A few weeks ago, I spent several hours in a company provided Leadership Training Session. This type of training/ education is a clear demonstration that our organization is committed to an investment in our leaders. Considering the current global climate in staff development, this is refreshing and perhaps outside the norm. Good for me and my teammates!!

              While the training session was HR related, it did bring to the forefront, for me at least, that we have a significant leadership void in the Healthcare industry. This is not local, regional or restricted to one country—or truly even one industry. Hear me out. Oh, we do not have a shortage of BODIES in leadership roles. Far from it. What we DO have, however, is a shortage of people with exceptional leadership skills and training. We have a global scarcity of people with the ability to effectively, positively LEAD others toward a common goal or mission. Why are leaders of this caliber so elusive? Where are the unicorns hiding?

              As I contemplated unicorns and their whereabouts, I reflected on the leaders I have worked with throughout my career. Most were good, solid managers with the appropriate skills. One or two were absolute Napoleonic horrors and there are several stunning examples of those mysterious unicorns. Because my mind works as it does and I think in the fashion that I do—I made a list of the traits I think a leader should possess. And, because there has to be balance in my universe–I made a Unicorn Leader list. Under each name on that list, I wrote the traits and behaviors each of those wonderful Unicorn mentors exhibit daily. I then compared the list.

             Of the seven most positive influential leaders, the elusive unicorns, I have had the privilege to work with, each consistently demonstrate the following:

Respect, Trust, Honor, Passion for their calling, Patient Centric attitude, Authenticity, Humble Teachable Spirit

           These unicorns, these extraordinary leaders, seem to know, innately, that there is more to leadership. They “get” the human factor. Not a single one of them is a pushover, a wimp or a conflict avoider. Quite the opposite. They each believe in accountability—not the “catch phrase of the day” accountability- but true accountability to themselves and to their people. They exhibit respect to all members of the team and share expectations, fully expecting them to be not just met, but exceeded. Each of these leaders earn respect by demonstrating respect to every one they meet—from the coffee cart barista to the Chief Medical Officer. They pick up the stray candy wrapper on the floor of the lobby, stop by the department to say hello to the front line team, smile at the lab tech and speak to them by name in the hall. They remain excited and enthusiastic, even on the most chaotic of days and they are voracious learners, rarely if ever assuming they know more than another. Where did they LEARN these traits and why are these traits absent in other leaders?

           I have a theory about that topic that I will share and explore at another time, but for now, consider this:

           As you walk through the doors of your facility tomorrow, take a moment to pause and ask yourself if you are a BODY in a leadership role—or a UNICORN.

Then, behave accordingly.

Happy Week Ahead!

It is National Patient Safety Week! One of the most innovative and critical pieces of new technology to help assure MRI patients are safer is MagnetVisionTM. This application is a teaching tool to help the technologist and radiologist visualize the energies and fields used in the MR imaging process.  In that fashion, it helps them better understand the true risks associated with putting specific implants, in specific positions in specific patients, into specific MR scanners for specific exams, for diagnostic MR imaging studies.  The creator, Dr. Emanuel Kanal, demonstrated this product LIVE via Facebook two days ago during an MR Medical Director/Safety Officer training course held in Las Vegas. The response has been OVERWHELMING! Technologists and radiologists from all over the world are clamoring for this application to help them provide safer patient care!

 

Data was provided to Dr. Kanal by several major vendors including GE, Hitachi and Philips for specific MR hardware, which are modeled in the app. This means that if you utilize these specific MR scanners from these vendors, the app can visually calculate, model, display, and simulate the energies and fields in and around these MR scanners. The app can model the static magnetic field of the MR scanner, its magnetic spatial gradient dB/dx, the imaging gradients dB/dt, and the transmitted RF (B1) fields specific to each of the modeled scanners.  It can also create and model virtually any medical implant and/or foreign body, and the user can label each device with its own energy-specific safety thresholds (e.g., 1.5T, 720 g/cm) for each MRI energy noted above. Reports can be generated demonstrating the energies the implant would be expected to be exposed to, and would alert the user if any would be expected to exceed any published/defined safety threshold for each of the energies noted above.  With a single button push, the app generates a report that provides table, graph, 3D graphics, and text output of the fields/energies to which each implant might be expected to be exposed, and warnings if they approach or exceed published safety thresholds for those energies for each implant being modeled.  For sites so inclined, these reports can even be saved and exported as .pdf files for their site’s EMR to minimize research time on subsequent visits. These equipment manufacturers should be commended for having contributed their field data to this effort to improve patient safety!!

 

MagnetVisionTM  is changing how front line technologists and radiologists keep our patients safe. It does not replace well-trained, knowledgeable staff. It is a teaching tool for technologists and radiologists to enable them to provide safer, more efficient care. MagnetVisionTM  is not intended or designed to tell the technologists or the radiologists that it is safe – or not safe – to perform an MRI on a patient. It is not meant to make medical decisions at all. That is for the radiologist and ordering provider to determine. It is a tool to help the medical professionals make more informed decisions for safe MR practices. This is the future of Imaging safety— technology-assisted guidance— for technologists, radiologists, physicists, and vendors working together to assure our patients are being safely and efficiently imaged.

