RBMA: Radiology’s five-minute forecast

 - Cheryl Proval
Cheryl Proval, Editor

The Radiology Business Management Association brought back its popular five-minute forecast session at the Fall Educational Conference in Seattle earlier this week.  It just may be the perfect information-delivery format for our technology-induced attention-deficit-disorder world. For email purposes, I’ve condensed the whole experience to five minutes total:

David Anderson, CliftonLarsonAllen, on information security: People want all information right now, from anyplace, and this has lead to an unprecedented number of people coming together to share data and systems.  Enter into these agreements with care, as your patient’s data is only as secure as the weakest link in your network. With the breach of Target’s data, an HVAC vendor was the original target, but there were some integrations that made it easy to get into Target.

Keith Chew, Integrated Radiology Partners, on value-based payment modifier (VM): Value-based pay is around the corner. If you are a practice of 100 or more, your performance on PQRS quality measures will affect your payment in 2015. If you are a practice of more than 10 (and less than 100), your performance will affect your payment in 2016.  Cost of care will also be factored into the VM. CMS is collecting data now on the cost of the care you provide your patients. Physicians can view their Quality and Resource Use Report (QRUP) at www.portals.cms.gov.

Raif Erim, Regents Health Resources, on patient-centered radiology: The future of radiology is moving into the hands of consumers, and price transparency will be a major force in this transition. But when surveyed on what constitutes value in healthcare, most tech-savvy patients—those invested in online health—did not know how to assess value in healthcare. Radiology needs to start working on that now.

Mike Mabry, Radiology Business Management Association, on regulatory issues: The lowdown—don’t look for anything on the SGR until next year; a potential pay-for could be the site-neutral payment that MedPAC has been pushing.  The good news: the well appears to have run dry on Congressional pay cuts for radiology, but CMS is a wild card. Closing the in-office ancillary exception is unlikely, and will happen only as a pay-for.

Katie Robbins, Charlotte Radiology, on marketing: It’s time to reassess and find the opportunities in the market, starting with the new patient base. When you are reaching out to these new customers, remember that they can be brand ambassadors (as well as destroyers). Don’t try to do everything in one ad (and don’t beat your chest). Robbins discovered that 25% of the people calling the call center weren’t calling about appointments and made it her business to find out what they wanted.

Sayed Zaidi, MD, Radiology Associates of Canton, on trends impacting the practice: Consolidating health systems want a uniform radiology service and groups need to partner with each other to deliver—or be picked off one by one. Start working with your hospitals now on defining quality metrics and population health management. Your secret weapon is interventional radiology—there are opportunities to manage long-term chronic diseases, particularly renal disease. Hepatocellular carcinoma is another area of opportunity. CVS and Walmart will eventually have X-ray and ultrasound (as will patients). Prepare for partnering with them now.

That’s all for now, folks!

Cheryl Proval