How to Start a Diagnostic Center

If you’re considering starting a diagnostic imaging center yourself, you’ll want to first consider IF you should begin working toward opening an imaging center, HOW TO BEGIN your process for planning out this mammoth endeavor, and WHAT IT WILL TAKE in the end to get the center up and running and, most importantly, profitable.

So. How do you open a diagnostic center? There’s more to it than many people realize. The first step is determining whether you should consider opening a center of your own. The most valuable thing you can do at the beginning is always research and asking the right questions. Here are some of the most important things you’ll need to know to be successful.

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The Total Cost Of Starting An Imaging Center

Everything starts with money. No matter where you stand on a variety of issues – political, religious, humanitarian – the first consideration for everything is money.

Healthcare is no different. The monetary cost of a diagnostics center can be described as ‘outrageous’ or ‘obscene’ without even drawing within sight of the concept of hyperbole. Understand that, at least for many people, whatever numbers you have in your head are likely not anywhere near what your final cost will be.

To determine your overall price tag, you’ll have to look at all of the specific costs to get started. It’s best to set up a price sheet with a minimum and maximum that you think you’ll encounter for each item so you have a clear range.

In this article we will focus on the initial items to get you going, but keep in mind ongoing costs like marketing, overhead, and maintenance. And don’t forget about the small items that add up like software costs, waiting room furniture, and staff meetings just to name a few.

What Type Of Diagnostics Are You Focused On?

The term ‘Diagnostic Center’ could mean a variety of things. There are two main groupings (which are not mutually exclusive):

1 – Clinical Pathology – These are labs that do things like bloodwork, urinalysis, and handle other bodily fluid testing, etc. There are very few efforts to start new businesses focusing on this element of diagnostics, as a handful of other companies have already managed to expand into national competition, and it’s cheap enough that many mid-sized primary physicians have labs onsite.


2 – Radiology or Medical Imaging Centers – This article will focus on Imaging Centers, as these tend to involve the more costly equipment. Imaging can involve a variety of modalities which produce images of the body, such as CT, MRIs, PET scans, and others. These centers are more expensive, but are also one of the fastest growing segments of the industry. Lastly, while there are nearly a dozen modalities to consider, it is perfectly acceptable to plan your business around just one or two. In fact, for most business owners find that starting with one or two modalities and growing over time is the best strategy. If you want to open and operate an MRI Center, then that could be perfectly viable. The cost of starting an imaging center will vary with your specific business plan.

Where Is The Best Place To Start A Diagnostics Center?

The first rule of real estate and one of the major determining factors of the success of every business are the same: location, location, location!

This doesn’t just mean exactly where you are in a city, either. The first thing you should do, even before you begin looking for funding, is to determine what niche your business will fill. How many hospitals are there within ten miles? Twenty? What are the populations of the cities and towns in your area? Are there any other freestanding or independently owned diagnostics centers? Where are they located? What modalities do they offer?

Answer these questions, and you’ll be on your way to mapping out the beginnings of your overall plan. Later, you’ll need to determine an exact physical location. For now, you need to know where you want to look.

Location Should Be Considered In A Number Of Ways

It’s important to think beyond the city, or neighborhood to start your business. Make sure to think about the smaller things like whether the exact location is convenient as far as traffic patterns and accessibility from major roadways.

If your potential patients cannot find your building or would have to drive for longer than would be comfortable, then they’re going to become somebody else’s potential patients. Healthcare providers tend to cluster near hospitals and other healthcare providers for a few reasons:

  • Specialist facilities like being near hospitals because it means that any referrals from the hospital are going to be able to reach their practice easily.
  • Other providers use the rationalization that if they are within a few blocks of rival practices, then there is no discussion to be had about which provider has the more convenient location, which removes one criteria from consideration when trying to poach patients. Setting up shop in a different area comes with a risk of being inconvenient to your targeted patient-base.

For convenience, selecting a site close to major thoroughfares is most often preferable. Depending on which modalities and machines you utilize, though, you may not want to be sitting next to extremely busy roads. You’re already going to have to modify whatever building you decide to use.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to take parking and public transit into account when selecting your building!

Is An Office Park A Good Location For A Diagnostics Imaging Center?

Diagnostics imaging utilizes powerful magnets, radioactive chemicals, and bursts of radiation. The equipment is loud and takes up a lot of space. Therefore, if at all possible, you want to set up your Imaging Center in a freestanding building, and not as part of a complex (whether something akin to a shopping center or a multi-story building makes no difference). If you do end up having to set up in a complex, you’ll need to take a few precautions to avoid upsetting the neighbors, which could mean slightly higher price tags during your initial renovations.

What Specifications Do Diagnostics Centers Need To Follow?

Diagnostics equipment has very particular requirements, so you will need to renovate any building you use, even if it used to be a diagnostics imaging center. These renovations will include meeting building codes or regulations regarding healthcare, imaging centers, and specific types of machines. MRIs, for example, require shielding. Other machines also have specific requirements for the construction or layout of the rooms they occupy, so make certain to be thorough in your research.

Pro-tip: Machine-specific requirements also mean that you need to have selected and purchased your machines before renovations begin in earnest. Timing will be crucial here, as you will want to try to coordinate delivery of your new or used MRI or CT Scanner with the progress of the renovations. Walls will likely need to be removed to get them into the building, so good timing can save you a few thousand dollars in the process.

How Much Does an MRI Machine Cost?

If you’re wondering how much an MRI machine costs, you’re most likely looking at between $150,000 and $500,000. However, there are options under $150,000 and buying a used or refurbished machine is often a big money saver. Alternatively, the most advanced models cost upwards of $1 million. Obviously, there is a huge range of prices based on the machine. Your MRI machine is a big decision and will be one of your biggest expenses when running an MRI center or multi-modality center.

MRI Shielding

That’s why it’s important to make sure your MRI room is up to standard.

You must have the proper MRI shielding to ensure that your MRI is working optimally. Without it, you will notice noise and artifacts in the images you take, which can result in unclear images, and unnecessary rescans.

The MRI is Bulky

You’ll want to make certain you have ample room for the machine, because it is huge. MRIs are comprised of three nested components that provide structural support, internal Radio Frequency shielding, and of course various other crucial components.

This is yet another reason to ensure you have ample space not only for the machine to reside and get in the building in the first place, but also for your staff and patients to be able to move around comfortably in the MRI room.

Do You Need a Metal Detector at Your MRI Center?

Certain items (metallic ones) have a tendency to be attracted by magnetic fields. This could spell disaster for a rather expensive machine and in some case the people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many facilities go so far as to include a foyer by the entrance of the MRI room, specifically to have a convenient place to keep a metal detector.

Whether or not you want to implement a metal detector is up to you, but it is important to make this decision as early on as possible to incorporate it into your plans, or create procedures to otherwise avoid metal from being brought into the wrong areas.

Pro-tip: You’ll want to keep your MRI in an interior room or as far from moving traffic as you can get it. Well designed shielding helps, but vehicular traffic can interfere with the images because of the metal in the cars.

Design Your Building Layout With The Noise Of The Mri In Mind

Yes, it’s noisy. If you are in a complex of some sort, with neighbors, you’re going to want to consider taking a few measures to soundproof the room, or at least cut down on the noise. You’ll also want to consider what rooms are adjacent to the MRI room internally so that no sound-sensitive areas end up nearby.

CT Scan and X-Ray Room Requirements

Rooms containing CT Scanners and X-rays will also require specific shielding, except the shielding is meant to protect the people outside the room. Lead-lining the room will prevent any excess radiation leakage. This process is expensive, but necessary.

Some machines may also utilize various chemicals, which you will need to store before use and dispose of after. Again, this means that you need to decide which machines you plan to utilize before finalizing your renovation plans. Newer machines will generally require fewer special considerations and be less “hazardous”, but be thorough in your research so that you know exactly what each machine needs and what impact this will have on your construction and design plans.

Building an Imaging Center Requires Knowledge, Experience, and Expertise

In other words, consult with specialists who have done this before. Cutting corners may reduce your upfront cost to start, but the cost will be greater down the line, and may even impact your profitability, especially considering the intricate and layered considerations for the requirements of the machines, the layout of the center, patient expectations, and more. So, for the layout, especially, you will want to consult with a professional who has experience specifically with setting up and starting new imaging centers. The needs of the MRI room, by itself, make this worth the cost of seeking out somebody with a more established portfolio.

