On the Good Ship RBJ

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Reflections on the first year of the journey

What a year—what a breathless, heart-stopping, devastating, and hopeful year this has been for just about everyone I know, including all of us here at The Imaging Center Institute, publisher of Radiology Business Journal.

The year 2008 is the year that brought, willy-nilly, a thicket of obscure financial terms into the vernacular—toxic assets, stock injections, short selling—and the steepest one-week stock-market decline on record. Suddenly, all of us, individuals and institutions, were in the same boat— unless, like the storied firm of Lehman Brothers, we were not in the boat at all. Banks, hospitals, medical equipment man­ufacturers, homeowners, and individual investors all suffered sudden and deep paper losses, as we scratched our heads and wondered where it had gone and if it would ever return. Collectively, we inhaled, grasping tightly the purse strings. A great unease spread out over the country, and extended around the world.

Of course, we did not arrive at this place overnight, nor will we emerge from our plight in a day, but what is clear is that no matter how sound the fundamentals of a business may appear, if the economics do not support it, if people and insurers are unable or unwilling to pay for our service, and if banks are unwilling to provide the bridge money to sustain operations through the thin times, then we have a problem.

In these times, what is required is vigilance, along with a firm hand on the tiller and the courage to enter uncharted waters.

When we launched Radiology Business Journal in April of this year, we did so because, in times of change, it is imperative to keep a keen eye on the compass, as well as on the waters in which you travel. In our first year of publishing this journal, we have brought you in-depth interviews with thought leaders and forecasts by noted consulting firms. We have explored managed care strategies, hospital contracting strategies, mergers and acquisitions, opportunities, threats, and strategies to meet the regulatory demands of a rapidly changing field.

One other requisite, in tough times, is to take care of one's customers. For a radiology practice or department, those customers are legion: patients, referring physicians, payors, and hospital administration. For a journal, the customers are you, the readers, and the vendors who choose to support the endeavor. Before we published our first issue, not a few people were skeptical. Aren’t there enough magazines in the radiology space?

Well, we made it through our first year, with the encouragement of many readers and the support of our affiliates and advertisers. To all of you, we extend our sincerest gratitude. In order to acknowledge the support of our advertisers properly, we will break with our policy of not naming vendor names in the journal's pages on just this one occasion, in order to name the companies that agreed to support us in our first year, when all that we had was a mission and a dream. Here they are, in the order in which they first appeared in our pages.

Hitachi Medical Systems America
FUJIFILM Medical Systems
NightHawk Radiology Services
GE Healthcare
Medical Imaging Specialists
Affiliated Professional Services
3DR Laboratories
AMICAS
Intelerad
GE Healthcare/Centricity PACS-IW
Hologic
Franklin & Seidelmann
Exogen
Visage Imaging
Covidien
VIDAR Systems Corp
TeraRecon Inc
CSI Financial
GE Lunar
Siemens Medical Solutions

Thank you for believing that we had a good reason to exist. By continuing to meet the information needs of our readers and your customers, we hope to earn your support for many years to come.