It Takes Will to Fight Commoditization
Over the past ten years, medical imaging has evolved to a highly competitive specialty in which patients and referrers are failing to see the value of your facility over another. “Commoditization” is the word that has been used ad infinitum.
What may be surprising is that the evolution was not only avoidable, it is still correctable. What is required for the course correction, however, is not a new business or marketing plan, nor a new CEO or any other administrative change. What it takes is the one element that is responsible for the success or failure of
Good Patient Communication Matters, So Why is it So Hard?
Improving physician communication skills is an increasingly hot topic, as the Wall Street Journal recently noted, because of a confluence of factors, including the rise of the empowered patient, malpractice suit trends, and changes in reimbursement that tie payment to metrics like patient satisfaction. However, as diagnostic imaging specialists well know, good communication takes time and effort that is largely unrewarded.
On top of this, even the most well-written and thoughtful radiology reports can be misread (or not read at all) by the ordering physicians. Never mind what may happen when patients are able to read their
Why Your Staff Needs Empowerment, Now!
Call this empowerment, part two, or, “The Power of Empowerment.” A month ago, my daughter, Kaitlyn, 22, began a career at Disneyland. To start, she is working in the park operating various “attractions,” which you know as rides. A couple of weeks ago, a boy of about seven spilled an entire box of popcorn. Without batting an eye, Kaitlyn walked over to a nearby popcorn stand and requested a replacement box, which she then gave to the boy.
With the park averaging about 35,000 Guests per day, there is probably a lot of spilled popcorn and replacing it could
A Bite of the Poison Apple
Private talks between health insurers and brokers warning of steep premium increases in 2014 were front-page news today in the Wall Street Journal, with costs for some self-purchasing consumers expected to more than double. The article juxtaposes this development with a 2009 projection by the Congressional Budget Office stating premiums would actually decline when coverage broadened.
Let’s get real. A 2009 financial projection—especially from what could be seen as a branch of the White House—should be considered little more than a fantasy. Earlier this week, I heard one of the authors of a book on the financial
The EHR Interoperability Disincentive
“If you bring her to our urgent care, we’ll be able to see what was done in her record,” the pediatric R.N. told me with a winning smile when I’d asked what to do if my 3-year-old’s urinary tract infection wasn’t better by the following day, a weekend.
It was a subtle and winning bit of patient steerage that I’d run into many times before, both personally and when dealing with health issues for my children. There is an urgent care office just blocks from our home, but when ill, my
Lessons from the Airline Industry
Great leaders (like great health IT solutions) are able to access relevant information across the breadth of industries (and platforms), discern pattern in chaos, and transmit the resonant truths to those they lead. Warner L. Thomas, who took the reins at Ochsner Health System as president and CEO in 2012, likes to talk about the parallels between health care and the airline industry with his management team.
When he opened the recent HIMSS meeting in New Orleans on March 4, he shared the following: In 1985, the top three airlines (United, American, and the defunct TWA) owned 40% of the
Company Model Kickbacks In The Hospital Setting
In an article last August (OIG Disapproves Two Referral Arrangements as Kickbacks), I addressed the issue of kickbacks disguised as management fees and in the form of the so-called “company model.”
Those arrangements, which began in the anesthesia but which are by no means limited to it, originated in the outpatient facility setting.
Prior to the formation of the “company,” specialty services are provided by physicians for their own, or their group’s, account. After formation, only those specialists who become employed or subcontracted remain, with a significant share of the fees redirected to the
Benefits of Empowering Staff and Contractors Outweigh Risks
One of the most important but overlooked keys to a quality experience for your referrers and patients is staff empowerment. This is particularly important if you outsource your billing.
Here’s one scenario: Your patient, Mrs. Jones, receives an invoice for a small amount, say under $20. It doesn’t matter who is to blame, what matters is how the situation is handled.
Mrs. calls the number on the invoice and starts a conversation with your billing department that goes something like this:
Billing: Hello, Acme Medical Imaging, this is Jane, how may I
Listen to Patients, not PCPs, on Radiology Report Access
Technological change is driving historic changes in how health care is delivered and paid for, and quite often radiologists, because they are on the leading edge of many of these technological advancements, are caught in the middle. One important example is in the area of giving patients direct access to their imaging test results.
Advocating for more access are certain patient groups, health IT leaders and the government. Just this month, Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health information technology at the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), and his colleagues wrote in Health Affairs about the
A Radiologist Swings Back on Escalating Health Care Costs
In the January 15 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Steve Lipstein, the president and CEO of St. Louis based BJC HealthCare, presented a commentary on “Why medical charges appear to be so high and still growing.” He compares two health care providers who offer the exact same imaging services — ABC Imaging Center, located in a community where most of the patients have private health insurance, and XYZ Hospital, located in a different, more diverse community. He goes on to say that for patients with private health insurance, XYZ Hospital must receive three times more per exam than ABC Imaging