An expert should also be capable of helping you to decide the best layout, from the locations of the entrance and waiting rooms, all the way down to the width of the hallways and the best locations for restrooms.

Imaging Center Building Approval Process

Once your plans are finished and you’re ready to break ground, it’s time to hit the brakes. And put it in park.

Your plans need approval. First, you’ll need to show the final plans to your stakeholders. They’ve given you the money, so you have to show them what you’re doing with it. Then, Local, State, and possibly even Federal agencies will need to sign off on the plans.

The Code-checkers from your city or your county will go over the design with a fine-toothed comb. Even with the help of a qualified consultant, there will likely be things that you missed. Some obscure regulation, or a safety regulation that seems unimportant in the midst of design (but can actually be critical), will be brought to your attention, and you’ll have to make a few changes.

So, how many exits are there? Where are they? Where are you placing fire extinguishers? Did you remember to plan out the sprinkler system? No? How are you going to work that into the MRI room?

But you will also have to educate the authorities on the requirements of your machines. You will need to explain the whys and wherefores. It will be difficult, and it might be frustrating. Just remember, they’re just doing their jobs and trying to ensure the safety of your patients, and your plans will be improved by this approval process.

Time to Build!

Now, it’s time to break ground! But you’ll need somebody to oversee the project. You have two options for this.

Contractor vs Foreman

This comes down to whether you want to hire a contractor or not. If you want to try and save a little money, you can act as your own contractor, but you still need an expert on site. So if you choose not to hire a contractor, then you need to hire a foreman. You need somebody who knows construction and can coordinate the efforts of the workers on site. A good foreman can save you a lot of money and keep your renovations on time and on budget.

There are a few things to keep in mind, either way:

  • This is an expensive process, and you’re already paying a lot, but mistakes will cost you more. For this reason, you need to visit the site every day. You will personally want to oversee as much as you can.
  • You’re paying a lot for workers who know how to build – let them build. You and your contractor or foreman should know the design and the sticking points, and other than that, your concern should be in ensuring that no corners are cut. There are instances where you can be too hands-on.
  • Set a timeline and work to maintain it. Be conservative in your initial estimates. It’s easier to take a day off if you get ahead than it is to catch up if you fall behind. And, this cannot be stressed enough since you want to time the work that’s being done with the delivery of your machines.

Finding the Right Staff for a New Diagnostics Center

As expensive and crucial as your machines are, your staff is even more important. Your staff drives your success. They’re the face of your imaging center. They’re the expertise that makes the entire place run. With this hard fact in mind, you need to begin looking for hires while the building is still being built or renovated. The hiring process, as you know, takes time. And even once you’ve spent a month or two selecting the best candidates, they will still, typically, need two to four weeks before they can actually join your team onsite. Some will need to move, some will already have jobs. Ant then there’s training and formalities. Give yourself ample time. Use job boards, career fairs, and any other resources you can to get the word out.

Pro-tip: If you’re on a budget, look for recent grads with high potential for growth. If you’ve got a lot of money for staffing look for more experienced technicians and radiologists. If possible, hire an experienced Chief Radiologist who can help with the hiring of his or her subordinates.

The Cost To Build A Website For A Diagnostics Center

Websites don’t just happen. They take time and money. And while you can make the attempt to go ‘old-school’ and do without a site for a bit, the habits of consumers and patients in the modern market involve heavy utilization of electronic information. That means a website is going to be a crucial item and not having one spells almost certain doom.

In order to give yourself the best chance of success, you’ll want to try to have a website designed, built, and launched by the time of your first day in operation.

What does it cost to build a diagnostic center’s website? A custom site, on average, typically starts at around $10k, and is usually over 50 pages in size. In some cases this can be trimmed, depending on how detailed you want the site to be, how many locations you have, and how many features, such as online billpay, that you plan to implement.

You will want to begin by doing research on your options and getting quotes from web development companies that specialize in outpatient care centers. Some agencies offer pre-planned websites that are built just for imaging centers with customization options. Templated sites like these can save you a ton of money and get you a robust and professional website for around $2,000. Figure out what you need, what you want, and what you’re willing to pay for.

Running an Imaging Center and Maintaining Profitability

Since you’re looking to start an imaging center, you likely already know a little bit about managing people or operations or both. But even with this experience, you may be surprised by just how much time, attention, and effort running a new business takes. As the owner, you will need to personally keep an eye on the finances and be prepared to make difficult decisions to ensure long-term profitability – sometimes this might mean taking a short-term hit as you reinvest or refocus your existing profits. There will be times when costs must be cut, and these circumstances will require creativity and patience to navigate successfully.

Profitability Begins And Ends With Patient Satisfaction

If you have no patients coming through the door, then you have no profit. Patients are the lifeblood of any medical business. Always keep patient satisfaction front and center. In order to breed happiness, you must know what your patients think, what their experience is truly like. Most healthcare providers overestimate their quality of service. Patients who seem like they are content or even neutral visits are not always so. From the very start, you should have a plan for gathering patient feedback, learning how you can improve, and guiding your happy patients to Google or wherever else to leave positive reviews. These efforts will draw new patients and build a towering reputation for your facility that will keep your profits stable or climbing.

After You Start An Imaging Center, You Need To Market It

Once your new diagnostics center is up and running, the hard part begins. You have a new, beautiful and inviting facility with state-of-the-art equipment and a great staff. Your next big undertaking is marketing. But it doesn’t have to be a guessing game and it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg either. Digital marketing covers a wide range of services and offers a lot of valuable opportunities in diagnostics. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at the options and make a priority order. Some of the most effective marketing strategies for radiology centers include:

  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Content Marketing (Blog Articles)
  • Search Engine Optimization (Seo)
  • Reputation Management (Online Reviews)

Once you have  decided where and how to start your imaging center, you will need to set up a business strategy. You will need to study organizational and financial models, think outside the box, and prove to be an effective manager in order to make it all work. Even if your ultimate plan is to sell the business and move on, you still need to work for several years in order to make it an attractive purchase for an area hospital. It won’t happen quickly or easily. But with patience and hard work, this place than you’ve built can become a pillar of your community’s healthcare landscape and a cornerstone of your personal legacy.

See How Diagnostics Marketing Can Boost Your Revenue

How To Design And Print Referral Cards To Market Your Diagnostic Center

Many diagnostic imaging centers print referral cards for providers, which they can give to patients that they refer to your facility.

If you’re not providing referral cards or pamphlets to your referring physicians, now is a great time to start.

Just like any promotional material, design matters

Not only should your cards be aesthetically pleasing, they need to have the necessary information in an easy to read format.

Looking for some help with marketing your diagnostic center?

Click to see our range of options built specifically for imaging facilities

Here are the must-haves for your referral cards

  1. Website
  2. Phone number
  3. Address
  4. Logo
  5. Types of exams offered
  6. Map
  7. Photo of staff, building, or equipment

Pro Tip: If you have a handful of high referring physicians, make their cards specific to their practice. They will love that you took the extra effort to personalize their referral cards with their practice name.

Choosing a design software

If you’re creating your cards in Microsoft Word or another word processor, your design will be limited to the most rudimentary options. Designing in a program like PhotoShop or Adobe Illustrator will give you a much more professional look and feel.

If you don’t have anyone on your team who’s versed in a design program, contact a web designer for this task. For around $150-200 you can get a beautiful and unique template that you can use again and again.

Looking for a free pre-built template made specifically for diagnostic facility referrals?

Click To Get Our Free Template

referral card template example

Fonts and colors

When you’re designing your cards (or assigning a project to a designer) make sure you consider design elements like font and color. Look back at your website and business cards to make sure everything matches up nicely. Building a recognizable brand means picking a style and sticking to it.

Getting high-quality prints

If you’re printing your cards in the office, it’s time to step up your game. For just a few bucks you can get sturdy, high-quality prints online, or even up the road.

Shop around for an online service or brick and mortar store at places like:

Once you have your referral cards designed and printed, we recommend dropping them off with your most valuable referring physicians in person.

Want an easier way to get more patients in the door? 

Grow your online reviews automatically while improving your patient experience.

4 Fundamental Radiology Marketing Strategies

Sales and marketing in diagnostics is an area that has become increasingly challenging and complex. A clear picture of your current situation, your goals, and the path of least resistance to reach those goals is crucial. There’s more to it than making a list of strategies and jumping right in. Trial and error lead to time and money lost unnecessarily.

