NATIONAL RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGY WEEK
As part of National Radiologic Technology Week, we sat down with Rich Jones, President of Radiology, to learn more about his start as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, what led him to pursue a path in Radiology Leadership, and his thoughts on what the future of Radiology holds.
Interview with Rich Jones, President of Radiology
Rich, many of our Team Members may not know that you began your career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. Can you tell us how you got started in the field, and what inspired you to become a Technologist?
In my second year of business school, I was drawn to doing something where I could have more of a direct impact with people. I was also keenly interested in Nuclear Medicine technology, and so I transitioned to the Nuclear Medicine program. I graduated in 1986 and became licensed through both The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). I began my career at Massachusetts General Hospital where I did clinical as well as research work. While there, I was also trained in MRI and later went on to start the MRI department at New England Baptist Hospital. During this time, I did go back to business school to complete my degree, which enabled me to apply what I was learning in business to how I was managing the imaging centers. I became certified in MR when it became available through the Registry, and provided direct patient care and management for the next 10 years.
What aspect of patient care did you find most rewarding?
When you are engaging and working with patients, you’re getting information needed to really help them get the care and answers that they need – and there’s just a tremendous amount of satisfaction in helping patients. As an organization, that’s what we do. I have a deep respect for our patient care teams. It takes extraordinary effort to consistently do a great job with every patient. Patients are often anxious and looking to get answers and help during some of the most difficult times of their lives, and our team members engage at a level that builds trust and confidence, and that in turn helps us to provide the best experience possible. That’s showing up and engaging deeply with patients.
After a decade in both patient care and management, how did your transition into full-time Radiology Leadership come about?
The biggest reason I made the shift to full-time management was the desire to be part of the solution to providing even better services and a higher level of service to our partners, customers and our patients. One way to do that was to influence our resources, tools and decisions behind the scenes, so I made the decision to go all-in.
From your perspective, what has changed the most in Radiology over this time?
The speed at which the technology is changing, and the speed in which exams and results need to be delivered, means the time with patients has become more constrained. Ten years ago, the average length of exam might have been 45 minutes to an hour; now it might be 20 minutes. So it has become more challenging for our team members, who need to build a relationship with a patient in a shorter period of time – because when you can engage a patient quickly and build trust with them, and show empathy, you’ll typically see better cooperation, better studies done, better image quality. From a patient perspective, this has a positive impact on their experience, and this is reflected in our patient satisfaction results.
What does the future of Radiology look like in 5 years? 10 years? How will our organization contribute to that?
I believe that there will be continued advances in the speed at which exams get done. The aging population is going to increase volumes every year, and I think the way technologists provide services is going to change because of these increases and pressures on the market. I believe the delivery model over time is going to change and I think that our combined company will be on the forefront of how patients are scheduled, how they are cared for, and how they are engaged.
ASRT’s theme for this year’s Radiologic Technology Week is “Essential Together,” which is relevant for our combined organization right now. What message do you have for our collective group of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals?
What you do is important, and what we do as an organization together is to make a positive impact in our patients’ lives. As we move forward together, these concepts are going to become the hallmark of our decisions.