Is Freestanding Imaging Still Alive?
Not only alive, but doing very well, thank you very much. I have had several recent inquiries about how best to jump start imaging centers that have either been abandoned by bureaucratic organizations that could not make them financially viable, or from entrepreneurs that think the time is right to get a new venture going in the outpatient arena. Hospitals are looking for new outpatient strategies, radiology groups that are heavily invested in outpatient centers, and investors looking for business with upside potential are looking very carefully at the landscape that has been “unattractive” for many these past two years and have concluded that although clearly off from its high point, outpatient imaging is nevertheless an attractive business proposition. This is encouraging. The bottom line is that one can still make money in a more mature marketplace. The difference, however, is that unlike when the market was growing wildly, one cannot simply hang a sign on the door and expect the referrals to start flying in the door. Smart business minded health care executives and radiologists can succeed in this new dynamic, and I am seeing evidence that things are beginning to thaw a bit.