Radiology Marketing Strategies: Fundamental Planning Steps To Grow an Imaging Center

Most imaging centers have some radiology marketing strategies up their sleeves. However, sales and marketing in diagnostics is an area that has become increasingly challenging and complex. A clear picture of your current situation, your goals, and the path of least resistance to reach those goals is crucial.

There’s more to it than making a list of strategies and jumping right in. Trial and error lead to time and money lost unnecessarily.

Research, data assessment, and patient and provider feedback are the guiding forces behind an effective marketing plan for any imaging center.

Collecting patient feedback after their appointment is industry standard these days, so why not improve your online reviews while you’re at it?

Here’s how to get more online reviews and collect feedback directly so you can build trust and improve and your patient experience.

You Can’t Grow an Imaging Center Without Some Information

analyzing graph dataGathering information in the following areas will vastly improve any marketing manager’s ability to grow an imaging center. The success of your diagnostic marketing plan and your overall profitability will be driven by this research.

  1. SWOT Evaluation: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats
  2. Competition and Market Analysis
  3. Data Collection From Patients & Providers
  4. Reassessment & Adjustments

If you’re already on a roll and looking for some quick and effective strategies, check out this article for some simple yet effective additions to your radiology marketing strategies. If you’re looking to set up a big picture plan for long-term sustainable growth, read on.

A lack of initial research leads to an inefficient allocation of resources.

Spend the time now to save weeks or months of effort later. Before enacting your marketing plan, gather data for the following areas.

1. SWOT: Evaluating Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats

Determining your strengths and weaknesses can be as involved as you choose for it to be. Regardless of how detailed you choose to get, note areas you’re already at the top of your game on and where you stand to make the most meaningful improvements.

Performing a detailed SWOT Analysis takes time and effort, but it’s well worth the energy. This will not only help direct your marketing efforts, it will help you budget for what matters most.

Strengths: Pinpoint what sets you apart from your competition

  • Do you offer exams which are not available elsewhere in your area?
  • Do you have an online referral system or unique integrations for your RIS?
  • Do you have equipment that accommodates a specific group of patients?
  • Do you offer the lowest self-pay prices in the area?
  • Do you offer extended hours of operation?

Weaknesses: Assess areas for improvement

broken link in a chain

  • Are your software systems slow and clunky?
  • Is there a group of patients you struggle with assisting?
  • Is your website dated and difficult to use?
  • Is your location inconvenient for your patients?

Even if you are not able to make improvements to these areas right now, simply knowing where your challenges are will help direct your diagnostic marketing efforts.

Opportunities: Finding areas of need and how you can fulfill those needs.

  • Do your strengths put you in a prime position to best perform a specific type of exam?
  • Is there a need for a service you provide which you expect to grow in the coming years?
  • Are there ways the radiology industry is changing that open new doors for your business?

The next section covers Market Research & Competition Analysis, which will help you target the most valuable opportunities for growth.

Threats: Finding where you are most vulnerable.

  • Is a local hospital’s radiology department growing at a rate you can’t compete with?
  • Are changes in government policy going to cause hardships for your center?
  • Is a larger facility in a nearby area getting referrals that use to be sent to your center?

Identifying threats will help you find how to best protect against them instead of weathering the storm once it arrives.

Even a quick brainstorm style version is better than nothing and you can always make modifications over time as you collect more information.

2. Competition and Radiology Market Analysis

tabletop football gameGathering data by performing a full radiology market analysis and competition assessment is akin to learning who you are up against in a sporting event. If you don’t know how many other players are on the opposing team, their signature plays, or even how many teams you could be competing against, you’re in for a tough game.

Researching your local competition and radiology market size for your area using these steps:

  • Gather local market statistics from vendors, independent consultants, medical publications, and databases to determine the greatest need in your area. Strive to learn things like what specialists are most likely to refer for each exam type and how far from your location is too far.
  • Assess your current referral data and track changes over time. Integrate a HIPPA compliant reporting tool that integrates with your RIS to build customized dynamic reports you can check anytime. Note your top referring providers’ location, specialty, and practice size. Use this data to assign a current sending score for each provider. This will help you find opportunities for increased referrals and identify physicians who are already referring an ideal number of patients.
  • Identify the best new referral opportunities by researching medical providers in the area. If you have a web developer on your team, you may be able to automate this process. Score potential referrers to find those most worth pursuing.

Take these factors into consideration when building your radiology marketing strategies for assessing referral opportunities. 

  • Specialty
  • Practice size
  • Location

Once you have determined which current and prospective referring providers are most valuable to your facility, you can focus your radiology marketing plan around them. This will ensure your marketing has a well-defined path.

3. Data Collection From Patients & Providers

Customer Feedback Form on TabletGetting a clear picture of how you’re perceived by patients and providers may be the most valuable ongoing data you can collect. Strive to constantly assess your progress through:

Patient Satisfaction Surveys can be sent via email, SMS text messages, or as a pre-stamped postcard at the time of the exam. The answers patients give can help you to:

  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses from a patient perspective
  • Gather more information about patient expectations
  • Request online reviews. A crucial part of reputation management
  • Reach out to unsatisfied patients to resolve the issue

An imaging center’s patient satisfaction rate is correlated to ratings and reviews, both of which can help you get more patients. Learn more about how to grow an imaging center through effective patient retention strategies. Ensuring patients would choose your center next time around makes a big difference.

Provider Feedback can be collected on an individual basis over the phone, in person, or through email. Ask your referring providers about

  • Ease of referral process. Was it quick? Easy? Convenient?
  • Exam results. Were the results timely and easy to access? Were the images clear?
  • Communication. Was it easy to communicate with our staff? Were you able to get in touch with us easily? Did we answer any questions and adhere to special requests?
  • Would you recommend us to another physician? Why or why not?
  • What can we improve? The most important question you can ask.

Most likely, your imaging center profitability revolves around your referring providers. Your provider feedback will help you understand what your referring doctors are looking for and how to best meet their needs. It will also let them know you’re striving to make things easier on them and that you respect and value their relationship with your center.

Effectively marketing to physicians for referrals

One strategy rarely employed is email marketing to physicians. This method of gaining referrals requires some planning and research and can produce surprisingly positive results. The key here is finding out what information of value you can offer to referring partners to strengthen your relationship with them.

4. Reassessment & Radiology Marketing Strategy Adjustments

adjusting dialsThings change over time, if you’ve planned carefully, it will be for the better. Monitoring your progress through ongoing data collection and assessment is a key component to maintaining your trajectory.

Now that you’ve put the time and thought into the preliminary steps to planning out your approach, you’re off to the races. The work you’ve put into analyzing your business, researching your local market, and collecting data will be invaluable in every marketing tactic you employ. You’ll want to check back in with these items regularly.

Decide how often you will:

  • Reassess your data
  • Measure your progress
  • Make adjustments to your marketing plan

Maybe it’s once a quarter with your whole team, maybe it’s at the end of each month when you’re taking a look at the cash flow, maybe it’s a quick glance each week. Whatever you choose, be diligent and you will get the most out of your radiology marketing strategies to drive your business to success.

Looking to get a leg up by better understanding your local market and competition?

Click to learn how we provide detailed local provider research so you know exactly where to focus your marketing efforts.

How To Design Buttons That Increase Your Radiology Website Conversions

People look online for just about everything and that includes diagnostic imaging centers.

A 2012 study reported 72 percent of U.S. Internet users had gone online specifically for health-related information.

With the increase in people surfing the web, there is also an increase in competition. Along with that is a decrease in how much time viewers give your site to either impress or disappoint them.

It actually takes 0.05 seconds for the average site viewer to decide whether they like a website or not. 

People make judgments about businesses very quickly from just a quick glance at their website. It’s clear that the visual appeal and usability of your site have a big impact on how long people stick around.

Well designed website buttons for radiology websites can get you more new patients.

Buttons help people quickly accomplish their goal without a lot of brainpower.

Take this site, for example. It’s well designed because it’s not cluttered. The main objective of this imaging center is to get you to watch their video. That is very clear with the button on the home page.

well-designed button for a radiology business

The color, positioning, and wording on your buttons all play a part in how likely people are to click on it.

Without clear buttons, your radiology website visitors need to sift through the navigation to find what they came for. 

Determining the Goal

You have to first decide…

“What are people most commonly coming to my website to do?” and “What would I like people interested in my diagnostic center to do?”

