How has the economy impacted the radiology industry?
We’re like everybody else; we’re getting hammered both from the government and from the payers. The payers have the deck stacked in their favor, of course, both by the government and by themselves just with their sheer size and lack of competition. It has nothing to do with what you charge and has everything to do with what they feel like paying. The payers are really positioning themselves for reduced costs.
As a radiology practice, we see it from both sides – as an employer and as a healthcare provider. You know, on one hand our premiums are going up 39 percent and, on the other hand, our reimbursements are going down. How does that happen? Where is the fairness in that?
We’re looking at ways to improve our professional business. There are a couple approaches you can take. You can take the approach that can try and squeeze every penny out by using technology. You can get caught up in storage networks and virtualization. These are all good types of technologies but, at the end of the day, none of it matters.
What really matters is your core business. How do you do more business with the same resources that you have? That’s what you need to figure out.
We’re doing that, and that’s why I think we are stable. It isn’t because there are all these forces out there working against us; it is because we focus on the core business and making that core business as competitive and distinctive as possible.
We don’t want to be in a business that is nothing more than a commodity. Once you are a commodity, the only thing that matters is price. And once you start competing on price, you are a loser. You need to differentiate yourself as a world class provider and make people want to work with you because you provide better service than everyone else.
That’s why I like Corepoint. I don’t think Corepoint Health is the cheapest integration engine on the market, but I think they are the best one on the market. I think Corepoint is focused on differentiating themselves, not as a commodity and competing on price, but as a world class provider. Your services are excellent. We wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the high quality services that we get from Corepoint Health.
We feel that we provide value-added services beyond just interpreting your exams. We help with protocols; we help with IT problems that a small hospital may not be able to solve on their own. When our hospital partners start to get into a new technology that we already have experience with, we can help them avoid mistakes.
The smaller hospitals are getting into big time things they were never doing before. They are doing digital mammography and fixed MR at small hospitals, they are doing this advanced procedures they were never doing in these places before. I mean CT, MR and full field mammography; those are totally new technologies completely foreign to these places.
Part of the added value for us is making sure they don’t get themselves into trouble when they try and do these things. And so we provide a lot of value added service that hopefully differentiates us from our competition.
Joe Moore is the CIO at Radiology Consultants of Iowa. As Iowa’s largest group of radiologists, Radiology Consultants of Iowa (RCI) has been providing Eastern Iowa communities with radiological services for more than 70 years. At RCI facilities, they offer the latest in high-technology medical imaging services such as High Field (1.5T) MRI-MRA, Open MRI, Spiral CAT Scan, Ultrasound, Color Doppler, Mammography, DEXA and QCT Bone Densitometry, SPECT Nuclear Medicine, Positron Emission Tomography Imaging (PET) and Computed Radiography (CR). / RCI takes pride in their staff of Board Certified radiologists who have advanced training in the areas of Nuclear Medicine, Neuroradiology, Muskuloskeletal Radiology, Chest Radiology, Body Imaging, Mammography, Ultrasound, and Interventional Radiology. www.rciowa.com