From the July 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Brenda Debastiani
It is no secret that the healthcare scene is constantly changing, and that pertains to diagnostic imaging as well!
To keep your business ahead of other local facilities, it is important to remember that marketing your department is key for success. What exactly does marketing mean in the radiology department? One common misconception is that marketing is about advertising, creating a logo, or placing an article in the newspaper. While those tactics are helpful, it is important to remember that marketing is about customer relationships, not simply transactions.
While immediate results are not always seen, relationship building requires a long-term commitment that is consistently applied. How do you do that? First, it is important to recognize that healthcare consumers have become much more involved in choosing where they receive their care. Second, if multiple sites provide similar services in close proximity, it is crucial that your facility has distinguished itself. Patients assume that everyone gives quality imaging, so exactly what can you offer that the other facilities cannot (friendly care, cheaper pricing, etc.)? Third, if relationships are built, patients will return for their care, which builds market share. If patients are not returning, then you must focus on bringing new patients into your practice by attracting them away from other providers. Fourth, by meeting consumer needs and providing education, the marketing process can be elevated to influence a patient’s decision about which procedure to have and where to have that exam performed. Targeting referring physicians, for example, can lead them to influence their patients to come to your facility. Do you have a physician liaison who provides personalized attention to your targeted referring physicians? If not, that is a great place to start in building relationships and increasing your market share. Fifth, it is essential that you attract high-quality medical staff and employees. With increasing competition, it is essential to communicate how working for your facility will meet the employees’ needs and bring long-term benefits to both the employees and your organization.
All of this is complicated, difficult, and time-consuming since there are so many moving and changing parts. Every little movement that you make forward toward building relationships will pay off down the road. Where do you start in building a relationship? Provide training for your employees to provide great patient care and to perform immediate customer service recovery! If there is a “miss” (long wait times, error made, etc.), your employees must be prepared to immediately address it with the involved patient and families. Giving a blameless apology is the most important step to prevent upset patients from becoming disgruntled. Use role-playing and competencies with your teams to ensure understanding and competence.