We often hear answers like:

  • Make an appointment
  • Call the office
  • Fill out our contact form

You may have more than one goal for your site visitors and that’s alright. If that’s the case, you’ll want to put them in order of priority.

This Radiology Website Has a Different Goal

You can see right away that they are not catering directly to patients. This radiology group’s website has a goal of gaining new partnerships. Their well-placed button on the home page makes it easy for site visitors to see where to go for this.

an eye catching button for a radiology group website

Make your button stand out

In this example, we see buttons at the top of the page that are useful and even colorful, but they don’t really stand out because they compete with the rest of the page.

website buttons that don't stand out

Make sure your buttons are big enough to see at a glance. Placing your button in an area that allows some empty space around it will help it stand out.

Here’s an example of a button that really stands out

example of a good diagnostic center website design

 

Choosing a button color

The best color for your button depends on your diagnostics business, branding, and site layout. For many imaging centers, the best approach is to choose a vibrant color that stands out from the rest of the page but still matches a few smaller elements of the design to pull it all together visually.

This page is an example of a well-planned button color.

example of a well designed healthcare website

The Right Button Text

Now that you caught the eye of your audience, now you have to get them to click the button.

Try to make your text as specific as possible to let people know exactly what clicking will do for them.

Instead of saying “Contact Us” you might say “Make an Appointment” if that is aligned with your goal.

Button design tools

Though it’s helpful to be tech savvy, you don’t have to be a web developer to create a button. You can use a free tool like Buttonoptimizer.com to create your button, then download it as an image, or copy and paste the code to your site.

free button creator tool

Remember, a well-designed button is just a small part of your website. All elements of a site need to work together visually and functionally in order to have an attractive and useful radiology site.

Do you need some help marketing your diagnostic imaging business? 

Learn about all the diagnostic marketing services we offer.

Women’s Center for Radiology

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Hey Megan,

It was great catching up with you yesterday and learning more about the marketing of your facilities.  We understand your current situation and hope to have the opportunity to work with you in the future.

Regarding an option to split this service into components, I am working on an answer and will follow up with you next week.

You may recall that we have a website and social media audit promotion for signing up for our system.  Below, I have outlined what is included. We can discuss this in more detail in the coming months.

Thanks again for your time and we look forward to speaking again.

Sincerely,

Eve and the JHMG team

[columns-container class=”” style=”border:1px dashed #ddd; background-color:#FDFDFD”]
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$2,880 BONUS OFFER:

So, what’s in that offer again?

[one-half-first]

WEBSITE AUDIT.

What is right and wrong with your website? How much business are you missing out on? Where are you missing possible new customers, referring providers, and employers? Is your referral process as easy as possible? We’ll give you the answers.

SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIT.

What should you be posting to get the word out? What are the top posts to make to draw in new patients and inform people about the cost differences? Now you’ll know!

KEYWORD RESEARCH & CONTENT PLAN.

This secret sauce everyone wants! Get your website ranking above everyone else without having to pay advertising costs for it. Now you’ll know how.
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Ready To Get Started?

To get started, either:
Give us a call at (706) 425-1979
or fill out the brief form below!
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Diagnostic Imaging Marketing Hack: Setting up Click-To-Call On Your Website

Get More From Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing With This 5-Minute Fix

Your diagnostic imaging marketing doesn’t mean much if your phone number isn’t easy to call. A phone call is the main method of contact for most imaging centers and the phone number is most often found online.

Don’t use just any developer, use a development team with over 10 years of experience with diagnostics.

Click to find out about an affordable and professional new website for your diagnostic center!

How many people actually call a business after finding it on the web?

In a study of 3,000 people, 61% of mobile users call after a local business search.

Click-to-call makes it easy for your patients, physicians, and website visitors to call your imaging center by simply tapping the phone number on their mobile device.

Some devices may be able to recognize the phone number automatically, but without setting up click-to-call in your HTML code, you’ll be leaving many people to have to copy and paste the number or write it down to call. This often means the difference between gaining and missing out on a new patient.

The good news is that your phone number can be optimized in less time than it takes to fill out the new patient paperwork in the waiting room. If you or someone on your team has a little HTML experience, you can knock this out in no time. If not, you can reach out to the company that developed your website to request they add this functionality.

Creating Click-To-Call Using Text

To add click-to-call functionality to your website without a button, you can add the following tag directly into an HTML code, replacing the 5555555555 with your center’s phone number without spaces or dashes.:

<a href="tel:5555555555">Call Us</a>

In this example, the text “Call Us” will be what visitors to your site see. You can replace this with the phone number its self or any other text you’d like to display.

Creating Click-To-Call Using an Image

If you have a phone icon or the number displayed as an image, you can create a click-to-call button using the following code and replace the 5555555555 with your phone number and also replace the http://www.domain.com/files/phone-icon.jpg with the file path for the image you’d like to use.

<a href="tel:5555555555"><img src="https://www.domain.com/files/phone-icon.jpg"></a>

 Testing Your Click-To-Call

Anytime you make a change to your site, you’ll need to test it. Test your click-to-call function by pulling up the site on a variety of different phones to make sure everything is displayed correctly and of course that the call can be made successfully.

Want more people calling? Getting more online reviews will attract new patients.

Find out how to get better reviews and improve your patient experience.

Get More From Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing With This 5-Minute Fix

Your diagnostic imaging marketing doesn’t mean much if your phone number isn’t easy to call. A phone call is the main method of contact for most imaging centers and the phone number is most often found online.

Don’t use just any developer, use a development team with over 10 years of experience with diagnostics.

Click to find out about an affordable and professional new website for your diagnostic center!

How many people actually call a business after finding it on the web?

In a study of 3,000 people, 61% of mobile users call after a local business search.

Click-to-call makes it easy for your patients, physicians, and website visitors to call your imaging center by simply tapping the phone number on their mobile device.

Some devices may be able to recognize the phone number automatically, but without setting up click-to-call in your HTML code, you’ll be leaving many people to have to copy and paste the number or write it down to call. This often means the difference between gaining and missing out on a new patient.

The good news is that your phone number can be optimized in less time than it takes to fill out the new patient paperwork in the waiting room. If you or someone on your team has a little HTML experience, you can knock this out in no time. If not, you can reach out to the company that developed your website to request they add this functionality.

Creating Click-To-Call Using Text

To add click-to-call functionality to your website without a button, you can add the following tag directly into an HTML code, replacing the 5555555555 with your center’s phone number without spaces or dashes.:

<a href="tel:5555555555">Call Us</a>

In this example, the text “Call Us” will be what visitors to your site see. You can replace this with the phone number its self or any other text you’d like to display.

Creating Click-To-Call Using an Image

If you have a phone icon or the number displayed as an image, you can create a click-to-call button using the following code and replace the 5555555555 with your phone number and also replace the http://www.domain.com/files/phone-icon.jpg with the file path for the image you’d like to use.

<a href="tel:5555555555"><img src="https://www.domain.com/files/phone-icon.jpg"></a>

 Testing Your Click-To-Call

Anytime you make a change to your site, you’ll need to test it. Test your click-to-call function by pulling up the site on a variety of different phones to make sure everything is displayed correctly and of course that the call can be made successfully.

Want more people calling? Getting more online reviews will attract new patients.

Find out how to get better reviews and improve your patient experience.

Diagnostic Imaging Marketing Emails Can Be An Effective Method of Getting More Patients & Referrals

Should Email Be A Cornerstone Of Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing Strategy?

Is your diagnostic imaging marketing plan not producing the results you want? We all get emails in our inbox, but sending emails out isn’t so easy, especially for an imaging center. There are plenty of resources out there that detail how to sell products through email, but not many that are specific to the medical field, much less email marketing for an imaging center.

But don’t be discouraged, email can certainly be an effective marketing method for imaging centers. Whether you’re currently sending out emails, or not, this article will explain exactly what you should write about, who you should send to, and much more.

Remember, even though email can be an effective marketing option, it should be one of many tools in your marketing toolbox. Your diagnostic imaging center reputation should have a management plan to keep your audience, patients and physicians alike, interested in doing business with you.

Don’t Let Your Competition Win Over Your Patient Base!

Learn How You Can Improve Your Online Reputation and Patient Experience with MedRev, The Healthcare Reputation Management Systems Built for Healthcare Professionals, By Healthcare Professionals.

