We are practicing radiology in an ever more competitive environment. I am continuously reading articles about teleradiology groups that are predatory or about how larger groups are forming and claiming market share.
That pressure makes me ever more aware of what value I can offer that is unique. I've talked about building relationships before but there are a few unique ways we can accomplish that.
One way is to jump at chances to get face time with your non-hospital based technical partners. Grab opportunities to perform procedures for your technical partners. This is a service that can't be taken over rapidly. It requires your physical presence and a unique skill set so it embeds you solidly.
Some express concerns that doing so makes for staffing complications or is inefficient. But it offers a special benefit. It gives you face time with the technical partners. This is especially important if that partner is a referring group. So give them what they want. Even better, think carefully about who is best to place there. That might mean putting someone there that is especially skilled in the sub-specialty or someone who is has strong social skills.
Another opportunity is offered by your relationships with non-hospital based technical partners. Particularly if they are a smaller group or have only one or two imaging devices, most specialty groups don't have knowledge or experience in radiation safety, compliance and ACR accreditation, but all have need of those skills.
So you can suggest a few special services to them. Offer to serve as radiation officer/imaging medical director. You'll have to know the regulations and duties for this, and document your activities. But ultimately, this is a pretty low cost way to partner with them.
Keep an inventory of their hardware and when it will need accreditation and bring this up with them long in advance of their renewal time. Then offer to help them with the process.
While it may seem onerous to do so, you can easily create a relationship with someone who can help with the accreditation process such as an experienced lead technologist with whom you have worked or a third party radiology consultant. You don't have to contract with them, just facilitate the contact. The practice will appreciate your taking a headache off their hands.
And there may be one extra benefit that is not necessarily a direct one. All surgery centers that use fluoroscopy need radiation safety officers (RSO). Even if the surgeons there do not own their own equipment, they have to send radiology referrals somewhere. You can create a win-win-win by proposing to your imaging partners that they use you as the RSO. By doing that you are giving them a service they might not be able to offer otherwise, and that service may strengthen the relationship between the surgeons and your imaging partners — and by extension strengthen the position of your practice.