The Reading Room

What we learned from surveying 12,000 imaging managers: Education is crucial to engagement


"What do my imaging leaders need?"

I would bet many hospital and imaging executives are asking themselves this question right now.

To help find the answer, I recently pulled blinded engagement data for over 12,000 imaging managers complied by Advisory Board's Survey Solutions team, which distributes surveys to the full staff of member hospitals.

How did imaging managers' engagement stack up compared with managers in other clinical departments and hospital managers? 

The good news is that imaging is ahead on overall engagement. In 2015, 66% of imaging managers were engaged with their jobs and organizationsalmost 10 percentage points more engaged than their managerial peers!

However, I wanted to know which aspects of imaging managers' jobs presented the greatest opportunity for elevating engagement. I used Survey Solutions' analysis of 43 engagement drivers, each of which is a statement describing an aspect of one's job that employees can either agree or disagree with, such as "My manager is open and responsive to staff input."

Specifically, I took a closer look at three sets of engagement drivers:

  1. The top 10 statements that imaging managers were less likely to agree with than their peers in other clinical departments

  2. The top 10 statements that imaging managers were less likely to agree with than their peers overall

  3. The top 10 statements with the largest variation in how imaging managers responded—in other words, those with the greatest opportunity for improvement

What stood out

Only two statements made it on all three of my top 10 lists. Those were:

"I am kept informed of the organization's future plans and direction."

"I receive effective on the job training."

That second item, on job training, caught my attention as both important and actionable. It suggests a clear opportunity for imaging programs to provide more guidance and training for managers.

This is especially true in an era of health system consolidation.

The majority of imaging leaders we work with today are overseeing multiple care sites and a large and diverse staff of technologists. They are tasked with standardizing protocols, operations, and staffing policies across sites while balancing multiple levels of priorities—both local and system-wide. And at the same time, the market and policy environment affecting imaging has been evolving rapidly, with clinical decision support implementation, multiple sets of Medicare reimbursement cuts, and growing patient consumerism all threatening imaging revenues and demanding innovative approaches.

How to set managers up for success

To better equip imaging managers in the face of these complex tasks and challenges, programs need to seek out educational resources.

One option to consider: The Imaging Performance Partnership's Imaging Executive Development Program—an online, work-at-your-own-pace learning resource for imaging leaders at all levels. This online curriculum consists of short modules in five areas:

  • Essential leadership skills that apply to any team or service line setting
  • An understanding of the performance indicators that a successful imaging program needs to excel on
  • Planning skills that enable leaders to set and execute on strategy
  • An understanding of the broader market and how it affects imaging's outlook
  • Familiarity with support resources available to help you do your job

Imaging Performance Partnership members can learn more about the program and how to enroll by visiting www.advisory.com/ipp/2017execdev.

Do you have questions? Have you discovered or designed a leadership education program that has worked well for your team? Let us know! Email me at HalimL@advisory.com

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