Email Marketing to Physicians for Referrals: Do it Right and You’ll Easily Get More Patients

chess with providersHealthcare providers are obviously people you want on your side. If you have a designated Physician Liaison they have likely delved into this to some degree. However, marketing to physicians for referrals is a tricky business. Monetarily, it seems providers offices wouldn’t have much to gain by sending patients to any particular imaging center since it doesn’t directly impact their bottom line. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s clear that when patients are happy with an imaging center, and their doctor, everyone benefits.

It’s up to you to show providers not only that you are interested in their referrals, but that you are taking stock in their practice and the well-being of their patients. Your center’s diagnostic marketing emails to physicians should reflect this.

Provide value in every email you send

analytics marketing imaging centerLike most of us, doctors don’t have time or patience for emails that are generic and salesy. People want to open emails that are chock full of useful information that is specific to the problems they are facing. This is important to keep in mind when incorporating emails into your diagnostic imaging marketing plan for gaining new referrals. Here are a few ways you can provide valuable information in your emails to referring providers.
Help them help their patients. Anything from scheduling advice to training tips on staff and patient interactions, to the delivery of test results can be good information. Do some research to find what your specific providers would find most valuable.
Help them help their practice. With healthcare, there are always new medications on the market and treatment options being developed. Help doctors stay up to date with recent research and popular topics related to their specialty.

Pro Tip 1: Don’t include a request in your emails. Instead, include key information about your imaging facility to help providers see the value and quality care your radiology center offers.

Pro Tip 2: Do your research. Take the time to learn as much as you can about each provider you’re reaching out to. It’s also important to research their specialty to better understand what value you can provide. For example, you might find articles that are of particular interest to Orthopedic Surgeons.

Pro Tip 3: Personalize and segment your emails. 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. And it makes perfect sense. Nothing throws a wrench in your diagnostic marketing efforts like a generic email, so make sure you tailor everything you send.

Get More Patients Through Radiology Email Marketing

Your diagnostic email marketing strategy is incomplete until you are sending effective emails to your existing patients. You may wonder how sending emails to current patients will help you get more patients coming in the door. The answer is community awareness.

Increase patient volumeWhen people read about something interesting, have a great experience, or save a ton of money, they tend to tell their friend, family, and coworkers about it. Here are a few ways to encourage your patients to spread the word.

Remind them how much money they saved. Find out how much the local hospital charges for the same exam and let patients know how much they would have spent elsewhere.
Send patients interesting and actionable health information. There are countless article topics that people may find interesting. Find some articles that really help people understand their health, risk factors, and symptoms.
Ask patients to like your imaging center on social media. If you’re confident that a patient was happy with their experience (you can find out with a satisfaction survey) there’s no harm in asking them to like or follow you. Just make sure you’re providing useful information on your social media sites to keep your followers engaged.

Pro Tip 1: Personalize and segment your patient emails. What is true for provider emails, is also true for patients. Generic emails are always a no-go in diagnostic imaging marketing.

Pro Tip 2: Track your results. The goal is to increase patient volume. If you don’t track your results, you will never know what emails are engaging and how many new patients are coming into your imaging center due to your efforts. Track your open and click rate for each email and be sure to ask new patients where they heard about your radiology center.

Pro Tip 3: Make sure you’re staying HIPPA compliant and that patients you email have agreed to be emailed. Of course in your email marketing for your imaging center, maintaining HIPPA compliance is a must. You may want to utilize an email opt-in selection on your patient registration forms so you know who to send emails to.

Email marketing to patients is an effective way to build a following and empower your patients to take an active role in their health care choices. Well informed and empowered patients also are more likely to schedule follow up exams when their doctor recommends them.

Build and Nurture Relationships With Emails

Get more patientsEmail is not only a great marketing tool, it can also help you nurture your existing relationships with physicians and patients. Maintaining and increasing patient retention should always be a top priority and paying attention to what your patient need and want is key.

Keep people in the know by using emails to send out:

  • Appointment reminders and follow up reminders
  • Updates about new additionals or processes at your imaging center
  • Invitations to any events your radiology group is sponsoring or hosting in the community such as free health screenings.

If you’re already sending out emails to patients and physicians, and you are not getting the response you expect, it could be that your emails are not being received due to spam filters. In other cases, it may be that your emails are not being opened because your subject lines need some work. If you’re seeing low open rates, especially with your email marketing to physicians for referrals, you should address the issue before implementing new strategies.

Admittedly, marketing to physicians for referrals isn’t easy, even if you are an experienced email marketer. But, the rewards are well worth spending the time to craft your messages carefully.
Always strive to give more than you ask in return and to respect the time and wishes of everyone you send to.

Analyzing your results regularly will help guide your future efforts. It’s crucial to know your open and click rate on each email so you can fine-tune your approach to marketing your imaging center. A/B or Split Testing is a great way to test out various content or subject lines to find what is most popular among your readers. Most email marketing services such as MailChimp offer an easy way to set up an A/B test.

Email is an effective approach to diagnostic imaging marketing if you do it right

man-with-frying-pan-cookingSending out emails without a clearly defined strategy is like cooking for dinner guests without a recipe. It might start out great, but once you get going you’re bound to run into some problems. And serving a burnt casserole at your party is not so impressive.

With some research, individual consideration, and careful planning, you will find that email is a very useful tool for gaining new business and nurturing existing relationships.

Taking a step back to assess what your patients and referring physicians really want and need from you will help you effectively incorporate email into your diagnostic imaging marketing plan with a solid path.

How would you like to market your center to referring physicians with Medical Practice Growth Tips and Doctor to Doctor articles?

Click to learn about our Radiant Email Growth System today!

Should Email Be A Cornerstone Of Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing Strategy?

Is your diagnostic imaging marketing plan not producing the results you want? We all get emails in our inbox, but sending emails out isn’t so easy, especially for an imaging center. There are plenty of resources out there that detail how to sell products through email, but not many that are specific to the medical field, much less email marketing for an imaging center.

But don’t be discouraged, email can certainly be an effective marketing method for imaging centers. Whether you’re currently sending out emails, or not, this article will explain exactly what you should write about, who you should send to, and much more.

Remember, even though email can be an effective marketing option, it should be one of many tools in your marketing toolbox. Your diagnostic imaging center reputation should have a management plan to keep your audience, patients and physicians alike, interested in doing business with you.

Don’t Let Your Competition Win Over Your Patient Base!

Learn How You Can Improve Your Online Reputation and Patient Experience with MedRev, The Healthcare Reputation Management Systems Built for Healthcare Professionals, By Healthcare Professionals.

Email Marketing to Physicians for Referrals: Do it Right and You’ll Easily Get More Patients

chess with providersHealthcare providers are obviously people you want on your side. If you have a designated Physician Liaison they have likely delved into this to some degree. However, marketing to physicians for referrals is a tricky business. Monetarily, it seems providers offices wouldn’t have much to gain by sending patients to any particular imaging center since it doesn’t directly impact their bottom line. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s clear that when patients are happy with an imaging center, and their doctor, everyone benefits.

It’s up to you to show providers not only that you are interested in their referrals, but that you are taking stock in their practice and the well-being of their patients. Your center’s diagnostic marketing emails to physicians should reflect this.

Provide value in every email you send

analytics marketing imaging centerLike most of us, doctors don’t have time or patience for emails that are generic and salesy. People want to open emails that are chock full of useful information that is specific to the problems they are facing. This is important to keep in mind when incorporating emails into your diagnostic imaging marketing plan for gaining new referrals. Here are a few ways you can provide valuable information in your emails to referring providers.
Help them help their patients. Anything from scheduling advice to training tips on staff and patient interactions, to the delivery of test results can be good information. Do some research to find what your specific providers would find most valuable.
Help them help their practice. With healthcare, there are always new medications on the market and treatment options being developed. Help doctors stay up to date with recent research and popular topics related to their specialty.

Pro Tip 1: Don’t include a request in your emails. Instead, include key information about your imaging facility to help providers see the value and quality care your radiology center offers.

Pro Tip 2: Do your research. Take the time to learn as much as you can about each provider you’re reaching out to. It’s also important to research their specialty to better understand what value you can provide. For example, you might find articles that are of particular interest to Orthopedic Surgeons.

Pro Tip 3: Personalize and segment your emails. 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. And it makes perfect sense. Nothing throws a wrench in your diagnostic marketing efforts like a generic email, so make sure you tailor everything you send.

