Panel: Maintain control over imaging by demonstrating value

In an article in the July issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, the quarterly Masters of Radiology Panel Discussion focused on developing effective strategies for retaining control over imaging, much of which centered on how radiologists can and should demonstrate their value to patients and referring physicians.

David Larson, Department of Radiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, argued that if radiologists focus on providing clinical excellence and service to patients and referring clinicians, rather than simply focusing on retaining control over imaging, that the latter will occur, regardless. That means understanding and improving the value provided in the eyes of both patient and referring physician, even if that value doesn't match reimbursement levels, he said

"In short, I believe that the best way to maintain control of imaging is to consistently do it very well," Larson said.

Alexander Norbash, Department of Radiology, Boston University Medical Center, agreed, pointing out that radiologists "should be interested in value, not necessarily reimbursed value," and that they should be taking steps to effectively communicate to referring providers and patients the value they provide in terms of expertise.

"[O]nly by improving our methods of communication, showing greater responsiveness, and allying with each other can we secure our future and continue to control imaging," Norbash said.

"Service, service, service," to the patient and referring provider is critical, said Ella A. Kazerooni, Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Hospital. Radiologists, she said, should be delivering patient-centered care, not just patient-focused care, she said, which means doing not what radiologists think patients want, but what patients really want.

"This starts with the patient experience from the first call to schedule an appointment or check-in at the imaging suite, to the medical results that of that encounter, and every step in between," Kazerooni said. "Collectively as a professional we have not articulated this commitment."

No one has the absolute right to provide imaging services, provided they've spent the requisite time learning the craft, she added. "To maintain control of imaging means accepting responsibility 24/7/365 with attention to service, quality, and safety to those who require our care."

In an article in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, Dieter Enzmann, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Donald Schorner, M.D., of Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Ariz., argue that in order to best position themselves competitively, radiology practices need to define the dominant value propositions that support their business models.

According to Enzmann and Schorner, there are three main value propositions--the low-cost provider, the product leader, and the customer intimacy models.

To learn more:
- read the article in the American Journal of Roentgenology

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