business picture, or simply weren’t capable of producing real-time dashboards with actionable insights. However, with the right partner, many of these barriers can be overcome – especially, if the partner has the expertise to offload burdens carried by the organization.
Based on what was shared with us, 2023’s annual meeting is near or at pre-COVID level attendance, from both the attendee and exhibitor perspectives. If that momentum continues, we’re sure to have even more engaging conversations when we return for AHRA’s 2024 annual meeting. Until then, feel free to reach out to contact us to see how we can help you – especially if you didn’t get a chance to attend this event and visit our booth.