Get More Patients Through Radiology Email Marketing

Your diagnostic email marketing strategy is incomplete until you are sending effective emails to your existing patients. You may wonder how sending emails to current patients will help you get more patients coming in the door. The answer is community awareness.

Increase patient volumeWhen people read about something interesting, have a great experience, or save a ton of money, they tend to tell their friend, family, and coworkers about it. Here are a few ways to encourage your patients to spread the word.

Remind them how much money they saved. Find out how much the local hospital charges for the same exam and let patients know how much they would have spent elsewhere.
Send patients interesting and actionable health information. There are countless article topics that people may find interesting. Find some articles that really help people understand their health, risk factors, and symptoms.
Ask patients to like your imaging center on social media. If you’re confident that a patient was happy with their experience (you can find out with a satisfaction survey) there’s no harm in asking them to like or follow you. Just make sure you’re providing useful information on your social media sites to keep your followers engaged.

Pro Tip 1: Personalize and segment your patient emails. What is true for provider emails, is also true for patients. Generic emails are always a no-go in diagnostic imaging marketing.

Pro Tip 2: Track your results. The goal is to increase patient volume. If you don’t track your results, you will never know what emails are engaging and how many new patients are coming into your imaging center due to your efforts. Track your open and click rate for each email and be sure to ask new patients where they heard about your radiology center.

Pro Tip 3: Make sure you’re staying HIPPA compliant and that patients you email have agreed to be emailed. Of course in your email marketing for your imaging center, maintaining HIPPA compliance is a must. You may want to utilize an email opt-in selection on your patient registration forms so you know who to send emails to.

Email marketing to patients is an effective way to build a following and empower your patients to take an active role in their health care choices. Well informed and empowered patients also are more likely to schedule follow up exams when their doctor recommends them.

Build and Nurture Relationships With Emails

Get more patientsEmail is not only a great marketing tool, it can also help you nurture your existing relationships with physicians and patients. Maintaining and increasing patient retention should always be a top priority and paying attention to what your patient need and want is key.

Keep people in the know by using emails to send out:

  • Appointment reminders and follow up reminders
  • Updates about new additionals or processes at your imaging center
  • Invitations to any events your radiology group is sponsoring or hosting in the community such as free health screenings.

If you’re already sending out emails to patients and physicians, and you are not getting the response you expect, it could be that your emails are not being received due to spam filters. In other cases, it may be that your emails are not being opened because your subject lines need some work. If you’re seeing low open rates, especially with your email marketing to physicians for referrals, you should address the issue before implementing new strategies.

Admittedly, marketing to physicians for referrals isn’t easy, even if you are an experienced email marketer. But, the rewards are well worth spending the time to craft your messages carefully.
Always strive to give more than you ask in return and to respect the time and wishes of everyone you send to.

Analyzing your results regularly will help guide your future efforts. It’s crucial to know your open and click rate on each email so you can fine-tune your approach to marketing your imaging center. A/B or Split Testing is a great way to test out various content or subject lines to find what is most popular among your readers. Most email marketing services such as MailChimp offer an easy way to set up an A/B test.

Email is an effective approach to diagnostic imaging marketing if you do it right

man-with-frying-pan-cookingSending out emails without a clearly defined strategy is like cooking for dinner guests without a recipe. It might start out great, but once you get going you’re bound to run into some problems. And serving a burnt casserole at your party is not so impressive.

With some research, individual consideration, and careful planning, you will find that email is a very useful tool for gaining new business and nurturing existing relationships.

Taking a step back to assess what your patients and referring physicians really want and need from you will help you effectively incorporate email into your diagnostic imaging marketing plan with a solid path.

How would you like to market your center to referring physicians with Medical Practice Growth Tips and Doctor to Doctor articles?

Click to learn about our Radiant Email Growth System today!

The Best Patient Retention Strategies for Diagnostic Centers

Great strategy guides have been created for increasing patient referrals to new and growing diagnostic imaging centers, but much less is written about strategies for diagnostic patient retention

Focusing only on marketing your imaging center to gain new patients may mean failing to nurture existing patients, which can hinder your efforts to build your imaging center’s reputation. And a good reputation is key to gaining new diagnostics patients and growing your imaging center overall.

How to keep radiology patientsPatients who slip through the cracks may suffer negative consequences of disrupted care, while your center loses the rewards of all the hard work that has gone into your outreach and reputation-building efforts.

Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your patients engaged with your imaging center, and they won’t break your bank. If you set them up carefully, many can even be automated!

Increase your patient retention by staying connected.

Asking patients for feedback is a great way to stay connected, get more online reviews, and pinpoint how to improve your patient experience.

Learn how MedRev automatically collects patient feedback and grows your positive reviews.

Quality Care is the first step to increase patient retention for an imaging center

This one may seem obvious, but are you going about this with the right mindset?

Strategies for patient retentionYou take pride in your staff’s training and dedication to current best practices, as well as the safety and rigor of the technologies they use. However, other metrics of quality may be an even more effective method to increase patient retention for an imaging center.

The patient’s understanding of their care and active engagement in decision making, the perceived goodwill of the staff, and ease of appointment making are just a few facets of patient experience that can make or break a patient’s relationship with your center.

Ensure that your diagnostic patients understand their exams

Although it is easy to assume that smiling, nodding patients understand what your staff is telling them, this is often not the case.

A study of patients about to undergo imaging exams found that less than half could correctly indicate whether radiation was involved in their exam, about 28% were less than satisfied with the explanation they had received about their exam, and over half wished they could discuss the exam with a radiologist beforehand.

Retaining imaging patientsTaking the time to help a patient understand the choices and services that they are being offered may help them to not only play an active role in making decisions for their health but also to stay engaged in their care.

How can you help imaging patients play an active role in decisions about their health?

  1. Consider asking the patient open-ended questions to encourage them to describe in their own words what you have discussed so that you can check for understanding.
  2. You may also think about using patient decision aids such as this online tool to help patients decide whether to be screened for lung cancer.
  3. Motivational Interviewing is a well-researched set of principles and tools that can help healthcare providers to avoid taking a paternalistic role with their patients, as this can result in the power struggles and ambivalence that lead to no-show’s as well as poor adherence to recommendations and follow-ups. Instead, these simple but powerful techniques help you to take on a collaborative partnership with your patients to keep them engaged.

Ideas for patient retentionEmpowering your imaging patients to understand and take part in their health care will result in positive outcomes, including patient satisfaction and an increase in patient retention for an imaging center.

Retaining imaging patients by training your staff in rapport-building

Every staff member has an impact on how patients will perceive any outpatient imaging center as a whole. We also know that patients who think the staff and providers are “nice” will be more likely to come back.  What might not be so obvious is how, exactly, to accomplish this, particularly in the face of time limitations or patient complaints.

Techniques such as reflective listening and asking open-ended questions will empower your staff to use every interaction as an opportunity to build rapport with each and every imaging patient that comes to your facility.

Centers that train all staff in these tools know how to keep radiology patients. Fostering rapport can also help to reduce the negative consequences of service failures. No center is perfect, and strong relationships with your patients will help you to weather the storm when mistakes are made.

Embed small kindnesses into the center itself

Colorful mini gift boxes, Ideas for patient retentionIntegrating warmth and continued connection with the patient into your center’s processes is one of the best ideas for patient retention. It turns out it’s the little things that make a big difference. Multiple studies have shown that small touches such as mailing patients postcards and letters can actually reduce suicide attempts. This highlights just how powerful small kindnesses can be.

  1. Keep in touch with your patients, for example by mailing birthday or holiday cards. Not only does keeping in touch with your patients show them that you care, it can also help remind them to take stock of their health, which could mean coming in for a follow-up.
  2. Make your patients comfortable while they are at your imaging facility for their visit. You can further strengthen your relationship by keeping your waiting room hospitable and having small conveniences available.

Many times it’s the little things that people remember. If you’re struggling with how to keep radiology patients happy, don’t overlook the details.

Retaining imaging patients means giving your patients resources that matter to them

When considering strategies for patient retention, providing value to your patients is crucial. And we’re not just talking about a low price here. Help your patients make the most of their time with you, as well as the interactions you have with them outside your imaging facility.

Schedule quickly to help your patients to keep their appointments.

