Caitlin Visek, Service Line Strategy Advisor
For many hospitals, diagnostic imaging gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to marketing.
But with growing patient price sensitivity and steerage from insurers, hospitals have a greater incentive than ever to communicate the value of their services to the market effectively to drive ROI.
Tailoring your message
While many imaging providers emphasize the service-oriented advantages of their centers- hassle-free access or experienced radiologist staff, for example—technology itself can also be a huge draw if leveraged correctly. However, fully maximizing the benefits of an advanced imaging fleet requires customizing your messaging to highlight the particular technical advantages that appeal to unique constituencies.
For most hospitals, there will be three main groups that inflect imaging utilization: patients, referring providers, and hospital administrators. Each of these groups has different needs that marketing efforts should address in order to drive volumes.
Technologies which offer a more comfortable patient experience often appeal to patients, who increasingly act as clinical consumers. For instance, open-configuration and dedicated MRI magnets better accommodate claustrophobic and obese patients.
Similarly, digital breast tomosynthesis use can result in a lower recall rate which reduces unnecessary anxiety for patients receiving mammograms. For these patient satisfiers, raising awareness of these advantages through visual and educational marketing is key.
2. Referring physicians
Reaching out to physicians in the community is also a key strategy for driving utilization. As physicians frequently remain the key decider of patient referrals, keeping providers informed about the specific clinical advantages of relevant technologies will help secure these referral steams.
For this constituency, marketing efforts should emphasize the connection between advanced imaging and superior care quality; for instance hospitals offering CCTA exams with 64-slice CT must gain buy-in from referring cardiologists regarding the exam’s diagnostic value and reduced radiation exposure. Citing relevant clinical trials can help add weight to marketing messages.
Finally, imaging managers must ensure that other program directors remain informed about how investments in imaging technology enhance other clinical offerings and support quality initiatives.
For example, imaging managers should target SPECT/CT messaging to cancer administrators to ensure they incorporate its pre-surgical planning benefits and bone imaging benefits into their larger clinical improvement strategies and branding materials.
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