The Importance of Having a Medical Imaging Business Strategy

2011-09-22
 

medical imaging, medical imaging businessDeveloping a strategy for a medical imaging practice can be daunting, says Brian Baker, but it’s absolutely necessary for survival and growth in today’s medical marketplace.

Baker is the president of Regents Health Resources, a Tennessee-based medical imaging consulting firm. His comments on developing strategic plans were delivered at the recent AHRA in Dallas.

Baker likes to use the example of Intermountain Healthcare to demonstrate his points.

The 23-hospital, 32,000-employee organization was known for its high-quality care, but had an inefficient medical imaging operation. Worse, Intermountain did not know exactly how inefficient it was – or how to improve – because it had no hard data to analyze. Baker convinced the company’s leadership to embrace strategic planning head on, starting with an extensive data-gathering operation that included information on about 2.7 million data lines, 500 interviews and surveys, and the shadowing of several patients.

What came next was the hard part: Analyzing the data, facing the bad news, and developing a strategic plan for improvement.

Intermountain found that its medical imaging system was often inefficient and unresponsive to patient needs, and deficient when it came to using and generating revenue. It also found that its market share was lower than expected.

In light of the data, Baker and Intermountain leadership developed a 14-point plan to improve the company’s medical imaging operations, which included streamlining of scheduling, developing performance metrics and goals, and clarifying lines of authority and accountability.

Intermountain is currently in the process of implementing system-wide changes, so it’s too soon to know what the results will be. But Baker thinks that the strategic planning process has already born fruit for the organization. It forced everyone in the medical imaging system to think analytically about their processes and to ask whether common procedures really benefitted patients. And that, thinks Baker, is bound to lead to improvement.

This blog post contains information from a recent article in HealthImaging.com.

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