Thumbtacks in calendar to keep radiology patientsA large study of 54,652 radiology exam appointments showed that no-shows were more frequent if there were more days between the appointment and the day it was scheduled. Not surprisingly, patients who had missed appointments in the past were also at higher risk for missing them again. Get patients scheduled as quickly as possible, and use reminders to help patients remember their appointments. If a patient has no-showed previously, consider using multiple reminders to assist them.

Stay connected with your patients through radiology email marketing

Radiology patient retention can benefit from some of the same automated email strategies that help other businesses. These may include:

  • Emails welcoming them to the imaging center
  • Emails providing requested content
    • Example: A potential patient enters their email address into your center’s website so that they can receive an e-brochure on screening recommendations for their age group
  • Emails that invite the patient to get to know the center better. This could be an invitation to like or follow your facility on social media, or an invitation to a community event the center is hosting or sponsoring.
  • Emails that ask the patient questions that would help to inform your patient care and/or marketing strategies and help the patient to feel heard and valued
    • Example: A patient satisfaction survey after an appointment visit
    • Example: Asking patients what their biggest concern is about a particular imaging exam
  • Emails that ask the patient to review your center online (e.g., on Yelp, etc.)
  • Although positive reviews will help you to engage new patients, writing reviews on your behalf may also help your patients to be even more committed to your center!
  • Newsletter emails
    • Example: Patient stories about how your center has helped them, news about how the center is improving and growing, information about how your center helps the local community

Strategies to keep new patientsTip: Make your emails even more effective and memorable with these Diagnostic Center Email Signature Tips

These strategies for diagnostic patient retention will lead your facility to success

There are a wealth of strategies for diagnostic patient retention, both human-centered and technology-assisted, that can help you make sure you keep your patients happy.

These retention tools require some investment or training up front but can become an automatic part of your imaging center’s daily routines. Not only will they help you with patient retention, but they also help to foster a positive workplace culture at your radiology center!

Growing your imaging center doesn’t have to be hard!

Click to learn about our diagnostic growth products and services to help your center prosper.

Great strategy guides have been created for increasing patient referrals to new and growing diagnostic imaging centers, but much less is written about strategies for diagnostic patient retention

Focusing only on marketing your imaging center to gain new patients may mean failing to nurture existing patients, which can hinder your efforts to build your imaging center’s reputation. And a good reputation is key to gaining new diagnostics patients and growing your imaging center overall.

How to keep radiology patientsPatients who slip through the cracks may suffer negative consequences of disrupted care, while your center loses the rewards of all the hard work that has gone into your outreach and reputation-building efforts.

Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your patients engaged with your imaging center, and they won’t break your bank. If you set them up carefully, many can even be automated!

Increase your patient retention by staying connected.

Asking patients for feedback is a great way to stay connected, get more online reviews, and pinpoint how to improve your patient experience.

Learn how MedRev automatically collects patient feedback and grows your positive reviews.

Quality Care is the first step to increase patient retention for an imaging center

This one may seem obvious, but are you going about this with the right mindset?

Strategies for patient retentionYou take pride in your staff’s training and dedication to current best practices, as well as the safety and rigor of the technologies they use. However, other metrics of quality may be an even more effective method to increase patient retention for an imaging center.

The patient’s understanding of their care and active engagement in decision making, the perceived goodwill of the staff, and ease of appointment making are just a few facets of patient experience that can make or break a patient’s relationship with your center.

Ensure that your diagnostic patients understand their exams

Although it is easy to assume that smiling, nodding patients understand what your staff is telling them, this is often not the case.

A study of patients about to undergo imaging exams found that less than half could correctly indicate whether radiation was involved in their exam, about 28% were less than satisfied with the explanation they had received about their exam, and over half wished they could discuss the exam with a radiologist beforehand.

Retaining imaging patientsTaking the time to help a patient understand the choices and services that they are being offered may help them to not only play an active role in making decisions for their health but also to stay engaged in their care.

How can you help imaging patients play an active role in decisions about their health?

  1. Consider asking the patient open-ended questions to encourage them to describe in their own words what you have discussed so that you can check for understanding.
  2. You may also think about using patient decision aids such as this online tool to help patients decide whether to be screened for lung cancer.
  3. Motivational Interviewing is a well-researched set of principles and tools that can help healthcare providers to avoid taking a paternalistic role with their patients, as this can result in the power struggles and ambivalence that lead to no-show’s as well as poor adherence to recommendations and follow-ups. Instead, these simple but powerful techniques help you to take on a collaborative partnership with your patients to keep them engaged.

Ideas for patient retentionEmpowering your imaging patients to understand and take part in their health care will result in positive outcomes, including patient satisfaction and an increase in patient retention for an imaging center.

Retaining imaging patients by training your staff in rapport-building

Every staff member has an impact on how patients will perceive any outpatient imaging center as a whole. We also know that patients who think the staff and providers are “nice” will be more likely to come back.  What might not be so obvious is how, exactly, to accomplish this, particularly in the face of time limitations or patient complaints.

Techniques such as reflective listening and asking open-ended questions will empower your staff to use every interaction as an opportunity to build rapport with each and every imaging patient that comes to your facility.

Centers that train all staff in these tools know how to keep radiology patients. Fostering rapport can also help to reduce the negative consequences of service failures. No center is perfect, and strong relationships with your patients will help you to weather the storm when mistakes are made.

Embed small kindnesses into the center itself

Colorful mini gift boxes, Ideas for patient retentionIntegrating warmth and continued connection with the patient into your center’s processes is one of the best ideas for patient retention. It turns out it’s the little things that make a big difference. Multiple studies have shown that small touches such as mailing patients postcards and letters can actually reduce suicide attempts. This highlights just how powerful small kindnesses can be.

  1. Keep in touch with your patients, for example by mailing birthday or holiday cards. Not only does keeping in touch with your patients show them that you care, it can also help remind them to take stock of their health, which could mean coming in for a follow-up.
  2. Make your patients comfortable while they are at your imaging facility for their visit. You can further strengthen your relationship by keeping your waiting room hospitable and having small conveniences available.

Many times it’s the little things that people remember. If you’re struggling with how to keep radiology patients happy, don’t overlook the details.

Retaining imaging patients means giving your patients resources that matter to them

When considering strategies for patient retention, providing value to your patients is crucial. And we’re not just talking about a low price here. Help your patients make the most of their time with you, as well as the interactions you have with them outside your imaging facility.

Schedule quickly to help your patients to keep their appointments.

Thumbtacks in calendar to keep radiology patientsA large study of 54,652 radiology exam appointments showed that no-shows were more frequent if there were more days between the appointment and the day it was scheduled. Not surprisingly, patients who had missed appointments in the past were also at higher risk for missing them again. Get patients scheduled as quickly as possible, and use reminders to help patients remember their appointments. If a patient has no-showed previously, consider using multiple reminders to assist them.

Stay connected with your patients through radiology email marketing

Radiology patient retention can benefit from some of the same automated email strategies that help other businesses. These may include:

  • Emails welcoming them to the imaging center
  • Emails providing requested content
    • Example: A potential patient enters their email address into your center’s website so that they can receive an e-brochure on screening recommendations for their age group
  • Emails that invite the patient to get to know the center better. This could be an invitation to like or follow your facility on social media, or an invitation to a community event the center is hosting or sponsoring.
  • Emails that ask the patient questions that would help to inform your patient care and/or marketing strategies and help the patient to feel heard and valued
    • Example: A patient satisfaction survey after an appointment visit
    • Example: Asking patients what their biggest concern is about a particular imaging exam
  • Emails that ask the patient to review your center online (e.g., on Yelp, etc.)
  • Although positive reviews will help you to engage new patients, writing reviews on your behalf may also help your patients to be even more committed to your center!
  • Newsletter emails
    • Example: Patient stories about how your center has helped them, news about how the center is improving and growing, information about how your center helps the local community

Strategies to keep new patientsTip: Make your emails even more effective and memorable with these Diagnostic Center Email Signature Tips

These strategies for diagnostic patient retention will lead your facility to success

There are a wealth of strategies for diagnostic patient retention, both human-centered and technology-assisted, that can help you make sure you keep your patients happy.

These retention tools require some investment or training up front but can become an automatic part of your imaging center’s daily routines. Not only will they help you with patient retention, but they also help to foster a positive workplace culture at your radiology center!

Growing your imaging center doesn’t have to be hard!

Click to learn about our diagnostic growth products and services to help your center prosper.

