We had very insightful conversations during the 2024 ACR-RBMA Practice Leadership Forum, held in Phoenix, AZ, from January 19-21, 2024; this was our first year in attendance. Leaders shared their views on technology adoption, operational efficiency, and how these two points are playing a key role in staff retention.

Staff Retention

While the topic of staffing shortages is regularly discussed, what isn’t are strategies for staff retention. Several people shared that having new technology is quickly becoming valuable for recruiting and retaining staff. They said that radiologists, for example, want to see organizations embrace new technology. Not only can newer technology improve staff performance, organizational health, and patient care, it also reflects positively on the organization’s values and interest in advancing healthcare in radiology.

Embracing AI

One attractive technological advancement is artificial intelligence (AI). Based on our conversations, sentiment towards pixel AI has shifted over the last few years. It has gone from being perceived as a threat to being viewed as an advanced diagnostic tool. Radiologists who embrace pixel AI are looking for their organizations to do the same – especially if an organization is courting them. As AI solutions continue to advance, branch out, and be implemented, there is an expectation for clinical quality to improve and TATs to decrease. In short, AI is being seen as one viable solution for improving operational efficiency, and that in itself is being seen as a key point for recruiting and retaining staff.

Work/Life Balance

Leaders also shared that staff and candidates are making it increasingly known that they value work/life balance. One way they assess if their employer also shares this value is by considering the technologies implemented at the organization. For example, paper protocoling, vacation requests by email, and manual scheduling can be interpreted as signs of operational inefficiency – especially when there is technology to address these functions. They understand that inefficiencies reduce productivity, quality, and job satisfaction, and they want to see their employer use technology to address these issues.

Closing

As we heard through our conversations, the role of technology is continuing to grow in radiology. Whether it’s the use of AI in diagnostics or software to improve operational efficiency, technology is being used as a solution to address increasing workloads. The use of such technology, in turn, is becoming a key decision point for existing staff who wonder if they should stay with an organization and for candidates who are evaluating whether they should join one.


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