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On the Podium, in the Winner’s Circle: SR Practices Show Up at RBMA Spark Conference

Eighty percent of all patients never meet their deductible. By educating our community about the cost savings of an outpatient center versus a hospital, we are improving access to high quality care at an affordable price. The bonus is that our hospital partner supports our campaigns. Price transparency is a key element of patient-centered care, and I’m honored that my colleagues in radiology marketing thought the campaign was worthy of recognition.

Mary Christensen
Director of Marketing, Mountain Medical
July 3, 2018

A dozen marketing directors responsible for marketing individual Strategic Radiology practices gathered in Nashville in June for their annual meeting prior to the RBMA Spark marketing conference—as usual, the three hours allotted flew by too fast. It was a great start to a conference that brought a number of marketing directors to the podium to both share their knowledge and collect awards. Content takeaway? We're all a little bit millennial.

Spark opened with a keynote from Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist, who provided a tutorial on the consumer mind, quoting economist Daniel Kahneman: “Consumer behavior is not rational, it’s relational and emotional.” She also emphasized that what worked in the past is unlikely to continue to work because of one big change agent, technology.

“Technology has changed our psychology and it has changed so fast that companies are struggling to adapt,” Yarrow said. “Just a few years ago, no one thought of Amazon as a retailer.”

Yarrow observed that we all are thinking and acting like millennials to some degree. We crave technological innovation, making our brains more malleable—skipping and skimming, hyper-stimulated, and immediately gratified. “It’s on you to make sure things are understandable to consumers and that means making things more visual,” Yarrow emphasized.

Radiologist Kurt Schoppe, MD, and David Howard, director of business development, presented a marketing–physician tag team from Strategic Radiology member practice Radiology Associates of North Texas (RADNTX), Dallas-Fort Worth, on “Why You Should Have a Radiologist on Your Marketing Team.”

Schoppe summed up the why like this: “The most important currency in value-based medicine is going to be relationships. The patient and referring physicians will only know about our value because of you. Help the radiologist make the connection to value.”

Howard shared a case study about how RADNTX responded when a long-time hospital contract was put out to bid.  RADNTX asked its referring physicians to respond in writing to the news, and an outpouring of affirmation for the value of RADNTX’s services helped to secure the contract for the group. 

“Having a radiologist marketing champion is very important,” Howard said.  “We need them to uncover opportunities within the group, and we need vocal marketing champions."

Both Mike Koscis, director of professional relations and marketing, and his digital marketing operative Kyle Baril, from Strategic Radiology member practice Radiology Ltd., Tucson, presented talks at the conference. Kocsis discussed marketing breast imaging and Baril spoke on Google analytics.

Mary Christensen, marketing director, Mountain Medical, Salt Lake City, Utah, collected two Quest awards (Best Patient Marketing Program and Best Digital Marketing Program) for her price transparency campaign featuring Savvy Shopper Sally and Saver Sam. 

After comparing EOBs to uncover an average 40% price differential between the practice’s outpatient imaging prices and those of local hospital providers, Mountain Medical created a campaign educating patients about reimbursement and promoting its own lower-cost locations that was duplicated on the web and supported with advertising and a dedicated phone line for price inquiries. The practice’s outpatient volumes increased 16% between 2016 and 2017. 

According to Christensen, 23% of the patients who responded to the practice’s patient satisfaction surveys (distributed via RadVox, SR’s proprietary patient satisfaction survey) reported having high deductibles that they had not yet met. Only 53% reported having insurance that would cover most or all of the cost. Four percent came out of network because of Mountain’s more favorable prices.

“Eighty percent of all patients never meet their deductible,” said Christensen. “By educating our community about the cost savings of an outpatient center versus a hospital, we are improving their access to high quality care at an affordable price. The bonus is that our hospital partner supports our campaigns. Price transparency is a key element of patient-centered care, and I’m honored that my colleagues in radiology marketing thought the campaign was worthy of recognition.” 

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