Why Radiologists are Primed for Leadership in Medicine

May 30, 2014

Radiologists are well equipped to become leaders in the new health care environment.

Radiologists have an upper hand when it comes to becoming a leader in today’s health care environment. The traditional radiologist has been a radiologist working in a single-specialty group, which consists of an outpatient imaging center, a hospital based practice, or both. Given the changes in the health care landscape, a good percentage of radiologists will change their work environment in the near future from a single-specialty radiology group to a hospital employed or multispecialty physician group. This change will bring new opportunities for radiologists to take on leadership roles. 

Although the traditional radiologist worked in isolation in terms of practice management and had little or no interaction with other physician specialists when dealing with billing, coding, purchasing, or strategic planning, the new paradigm of practicing radiology will put radiologists side-by-side with other specialists. 

Given the broad knowledge radiologists possess that covers various medical specialties and the increased contact with fellow physicians in other specialties, radiologists have an underlying advantage that few other specialties have. Since we understand many subspecialty topics in medicine, we are able to converse with fellow physicians about their questions and concerns whether it pertains to designing optimal patient workflow, creating evidence based medicine protocols, or implementing ancillary services.

The work schedule for radiologists also allows for easier transition to leadership positions since the daily clinical work schedule can adjust around the administrative responsibilities that arise in leadership positions. This is much more difficult in medical specialties where physicians see patients or spend a considerable amount of time in the operating room.

From my own experience practicing at a large multispecialty practice, I know the majority of my colleagues because I have read imaging cases for them, discussed interesting or urgent cases with them, or performed image guided diagnostic or therapeutic procedures for their patients. I am not sure I can say the same for my fellow endocrinologists, ophthalmologists or pediatricians to name a few.

The fact that I read or perform procedures for my co-physicians in my group already forms a tie with them and is a great platform to allow me to move to a leadership position for my group. Although leadership positions are not for everyone, I believe our specialty provides us the flexibility and contacts for budding leaders to flourish in the new health environment.