Large and prestigious with four decades of experience, academic credentials and advanced health information technology, New Jersey’s University Radiology fills in more than just a geographic hole for in Strategic Radiology’s growing network of radiology practices.
“We are looking to be smart and not just add groups to add groups," explains Arl Van Moore, Jr., M.D., CEO of Strategic Radiology. "SR as an organization is interested in aligning with groups that would help in the mix and be synergistic to what we have already put together.”
University Radiology is the 16th group practice to join Strategic Radiology, and the first in New Jersey. Qualities that stood out, Dr. Moore says, included University Radiology’s strong administrative and physician leadership, its teleradiology experience both domestically and abroad, and its impressive academic connections. It serves as the academic radiology faculty at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
In addition, University Radiology has strong health information technology (IT) experience and ideas, Dr. Moore says, which is something Strategic Radiology can benefit from as it makes plans and puts the structures in place to leverage its own growing pool of patient data to inform best practices, control costs and demonstrate outcomes. He notes that even large integrated delivery networks like Kaiser Health have faced challenges in mining health IT for useful information that can improve care and control costs.
“We understand that it is not going to be easy, and our challenge is to have the right folks in the right places and collect the right data early on in order to have the greatest degree of success,” he explains.
For its part, University Radiology gains the leverage of greater size while maintaining its patient centric mission and core values as opposed to compromises that may have been necessary if UR became part of a public mega radiology company or became employees of a large hospital network systems, says University Radiology Chairman of the Board Robert E. Epstein, M.D.
“What intrigued my practice is that SR’s member groups are very similar to us in that they are physician owned and run,” he says. “This is a ten-fold larger organization, but each member practice has a similar culture focused on physicians and excellent patient care.
University Radiology is the largest provider of subspecialty radiology and teleradiology services in New Jersey. Its more than 115 board certified radiologists interpret 1.2 million radiology procedures per year. It has nine centers and seven hospital locations. While this is large compared to an average practice, a regional leader still does not have enough leverage with payors, vendors and policy makers that national corporate radiology groups or hospital networks may have, Dr. Epstein says.
“The truth is that when you look at what else is out there ... even a 100 person group is not large enough to realize all the potential benefits of scale,” he says.
Dr. Epstein also adds that joining with Strategic Radiology is a “diversification strategy” that puts University Radiology in a stronger position to adjust to rapid change in the U.S. health care delivery system and indeed even contribute to the decisions that will be made about the future role of radiology in health care.
“We don’t know exactly what is going to happen, but we know we want to be at the table as the discussions are had in terms of how the radiology field and industry will evolve,” he says.
In particular, the potential to pool data with other Strategic Radiology groups in order to demonstrate the value of quality radiology in controlling the overall cost of care, rather than just working on achieving small incremental advancements in efficiency was attractive to Dr. Epstein.
Current SR members include:
- Advanced Radiology Services; Grand Rapids, MI
- Austin Radiological Association; Austin, TX
- Charlotte Radiology; Charlotte, NC
- Diversified Radiology; Denver, CO
- Hill Medical Corporation; Arcadia, CA
- Inland Imaging; Spokane, WA
- Jefferson Radiology; Hartford, CT
- Mountain Medical Physician Specialists; Salt Lake City, UT
- Northwest Radiology; Indianapolis, IN
- Quantum Radiology; Atlanta, GA
- Radiology Associates of North Texas; Fort Worth, TX
- Radiology Associates of South Florida; Miami, FL
- Radiology Ltd.; Tucson, AZ
- Riverside Radiology and Interventional Associates; Columbus, OH
- Southwest Diagnostic Imaging; Phoenix, AZ and affiliates Scottsdale