By Nicole Bolinger-Perez, RT(R), BS, MPA, Paul H. Monge, RT, RDMS, CRA, BS,
and Wendy J. Stirnkorb, RT(R)(MR), BSRS, CRA
Languages of a Radiology
in the industry
Historically, a radiology manager has
been someone with exceptional technological experience, excellent communication skills, and business acumen.
This isn’t enough any more. Obviously,
a radiology manager must be technologically savvy to troubleshoot and solve
the most difficult technical issues and to
continually improve the infrastructure
of the imaging department. And, they
must possess unsurpassed communication skills to constantly motivate staff to
produce at maximum capacity. They also
have to know a thing or two about business to operate within their budgets. But,
as healthcare reform restructures how
radiology services are reimbursed and
increases competition between service
providers, knowing a thing or two about
business isn’t enough to be successful.
The successful radiology manager of
today must be multilingual. They must
be fluent in technology, the art of communication, business management, and
There appears to be a natural evolution of the skills required for a radiology manager. One of the most prevalent
skills, and for various reasons, is technical proficiency. Radiology managers who
perform direct patient care are expected
to serve as role models for subordinates.
Managers should have solid technical
skills in order to supervise and evaluate
the technical performance of employ-
ees. The manager is expected to resolve
any technological challenges the tech-
nologists encounter and manage quality
assurance programs which can be very
technologically oriented. Additionally,
radiology managers may provide in-
put into infrastructure improvements
or participate in the implementation of
technological improvements. Managers
usually develop this skillset through on
the job training as technologists in their
daily work activities.
If technical proficiency is mastered,
the radiology manager will quickly dis-
cover the value of communication skills.
Communicating with and motivating
staff is an art form that is difficult, if
not impossible, to measure, yet criti-
cal for success. Communication skills
are imperative to all facets of radiol-
ogy management. Perfecting the skill of
communication is an ongoing educa-
tional endeavor. Technologists seeking
upward mobility may capitalize on in
house educational courses geared to-
ward enhancing communication skills.
When these are not available, courses
may be found at community colleges,
through vocational training, or through
professional organizations, such as the
AHRA. Educational opportunities to
improve communication skills may in-
clude cultural sensitivity courses, con-
flict resolution, and courses to improve
Another skillset that permeates all aspects of the role of a radiology manager is
business acumen. Managers should understand their budgets, know how to interpret financial statements, and understand how patient volumes impact cost.
Industry standard documents utilized
to manage radiology services include a
financial statement of revenue and expenditures, profit and loss statements,
and procedure volumes by modality.
The challenge to a radiology manager is
not necessarily interpreting the data but
making use of summary financial statements when detailed financial information would be more helpful. Most often
this skillset is developed by obtaining a
business degree related to business or
finance. A college degree establishes a
foundation for understanding what financial statements typically report and
how the reports are interrelated.
The most critical of skills for a radiology manager is increasingly becoming operational finance. Faced with reductions in reimbursements, increased
Communicating with and motivating staff is an art
form that is difficult, if not impossible, to measure,
yet critical for success.