In a recent Medical Imaging Talk update, they discussed the topic of proving value with better data in radiology. It’s not easy to prove value or even good quality in radiology but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do. Radiologists have simply started to drown in the ocean of other physicians because patients are rarely face-to-face with them. It’s easy to lose control of the patient experience… when you aren’t really part of it.
Dr. David Levin, chairman emeritus of the Department of Radiology at Jefferson Medical College and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital had some wise words on the subject. He said, “We’ve let ourselves become the invisible doctors, and that is something none of us are happy about.” By taking on a more consultative role, radiologists can bring themselves back out to the forefront of medical imaging. There are a lot of things radiologists can do to provide more value and showcase their quality but even more important than that, is finding a way to express those positive things.
Levin says, “You can’t just beat your chest and proclaim to the rest of the world that you provide high-quality imaging,” he says. “Everybody says that. So those words don’t mean a damn thing.” So how can radiologists set their business apart?
- Start by branding your patient experience. What are some small things you can do to set yourself apart? Simply having a radiologist available to speak with patients or referring physicians is a game changer. Also consider things like comfort; explore using fluffy or cloth robes instead of paper robes.
- Go above and beyond with regards to service. Instead of directing patients where to go, consider walking them and introducing them by name to the next staff member.
- Offer more options to patients and improved access to pricing and communication lines so it’s more convenient for them to use your services. Ex: Extended hours, weekend hours or mobile-unit options
- Work with other specialties to offer suites of services. Perhaps bring in another specialist to your office once a week to provide access to more specialized procedures. This could be especially valuable in rural areas.
- Let the quality of your radiology services speak for itself. Showcase your patients’ testimonials in a way that will make potential patients confident in the value you’re providing.
- Be aware of the new PQRS (Physician Quality Reporting System) metrics as they evolve because they may start to help qualify radiology data, quality and value.
A few tricks for improving your radiology business and showcasing your quality:
- Don’t waste your time tracking metrics that don’t matter to your patients, focus on what matters to them
- Use your resources to help you get creative. RBMA conferences and forums can be extremely helpful.
- Steal ideas from other industries. Think about what makes your experiences at your favorite restaurants, hotels or shops so memorable and consider implementing those elements into your patient experience.