Thinking about stratifying your imaging technology? Think about your people. Part 2:

by Skinner & Associates’ Guest Contributor: David Whitney, CTO of Medical Diagnostic Imaging Group (MDIG)

As healthcare organizations consider stratifying their imaging technology, the process of augmenting their technical skill-sets to sustain a newly adopted platform can be easily overlooked. Part 1 provided a high level overview of what stratified technology is, and what skills and roles are required to plan for an environment. Part 2 assumes an organization has already analyzed requirements and gaps within their existing environment, and is focused on fulfilling those needs.

How can an organization address resource challenges?

While this may seem like an age-old human resource challenge, building or sustaining a business may conflict with an organization’s strategy to grow a business. Growth cannot be impacted by a behind-the-scenes reallocation of resources. Metaphorically, addressing these challenges is similar to changing the tires on a racecar while it circles the track. Typically, pit stops are designated along straightaways of a track and designed for addressing maintenance at a point of lesser course disruption and influence from track participants. As with racing, timing is essential to performing maintenance at points which are least disruptive to day-to-day operations or disruptive to growth strategies. Organizations must be free to address the challenges of a twisty road ahead, while establishing predetermined maintenance points to address the car. Timing is essential; expedient execution is critical. Many solutions exist to address the timing and execution of an organization’s resources.


Continuing Education Programs:

An excellent option for organizations maintaining a clearly defined and long straightaway approach to future state development. Education and training programs provide an excellent long term strategy, but may not provide the immediate needs for an organization. While these programs provide career path engagement and an excellent employee retention benefit, they must make sense for the bigger picture of an organization’s transformation. It is essential to invest in your talent pool but cost, duration, staff capacity, and criticality should be mutually considered when approaching resource gaps. Regardless, an organization must still understand its future state roadmap and one solution may not fit all technical initiatives.

Permanent Placement:

An excellent option for organizations maintaining a clearly defined and long straightaway approach to future state development. Long-term recruiting may require minimal upfront investment, but candidates must be fully vetted to understand what value and impact they will have within an organization’s current and future state. Although permanent placement is a short term investment, long term expenses to maintain employee skill-sets offset upfront savings and critical to maintain value and employee satisfaction needed for retention. An organization must also closely track employee satisfaction to ensure these investments are protected over the longer term, and return on investment is realistic. Social media, job boards, and word-of-mouth provide cost effective avenues for sourcing talent, but an organization must maintain a strong understanding of resources available in today’s market. Now that an organization understands which gaps exist, it must ensure each candidate is vetted by a stakeholder who understands what to “specifically” look for within the pool of candidates. By considering a quality recruiter with deep industry relationships, an organization can offset much of this job-to-candidate matching and achieve a high-success rate of employee adoption.

Staff augmentation:

An excellent option for organizations attempting a challenging or short to mid-length straightaway approach to future state development. As a short to mid-term solution, staff augmentation will handle a here-and-now solution, but expense may be higher as compared to permanent placement over the duration of an initiative. A major advantage to augmentation is the ability for staffing in accordance with the scope of an initiative. Cost can be contained and long-term expense is limited if the objective and duration is precisely defined. However, an organization must always examine their future state roadmap and consider any likelihood of the role as permanent placement.  In such event, identifying a temp-to-perm placement is always possible during initial negotiation and selection. Once again, utilizing a quality recruiter or consultant to assist with augmentation can provide a high-success rate of employee adoption.


An excellent choice for organizations addressing a very challenging, undefined, or extremely short straightaway to future state development. Although the highest short term expense, a quality consultant can provide the most flexible solution for initiative driven objectives. Instead of focusing on individual talents, an organization can focus on initiatives while exploiting a consultant’s tool-box of skill-sets. However, choosing the right consultant or group requires an investment in diligence. The chosen consultant must be able to deliver on-time, at cost, and provide the value as defined by an organization’s needs. With the correct choice, an organization can accurately forecast and control bottom line costs. Keep in mind that expense overrun can become a costly mistake with these precious commodities when an organization loses sight of its short-term initiatives and milestones.

In conclusion, creating a stratified imaging platform will provide a flexible and cost effective solution for an organization. However, the sustainability and success of a stratified environment is dependent on the people that support it. By sourcing personnel according to the results of resource analysis, an organization can effectively realign its people with the processes and technology.


Dave Whitney is a former candidate and client of Skinner & Associates. UnknownDave is the Chief Technology Officer at Medical Diagnostic Imaging Group (MDIG) based in Phoenix, AZ and a frequent contributor to the subject of Health Information Technology.

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