Convenience helps mammography facilities keep patients

August 11, 2008

Location! Location! Location! The magic word for retail business success may also have a huge impact on breast imaging centers. Patients cite convenience to home or work as the main reason they changed mammography facilities, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati.

Location! Location! Location! The magic word for retail business success may also have a huge impact on breast imaging centers. Patients cite convenience to home or work as the main reason they changed mammography facilities, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati.

Study findings suggest that urban centers should consider expanding services, particularly when patients show dissatisfaction with a facility's location, transportation access, or safety. Location comes often to the decision table when patients need to choose a screening mammography provider, and it is becoming a major factor in patient attrition, said lead author Dr. Mary C. Mahoney, a radiologist at the UC Barrett Cancer Center in Cincinnati.

"Our study showed that even patients who were satisfied with the level of care they received at our university-based center still left our practice," Mahoney said.

The study included 303 current mammography patients ("stayers") and 117 patients who no longer received mammography at the university-based center ("leavers"). Among the leavers, 37% cited convenience to home or work as the reason for leaving the university-based site and choosing a new mammography provider. About 15% of those who left the university-based center cited difficulty scheduling appointments, and 14% indicated that their current mammography provider was mandated by their insurance provider.

Among the stayers, 20% cited doctor or hospital referral, and 19% pointed at the quality of care at the university-based site as the reasons they chose to continue to have their mammograms there. When asked about the most positive factor regarding the patient's most recent visit, they cited friendliness of staff and technologists.

"As a result of this study, we have opened a free-standing patient-centered facility in a more convenient location, designed specifically for our screening mammography patients," Mahoney said.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Digital mammography struggles with PACS compatibility glitches

MRI breast cancer staging proves benefits, shortcomings

Breast MRI CAD zeroes in on malignancies

Imagers seek clarity on pool of supplemental screening patients