Industry News

As we launch into 2018, it's a good time to remember that periodically every business needs to take stock and set goals for future growth and opportunity. The New Year is a good time for this activity when our human rhythms are already driving us to perform some valuable soul searching.

If you're involved in the business of nuclear medicine or almost any type of clinical diagnostic service your goal setting is made a bit more difficult because you live in a regulated environment. If you operate within a large institution your task is larger again because of the bureaucracy. But, it is a reality that if you choose to not evaluate your business model because you are busy or don't know how you'll fade into obscurity sooner than you think.

Your analysis need not be complex, but shouldn't be too basic, either.

If you measure and manage your operating unit by counting patient scans/day, it's likely you're missing opportunities within your clinical sphere and within your referral community. A basic analysis makes it difficult to justify upgrades and replacements of equipment, changes in space, personnel, and alternations of your clinical offering. You may end up just "treading water," demonstrating that your job is only to maintain and not grow. Management doesn't tend to fund static operations, which may leave you with older equipment, limited space and chronically starved for staff.

A more dynamic business model demonstrates better responsiveness to the needs of the clinical community you serve.

Transitioning from basic to dynamic business model.

Fortunately, it's not difficult to make the transition from a basic to a dynamic business model. People do it every day. In a regulated environment, a service provider is usually restricted in reach and scope due to the complexities of technology and defined clinical requirements. Your analysis should demonstrate an understanding of the clinical conditions that will drive demand (the market) and include a plan for educating referring physicians and administrators in the benefit of using nuclear medicine (the marketing communications).

Take the example of Henry Wagner, an MD at Johns Hopkins who developed an impressive nuclear medicine offering over his many years in Baltimore. Dr. Wagner never missed an opportunity to let referring physicians and administrators know what nuclear medicine was able to do. When asked how he was able to communicate the message so successfully, he explained, "All day long they receive phone calls from physicians with problem patients, and the question was always the same: 'Can you help with this patient?'" Dr. Wagner was building a brand and driving business to his department—not at the expense of other departments, but for the sake of patient appropriate care.

You can use the same methods Dr. Wagner did to develop an extraordinary nuclear medicine offering at your facility. Analyze your business. Understand the market. Communicate with your customers (the referring physicians) about your capabilities and potential to support them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients.