Software addresses specialty's weaknessOne of the nuclear medicine community's major weaknesses in recentyears has been its failure to adequately market the modality'sunique ability to image body metabolism and function. As a resultof this
One of the nuclear medicine community's major weaknesses in recentyears has been its failure to adequately market the modality'sunique ability to image body metabolism and function. As a resultof this deficiency, nuclear medicine has seen procedures slipaway to other imaging modalities, a phenomenon that could havelong-term ramifications for the health of the specialty.
The nuclear medicine community has recognized the gravity ofthe situation, however, and is taking steps to improve its publicimage. One company, MedImage of Ann Arbor, MI, is developing asoftware program called Strategy that guides nuclear medicinephysicians through the development of a marketing plan for theirpractices.
Strategy is designed to help nuclear medicine practices competeon a level playing field for the patient referrals that are becomingincreasingly scarce as payors cut out unnecessary imaging tests,said Sherry Kruse, product manager for MedImage.
"Nobody is out there trumpeting what nuclear medicinedoes," Kruse said. "With the changing health-care environment,there is only going to be so much money to spend on a patient.Referring physicians have to make a decision as to what kind oftest can give them the most information."
Strategy was unveiled in June at the Society of Nuclear Medicinemeeting in Minneapolis. MedImage will sell the software as a CD-ROMin both Windows and Macintosh formats. The product is in betatesting and is expected to be released for sale later this summerat a list price of $4000.
The program has two parts: a tutorial and an information system.The tutorial makes full use of the capabilities of multimedia,using movies and sound to introduce users to the value of marketing.It also takes users through the development of a marketing planby asking questions about their practices.
"There seems to be a hesitance to say you are even doingmarketing, so we try to educate them," Kruse said.
The other half of the product is an information system intowhich users input the names of referring physicians, numbers ofreferrals, types of cases done, and the organizations for whichthe referring physicians work. The program can help nuclear medicinephysicians put together newsletters, questionnaires, surveys,thank-you letters and invitations to seminars that will help buildpractices.
Kruse believes the program will fill a need in the nuclearmedicine community.
"We've heard a lot of doctors talking about developinga strategy or a plan to promote their businesses because theyexpect to see a drop in revenue," she said. "Strategywill help them tailor a plan exactly for their practices."