By Dennis Schiraldi
Growing patient volume in an outpatient imaging center is more challenging than ever. While competition has always been fierce in the ambulatory market, hospitals began to adopt the physician liaison model, making the competitive landscape a little more crowded. Here are three ways, that extend beyond rewarding offices with free lunches and donuts to grown your imaging volume:
1. Physician education - First and foremost the foundation of every great marketing program in an outpatient imaging center should focus around developing a relationship with doctors by educating referring physicians on imaging procedures. This means the marketing representative sitting with technologist and radiologist to make sure they are aligned with exams and protocols so they (marketing) can educate the referring community. Education of both physicians and their staff is the key to better outcomes.
2. Implement a digital strategy - An imaging center should no longer just rely on a marketing person to conduct face-to-face, in office visits to build relationships to grow patient volume. For little or no money at all, coordinating an integrated direct and digital marketing approach can be a very cost effective way to engage both physicians, their office staff and patients through social media and has the potential to help grow your business by 10 to 20%.
3. Everyone plays a role - Owners, radiologists, RT’s, imaging center staff, marketing and even patients, yes that’s right patients. As patients are leaving they generally will tell people about their experience good and bad. Why not take advantage and give them some tips on how they can help, i.e. Like your Facebook page, ask them to share your Facebook page with 10 of their friends, follow you on Twitter, etc. Be sure to have all your employees engaged in your social media pages. Get your staff involved in monthly goals to keep everyone working toward the same objective. It doesn’t necessarily have to be increase in patient volume, it could be to minimize cancellation rates, improve report turn-around-time, etc. Come up with a metric and hold everyone accountable, it will help drive productivity!
Additionally leveraging technology to mine physician data in such areas as: Monthly referrals, scanning room productivity and other operational efficiency is key in analyzing data that will arm your marketing staff with data and pull together strategy to manage towards impacting the overall growth of your imaging center. medQ's Q/ris 3000 provides imaging centers robust solutions and services that will enhance the overall experience for the referring physician and their patients.
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