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Q & A with Bill Algee, president of AHRA

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | July 09, 2019
From the July 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: How are you bringing new members into the association?
BA: One of things that we focus on is getting HR departments in hospitals to require or at least prefer that candidates have what's called a C.R.A. or certified radiology administrator credential. It’s a very comprehensive credential; it covers all the basics of leadership, but with that, candidates show they know their stuff. Some HR departments now include it as part of the job description.

HCB News: How much or how little do you think the field is growing today? Are there enough people coming in to replace those heading to retirement?

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BA: We're seeing more instances of different departments combining, as I mentioned earlier, which helps cover some of the need. However, that requires strong structure underneath that. When you get to the director level, you're really focused on moving the business, you're not running the day-to-day operations — that’s the manager. Could someone from another department run our radiology department? Probably. Would I hate that? Absolutely! Because I’d be out of a job for one thing, but also because it doesn’t work so well since there’s not a deep understanding of radiology and the needs of the department. Yes, we are unique!

We also have to get younger people involved. And that goes back to cultivating the next leaders.

Finding radiologists is a challenge too. I think with radiology group consolidation we’re not that far away from having four or five groups across the country. And radiologists don’t grow out of the woodwork. Take Indiana for example. Right now, there are 46 jobs on the ACR website for radiologists. That seems like a lot to me.

HCB News: With the aging population, the demand is going to go up. There’s movement to make AI step in to help, but it seems that technology is far from where it needs to be for a very active role.
BA: If my potential career path was positioned where there would be less of a need for me or as many people in my field, I’d be reluctant to jump on that bandwagon. At RSNA, it’s booth after booth of AI solutions and you know there’s going to be some hospital CEO who’s going to look at those things and decide to just buy the AI and not hire another whoever. That potential risk exists. Maybe it’s in its infancy today, but it’s getting there.

HCB News: Can you offer predictions on how medical imaging management may change in the future?
BA: We talked about it a little bit before. You may not be running just a radiology department, you may be the leader of an imaging department and cardiology or something else. It will be a multifaceted role.

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