Its beginning to look a lot like a PPM

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If there was a specter haunting the meeting, it was concern about competing with large teleradiology companies on subspecialization and quality. Considering the size and resources of some of these companies, the concern is not idle. According to Mike Boylan, chief commercial officer, Virtual Radiologic, the company’s more than 400 radiologists read 7 million studies a year, and 30,000 involve critical findings. It takes a highly engineered workflow featuring a sophisticated IT workflow platform and a well-oiled operations center with 100 employees to achieve those productivity numbers.

The company has closed a series of practice acquisitions this year, and representatives from those practices typically cite the technology platform as a factor in their decision to be acquired. “When you think about the typical practice, you have a radiologist reading from one platform and then sliding across the room to read from another,” Boylan says. The vRad Enterprise Connect platform is cloud-based and features a universal worklist.

The company features an employed model and when a practice is acquired, money changes hands, but future compensation is performance based. “They have an interest in the performance of the business,” Boylan explains. “It’s in our mutual best interest to make sure we do the right thing with the practice.”

When asked what lies ahead for the company, Boylan says: “What you’ve seen us do with all of the practice acquisitions is where we are headed. We understand the value of the local practice—IR, relationships, Grand Rounds, hospital committees—but they also have to get more efficient and they need infrastructure.”

While I sat talking with Boylan, a wave of déjà vu washed over me: Does anyone remember the physician practice management companies of the mid- to late-90s?