Critical Success Factors:
Pursue Operational Excellence
By Jason C. Theadore, MHA, CRA, R T(R) and Craig Anderson, Jr.
In our last article (May/June 2010), we
identified several industry trends that are
having a significant impact on the future
of radiology. Changes in legislation compounded with the recent economic recession have forced imaging providers to
reevaluate strategic direction and operational performance. Imaging providers who
have succeeded despite the challenging conditions have developed a compelling vision
focused on four critical success factors:
1. Put the patient first. Empower the
patient. Create a culture of quality and
safety. Deliver great service.
2. Pursue operational excellence.
Reimbursements are declining. Patient and
physician expectations continue to elevate. Focus on creating clear expectations and accountability within the
3. Collaborate and integrate with physicians. Specialists and large primary care
groups continue to overlap imaging
services at the same time many hospitals are beginning to employ physicians.
4. Innovate and communicate. First,
develop breakthrough patient outcomes. Second, share the success with
your key constituents including
patients, physicians, and payers.
The focus of this article is on pursuing
operational excellence. As we begin to define
operational excellence, it is critical to
acknowledge the relationship between orga-
nizational strategy and operations. I began
my career in healthcare in a role with an
imaging company that was focused on
delivering operational excellence to fulfill
the strategic vision for our hospital partners.
My next step was a transition into a consult-
ing position where I have been developing
ambulatory strategies for hospitals and free-
standing imaging centers to inform opera-
tions on how to execute. Over that time
period, I have had the opportunity to expe-
rience firsthand the challenge of building a
successful strategy and translating that busi-
ness plan into effective operations. In fact,
the ability to meld those two aspects of an
organization is the single most difficult
thing to do. Typically, the ability to combine
a strong strategic vision with an ability to
execute separates the market leaders from
the marginal performers.
An organization exists to fulfill a mission
and vision created through a combination
of technology, processes, and people.
When an organization can tap into the
synergy of all four elements, operational
Figure 1 • Perspectives that contribute
to operational excellence.