 

MagnetVisionTM  is currently only available for Apple iOS products. To ensure proper and appropriate utilization of the app, it is being provided free of charge to attendees of Dr. Kanal’s MRMD/MRSO MR Safety training courses. All attendees from the Boston course in 2017 going forward will receive this app to help them understand – and implement – improved patient safety practices.

 

Click here for a preview:  MagnetVision trailer

 

The next Live broadcast demonstration is Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 6:30pm to 8:00 PM EST on the MRI Safety Facebook page.

 

Below are some of the responses to seeing MagnetVisionTM demonstrated live on March 13, 2018.

“I would love to have this app to help me take better care of my patients!”

“I have 8 sites in my health system and to have this app with multi-site functionality would be amazing!”

“This app will take over the MR Safety world!”

“My techs and docs use this app as they preview the upcoming schedule of outpatients to facilitate smoother patient flow. Great time saver and our patient and staff satisfaction is improving!”

“Finally!! Something that makes it easier to provide safer patient care!”

“Truly Amazing!”

“WOW! Great job….and I want it!!”

“This app is a whole lot of amazing!”

“This is so crucial to patient care. Oh, my!!”

 

Best practice is only best practice until it isn’t. We now have a new tool in our patient care toolbox to help our radiologists make medical imaging decisions. Best practice is changing, dramatically. Are you on the forefront, the cutting edge, being innovative? Don’t you want to be?

Have you ever been the MR technologist sitting at the computer, frantically searching for implant device information so you might safely scan a patient–while the minutes tick away and you get farther behind schedule–only to find obscure, confusing MSG map data on the implant….and now you have no idea if you can meet the conditions of the implant or not to safely scan the patient? Do you cancel this exam? Do you even notify your radiologist? How about your manager or director? How many patients a week are you delaying, rescheduling or outright cancelling? What if there were a process available, that, with training, could simplify patient screening? Would you be interested in such knowledge? What information would you need to convince your administration to provide the education and tools? Would you pay for it yourself?

Imaging Leaders– have you ever wondered why your MRI department runs perpetually behind schedule? Are you aware of technologists delaying or cancelling patients due to “surprise” implants or foreign bodies? Have there been MRI related safety events at your facility? Are your patient satisfaction scores in the tank? What about your employee morale? How’s your culture of safety looking? Are your technologists credentialed in MRI? Is your site accredited? Do you have a pending Joint Commission or Department of Health survey? Are you ready? Are your technologists, radiologists and equipment ready? What if there were a method, that, with training, could simplify the screening process in MRI? Would you be interested in your technologists and radiologists having such knowledge?

Radiologists- How many phone call interruptions do you get each day from your MRI technologists? How many are clear, concise and to the point? Are your technologists afraid to ask questions of you to assure patient safety? How engaged are you with your technologists? Are you aware of your responsibility to the patient within Imaging? How comfortable are you with your technologists keeping your patients safe? Have you ever been contacted by one of your MR technologists, frantically searching for implant device information so they might safely scan a patient–while the minutes tick away and you both get farther behind schedule–only to find they are totally confused about the safety conditions on the implant….and you have no idea if the conditions of the implant can be met or not—and you just don’t know if they can safely scan the patient? Do you cancel this exam? Do you leave the decision up to the technologist? How do you think this will affect patient satisfaction? What about the fiscal impact? What about delays in patient care / treatment?

There is a better way.

It begins with trust, education and respect. And it applies across all three roles.

As leaders—and this includes formal and physician leaders—our primary responsibility is to assure our employees have the necessary tools to perform their duties.

As employees, it is our responsibility to use those tools effectively and efficiently.

As radiologists, it is our responsibility to assure our team exercises safe patient care practices and for us to determine that all medical decisions made in Imaging are appropriate.

If your goal is to provide safe, effective, efficient patient care in a respectful, collegial environment, but are not sure how—ask yourself if you are using all the tools at your disposal to meet this goal. Are there education, skills or engagement gaps? How are you assuring the gaps are minimized or eliminated? Are there tools available you have not explored?

One of my leader friends recently shared a story about the British rowing team that ultimately sums up what our focus should be. The British rowing team had not won a gold medal since 1912 and they were hungry for one. In preparation for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the team developed a simple useful strategy that changed the entire focus of the team—and moved them from an average rowing team to winning Olympic gold. They established a one question response to every single decision they made. One. This one question allowed them to gauge every situation, decision, barrier they faced—and not lose focus from achieving their goal.

Do we go to the party the night before training?

WILL IT MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?

Do I eat the doughnuts?

WILL IT MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?

Do we skip training this one day?

WILL IT MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?

 

What is your focus question for your team to zero in on patient safety?

Patient safety—and staff safety—is being determined by every decision you make. Every Day.

Do you provide all the tools necessary for safe patient care? What about training? It is typically the first casualty of budget cuts—often to the detriment of the budget! Are you utilizing innovative technology for safer patient care? Are you aware of the most recent regulatory requirements and procedures impacting patient safety in Imaging? Are your radiologists, nurses and technologists?

What single question are you basing your decisions on each day?