By Keri Forsythe-Stephens

Every December, I briefly summarize the past 12 months in my last editorial of the year. It’s my way to tie up the year with a nice, little bow—to honor it as we prepare for the year ahead. But 2020 is no normal year, and the effects of it will likely be seared in our minds forever. (It certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, “Hindsight is 2020!”)

I write this message on the same computer, in the same physical location as I did in 2019, but in an entirely different world. Instead of traveling to Chicago for the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America like I do every other year, I just took part in my first virtual “booth tour.” It was an experience. Suffice it to say that 2020 has been an experience—albeit one everyone hopes to never repeat. 

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

As with my annual end-of-year message, 24×7 also features an HTM Expert Roundtable every December. I ask those in the trenches—you—to recap the year and talk about the highs and lows. In a normal, non-pandemic year, expert panelists usually ruminate on staffing concerns, the integration of IT and biomed, and cybersecurity challenges.  

This year, unsurprisingly, COVID-19 dominated the conversation. The main point debated by the panelists? Whether the industry will ever get back to “normal” or if the changes brought on by COVID-19 are here to stay. 

One person certainly in-the-know, AAMI’s vice president of HTM Danielle McGeary, holds the latter view. “I’m not sure the healthcare industry will ever go back exactly to the way it was before the pandemic,” she tells 24×7 exclusively. “At a minimum, COVID has redefined how we all view infection control and the types of technology hospitals are utilizing to offer care outside of a traditional hospital setting.”

Then there’s the financial ramifications of the pandemic, McGeary acknowledges. COVID-19 massively impacted healthcare systems’ bottom lines, she maintains, “and cost-saving measures will be at the forefront of health systems’ strategic plans in 2021.”

How this will affect healthcare professionals’ paychecks remains to be seen, however. One thing we will know, though, is HTM professionals’ compensation levels in 2020. The January/February 2021 issue of 24×7 will feature our ever-popular job HTM Salary Survey, with exclusive salary charts by job title and geographic region. (Haven’t taken this year’s survey yet? Take it now here. You will also enter a drawing to win a $150 Amazon gift card.)

It’s been a difficult, life-changing year, but I’m cautiously optimistic for brighter days ahead. And I thank you, my dear readers, for personally being a bright spot in my life. 

Keri Forsythe-Stephens is chief editor of 24×7 Magazine. Questions and comments can be directed to editor@24x7mag.com.