September 2010

Relationship Advice
By Jim Knaub
Radiology Today
Vol. 11 No. 9 P. 4

How’s your relationship? I’m not referring to your spouse or significant other—while that’s certainly important, rest assured that this space has not become “Dear Jimmy.” I’m referring to the crucial work relationship between a radiology group and a hospital. Does yours need some serious work or just a little special attention?

On page 10, healthcare consultant David Myrice, CPA, MBA, suggests radiology groups ask themselves whether they’re putting what they need into that crucial relationship. Are you meeting your hospital partner’s needs? Realizing that the Internet has forever changed the definition of prompt, do you provide prompt, quality reports? Are you available when the hospital needs you to be there on evenings, nights, and weekends? Are your radiologists readily available to referring physicians?

Your answer to Myrice’s question may be a resounding “yes!” And congratulations if you can take a good, hard look at your group and confidently say that it is doing the job—presuming the hospital shares that assessment. If not, use your radiologist observational skills to figure out how you can improve the relationship.

The truth is that the balance of power is shifting a little more in favor of the hospital. IT enables remote reading. Teleradiology companies have commercialized remote reading into a service that can compete with your group. Like a personal relationship—for the sake of argument, I’ll presume it’s one you want to maintain—smart radiology groups need to think about what their organizations can do to keep their hospital partners from casting a roving eye.

As hospital administrators increasingly realize that they may be gaining the upper hand in this relationship, they would be wise to understand just because you have a hammer, you don’t have to swing it. If you’re having real problems with the radiology group reading your studies, work to fix them before rushing to replace them. (You may even find them a little more receptive to your ideas than in the past.) But don’t forget that there have been enough well-publicized cases of hospital administrators seeing greener grass on the other side of the fence only to find themselves ankle deep in manure when they jump over.

Enjoy the issue.