By Barbara Dumery
Remember the 90’s? MTV, Madonna, Beanie Babies – it was a decade
defined by grunge music, the Clinton administration, and individuals daring to
be different. Pop culture aside, those were great years of unprecedented
growth of imaging. Radiologists were the darling specialists getting the latest
and greatest scanners—thinner slices, more images, better visibility.
As we look back, we realize times
are very different now. We’ve passed
through Deficit Reduction Act (DRAs), which had a significant impact on the
image volume growth, and we’re about to enter the next phase—Accountable Care
In the world of ACOs, radiologists
are no longer a revenue center for a hospital but instead are transitioning into
becoming a cost center for an ACO. These
organizations are responsible for the total cost of care for a population of
patients. Healthcare providers,
including Imaging Services, are part of the ACO, providing care for that group
of patients and accountable for the quality, cost, and outcomes.
What are the things that radiology
groups will need to do in order to become more relevant and remain viable in
the 2010’s? Here are my top three:
joint ventures with hospitals: First and foremost, to remain
viable, you will want to ensure that your radiology practice is part of an
Accountable Care Organization. Work with your affiliated hospitals to develop
joint ventures, aligned to common goals and incentives.
more patient-centric service: One of the biggest financial
impacts in ACOs will be when the patient decides to receive care outside of the
healthcare provider groups within the ACO. The ACO is still on the hook to pick
up that bill, and they are not receiving the reimbursement for that encounter. To
that end, it will be critical that patients choose your radiology practice,
especially in highly competitive geographic areas.
the impact on improving patient outcomes: For hospital joint ventures to be
successful and to ensure that patients seek out services at your practice, it
will be key to tangibly demonstrate the value of your imaging services, for
both preventative and diagnostic exams.
Long gone are the days of the 90’s,
but radiologists should take this time and consider it a period of growth and
reconstruction. Accountable Care
Organizations will change the way that radiology practices do business. How
closely aligned are you to your affiliated hospitals? How is your radiology practice positioned for
taking part in the ACO world of the future?
Barbara Dumery is the Director of Diagnostics Solutions
Marketing at Nuance Communications. She joined Nuance in
2006 and has over 15 years of experience in healthcare IT. Nuance Healthcare is
the market leader in providing clinical understanding solutions that accurately
capture and transform the patient story into meaningful, actionable
information. Prior to joining Nuance, Barbara was the Senior Product Manager at
eMed Technologies. She graduated from Tufts University in ’95 with a BSEE in
Electrical Engineering and in ’97 with an MSEE in Electrical Engineering,