“Like the Vanguard in an Army”
What does it take let the largest hospital in the world run smoothly? Number one is excellent staff, says someone who should know: Jie Liu is the chief technologist at a hospital with over 10,000 beds in a densely populated region.
radiology.bayer.com (rbc): What made you decide to work for a super-large hospital like the First Hospital affiliated to Zhengzhou University?
Jie Liu (JL): I graduated from this hospital and I love my Alma Mater deeply. However, it was not so big, when I began to work here. I devoted myself to it and saw it grow.
rbc: How many technologists work for you?
JL: We have 200 technologists.
rbc: And how many patients do you see each day?
JL: My team sees an average of 3,800 patients every day.
rbc: What exactly are the responsibilities of radiology technician at your department?
JL: We need to provide clear diagnostic images, of course. Optimizing scanning protocol is another major task.
rbc: Which role do you and your colleagues play in letting the department run smoothly?
JL: We are like the vanguard in an army. We always rush to the front. Our work is like fighting everyday.
rbc: If a technologist applies at your department, what does he have to be like to survive this fight?
JL: Moral quality is the most important trait. Very good clinical knowledge, excellent communication and operation skills come next.
Dealing With Growth
rbc: The First Hospital affiliated to Zhengzhou University is already large and still growing. Why do patients not attend smaller hospitals with less waiting time?
JL: Firstly, we are highly popular with patients for our skills. We have excellent clinical teams in this hospital, who can deal with a vast variety of difficult diseases. Secondly, the price is reasonable. A CT may cost 50 Euros here, while it costs 200 Euros in Europe. Thirdly, we offer quality service. We often work until late at night in order to finish all intraday examinations.
rbc: How do you deal with the fast growth regarding staff?
JL: New recruits must take part in pre-job training. They must also attend the weekly meeting, where we discuss cases. It is set up to guarantee image quality. And we encourage our technologists to attend international and domestic academic conferences.
rbc: How and when do you and your colleagues find time to talk about difficult cases?
JL: First of all, during the technologist meeting every Thursday, which is a precondition for working well. Then we and our doctors have built a WeChat group to discuss various difficult diseases. This means we can improve our job according to their suggestions in time. The work becomes increasingly better with this.
rbc: Why do radiology technicians want to work for the First Hospital affiliated to Zhengzhou University?
JL: This hospital is an excellent platform to improve our abilities. We are well respected by our colleagues and the income is good.
rbc: Do you also have staff from abroad?
JL: We want to attract excellent foreign health technologists as well. And would also like to go abroad to work and learn.
Speed and Quality
rbc: What do you do to make processes fast?
JL: The most important thing is that we have flexible working hours. We adjust the number of technologists on duty to the patient number.
rbc: What do you do to keep quality high?
JL: Three major things: Establishing an effective communication platform for technologists and patients. Strengthening our executive ability and time management, and checking and eliminating deficiencies while optimizeing working procedures.
rbc: Which other major challenges, besides fast growth, are you currently facing?
JL: We need to find high-end technical talents, buy and implement the latest imaging technology, and acquire research funding. We face more and more challenges, but so far we really have done well!
rbc: In which direction do you want to develop your radiology technicians in your department in the next five to ten years?
JL: We want to match the needs of dominant clinical disciplines. So we would like to develop and improve matching technologist teams. For example, we want to establish a research team for the nervous system and the cardiovascular system.
Contrast and Radiation
rbc: A quick word about contrast media and radiation dose management: How important are contrast agents for your work?
JL: Contrast agents are very important. We need them in many cases to correctly detect disease.
rbc: Which role do generic products play?
JL: Our hospital purchases contrast from major international companies, so it is not relevant for us.
rbc: How much focus do you put on radiation protection? How do you evaluate your data?
JL: We are very concerned about radiation protection. I have been working on low radiation doses for the last two years and I have brought the results of these studies to RSNA and ECR.
rbc: Are your patients aware of high radiation dose as a potential problem?
JL: If they do not know, we tell them. In addition to low scan doses, we make sure they have lead protection.
rbc: Finally: What do foreigners usually not understand about radiology in China, but should…?
JL: I am honored to be a part of the radiology community. We are one community around the world, pursuing our own ideals and our careers. However, due to the conditions, we take more responsibility and obligations than radiology technologists in other countries.
rbc: What do you enjoy most about your work?
JL: My favorite part is to operate the machines. It seems to be my life.
About Jie Liu
Chief radiology technologist Jie Liu (3rd from the left) welcomes the Bayer team at his office in Zhengzhou.
Jie Liu is Chief Radiology Technologist at the First Hospital affiliated to Zhengzhou University in Henan, China. Henan is one of the most densely populated provinces in China.