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How to keep your diagnostic imaging costs down

By Kitz Parker, Senior Vice President of Operations

For a medical facility, no matter the size, keeping your costs down is important for several reasons – and can help you better serve your patients.

Your patients are facing rising costs in all aspects of their medical experience. “Physicians’ primary ethical obligation is to promote the well-being of individual patients,” writes the American Medical Association, but also “Managing health care resources responsibly for the benefit of all patients is compatible with physicians’ primary obligation to serve the interests of individual patients.”

Numed has decades of experience in serving the diagnostic imaging needs of our clients. No two needs are the same, that means being adaptable and fitting the exact concerns of our clients with a time-tested, appropriate and expedient solution is necessary.

Let’s get into some of the key challenges when it comes to diagnostic imaging needs, and how best to solve them.


Staffing

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to diagnostic imaging costs is the staffing it takes to keep up with the various forms of imaging. Technologists’ salaries are on the rise, and technologists are becoming increasingly more specialized. In the past it was not uncommon for technologists to be cross-trained across two or more imaging disciplines. Today, there is far less cross-training happening between the different fields and, in fact, because of the trend towards specialization most technologists only work on certain modalities, such as CT, MRI, PET/CT or nuclear medicine. It is for this reason it has become necessary for facilities to employ multiple technologists to provide all of their diagnostic imaging services.

Companies like Numed can help alleviate this concern by not requiring you to have in-house technologists to begin with. Our staff of highly trained technologists are all certified in their areas of specialization and maintain their continuing education units (CEU) annually. They meet or exceed the necessary qualifications and can become part of your staff without requiring you to pay for an in-house team.


Equipment

Keeping up with the latest diagnostic imaging technology is not cheap, and servicing that equipment is very expensive as well. There are multiple ways to solve this problem. First, equipment can be purchased or contracted that may not have the bells and whistles of other equipment but costs less without compromising image quality or clinical utility. Also, equipment service is a key component in maintaining image quality and maximizing equipment performance. Quality service can extend the serviceable life of equipment and delay a decision to purchase new equipment to when absolutely necessary. Similarly, purchasing equipment not at a specific physician suggestion but based on longer-term need is advised.


Volume

At Numed, we take great pride in working with facilities of all sizes, including many smaller facilities that may be the only medical resource in their rural community. For these locations , providing quality diagnostic imaging for their patients is so important, yet if volume is lower, it may be difficult to justify purchasing certain technology. For example, how can a small facility have a successful nuclear medicine department and still make it financially feasible?

One way to accomplish this is to share medical and support staff as well as technologists and equipment - and by modifying schedules to provide specific services on certain days of the week. This way, you can still serve your community but not face exorbitant costs. Numed can help with short- and long-term needs in this scenario, catering services to the exact needs of the facility.

It’s so important for smaller facilities to give their patients the option to “stay home” rather than go to a larger facility farther away. Patients would rather stay with their hometown physician who they are comfortable with, and if the facility can offer all necessary imaging services, it not only will be a marketing and a financial success, but a win for the community as well.


No matter the need of our clients, we fit the services to match that challenge and solve their diagnostic imaging goals so they can better serve their patients. It’s what has worked for Numed for nearly 45 years and will continue to in the future.