Email Signature Tricks for Diagnostic Imaging Marketing

A Good Email Signature Is an Easily Accessible Tool in Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing Strategy Toolkit

According to Sumo, the average person receives 124 business related emails per day. That’s a lot of competition. When it comes to diagnostic imaging marketing, there are several tactics to get you noticed. One of the simplest, yet often overlooked, is having a good email signature.

Below we will show you how an effective email signature can be created in a matter of minutes.

Looking for a better way to send out more effective emails from your diagnostic center?

Click to learn how professional and educational email marketing can grow your diagnostic center!

How a Simple Addition to Your Email Signature Can Generate Sustained Interest and More Patient Referrals

Radiology Marketing Strategy: All aspects of marketing your diagnostic center should aim to be memorable.  If your signature doesn’t stand out and provide useful information to your reader, you could be missing out on connecting with your community and getting new patient referrals.

So, what does a memorable email signature need?

Most imaging centers have the minimum. This includes:

  1. Your Full Name
  2. Your Diagnostic & Imaging Center’s Address
  3. Your Diagnostic & Imaging Center’s Website

That’s a great start, but here’ what you really need for radiology marketing strategy:

  1. A link to your Imaging Center’s Facebook Page and other Business Profiles
  2. Your Title or Position
  3. Your Logo
  4. Your Email Address (yes, I said that)

Here are 3 key email steps below to pique the interest of a Referring Physician

1. Add Your Email Address to Your Email Signature

It’s funny how a  little thing like this can have such an impact.  Most people feel that it is redundant to add your email address to your signature.  Actually, you are making it easier for your referring physician to save your information and remember who you are.  

This technique sets you apart from those other 123 emails your reader is getting today. 

Email signature diagnostic imaging marketing

2. Make Sure Your Email Signature is Branded In Line Your Other Radiology Marketing Efforts

Your email signature is a form of branding which is key to any diagnostic imaging marketing strategy.  Just as you would take into consideration font size, type, and color on a piece of marketing collateral, use the same principle here too.  Color plays a big part.  Change the font color of your name to match the branding of your facility.  This helps it stand out and adds consistency to your overall marketing.

Go a step further and change the font color of your title and email address to match your name.  This helps your referring physicians quickly identify what they need in a well-organized signature. Another benefit of adding color to portions of your signature is that it will break up your name, title, and website from the middle portion featuring your business address.

Remember to test your color on multiple devices to be sure it is clearly visible.

radiology marketing strategy

3. Get Creative With Your Layout

Who says your email signature has to read like a standard line-by-line paragraph? Actually, you can get your referring physician’s attention by being creative in unique ways.  For example, add your facility’s logo to your signature and move it out to the right of your contact information. Enlarge your logo to cover ⅔ of the signature.  Since we read from left to right, your contact information is the first that is read and your logo is the last.  Embed a link to your website within your logo for an interesting Call to Action.

diagnostic imaging marketing

Want To Kick Your Diagnostics Imaging Marketing Into High Gear?

The tips above cover a lot. But there is so much more you can do! Incorporating effective emails into your diagnostic imaging marketing plan means using what you have to your advantage.

Use Your Radiology Blog in Your Email Signature to Generate Added Interest.

To really stand out, consider adding

  1. Your Headshot
  2. A Link to your Blog
  3. A Link to a relevant article on your Blog
  4. A featured image from your Blog as your link

Are You Seeing Low Open Rates on Your Emails? This article can help!

It’s the little things that matter is a phrase that holds true in many instances. Your mail signature is one of them.  By making just a few small adjustments, you will set yourself apart from your diagnostic imaging marketing competition, increasing the chances of your diagnostic and imaging facility being remembered, thus creating an increased chance of new business with referring physicians.

Download the Email Signatures Template

Still not getting the response rate you’re looking for?

Your diagnostic center’s online reputation could be to blame! Learn how you can get more positive reviews to boost your business.

A Good Email Signature Is an Easily Accessible Tool in Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing Strategy Toolkit

According to Sumo, the average person receives 124 business related emails per day. That’s a lot of competition. When it comes to diagnostic imaging marketing, there are several tactics to get you noticed. One of the simplest, yet often overlooked, is having a good email signature.

Below we will show you how an effective email signature can be created in a matter of minutes.

Looking for a better way to send out more effective emails from your diagnostic center?

Click to learn how professional and educational email marketing can grow your diagnostic center!

How a Simple Addition to Your Email Signature Can Generate Sustained Interest and More Patient Referrals

Radiology Marketing Strategy: All aspects of marketing your diagnostic center should aim to be memorable.  If your signature doesn’t stand out and provide useful information to your reader, you could be missing out on connecting with your community and getting new patient referrals.

So, what does a memorable email signature need?

Most imaging centers have the minimum. This includes:

  1. Your Full Name
  2. Your Diagnostic & Imaging Center’s Address
  3. Your Diagnostic & Imaging Center’s Website

That’s a great start, but here’ what you really need for radiology marketing strategy:

  1. A link to your Imaging Center’s Facebook Page and other Business Profiles
  2. Your Title or Position
  3. Your Logo
  4. Your Email Address (yes, I said that)

Here are 3 key email steps below to pique the interest of a Referring Physician

1. Add Your Email Address to Your Email Signature

It’s funny how a  little thing like this can have such an impact.  Most people feel that it is redundant to add your email address to your signature.  Actually, you are making it easier for your referring physician to save your information and remember who you are.  

This technique sets you apart from those other 123 emails your reader is getting today. 

Email signature diagnostic imaging marketing

2. Make Sure Your Email Signature is Branded In Line Your Other Radiology Marketing Efforts

Your email signature is a form of branding which is key to any diagnostic imaging marketing strategy.  Just as you would take into consideration font size, type, and color on a piece of marketing collateral, use the same principle here too.  Color plays a big part.  Change the font color of your name to match the branding of your facility.  This helps it stand out and adds consistency to your overall marketing.

Go a step further and change the font color of your title and email address to match your name.  This helps your referring physicians quickly identify what they need in a well-organized signature. Another benefit of adding color to portions of your signature is that it will break up your name, title, and website from the middle portion featuring your business address.

Remember to test your color on multiple devices to be sure it is clearly visible.

radiology marketing strategy

3. Get Creative With Your Layout

Who says your email signature has to read like a standard line-by-line paragraph? Actually, you can get your referring physician’s attention by being creative in unique ways.  For example, add your facility’s logo to your signature and move it out to the right of your contact information. Enlarge your logo to cover ⅔ of the signature.  Since we read from left to right, your contact information is the first that is read and your logo is the last.  Embed a link to your website within your logo for an interesting Call to Action.

diagnostic imaging marketing

Want To Kick Your Diagnostics Imaging Marketing Into High Gear?

The tips above cover a lot. But there is so much more you can do! Incorporating effective emails into your diagnostic imaging marketing plan means using what you have to your advantage.

Use Your Radiology Blog in Your Email Signature to Generate Added Interest.

To really stand out, consider adding

  1. Your Headshot
  2. A Link to your Blog
  3. A Link to a relevant article on your Blog
  4. A featured image from your Blog as your link

Are You Seeing Low Open Rates on Your Emails? This article can help!

It’s the little things that matter is a phrase that holds true in many instances. Your mail signature is one of them.  By making just a few small adjustments, you will set yourself apart from your diagnostic imaging marketing competition, increasing the chances of your diagnostic and imaging facility being remembered, thus creating an increased chance of new business with referring physicians.

Download the Email Signatures Template

Still not getting the response rate you’re looking for?

Your diagnostic center’s online reputation could be to blame! Learn how you can get more positive reviews to boost your business.

Where & How To Start an Imaging Center

There are two important questions to answer relating to starting an imaging center.

The first is: Should you open a diagnostic imaging center? The answer to this one will vary depending on who’s asking it. 

The second is perhaps more important and needs to be answered first: What does it take to start an imaging center?

This article is going to give you everything you need to know about building an imaging center so you can come to an informed conclusion on whether or not this endeavor is right for you.

Setting up a marketing strategy for your new imaging center?

Click to read about our diagnostic marketing products and services to grow your center.

Assessing Imaging Center Profitability

Before you start creating a vision and a marketing plan for a  new imaging center, you’ll want to do some research. For your radiology center business plan, Imaging center profitability may be on a long-term upward trend, but with healthcare reform and economic changes, there are no guarantees. Is it worth the risk? The only way to answer this is to do the research specific to your situation and location.

Starting an imaging center is not cheap.

You’ll have to put in a lot of money upfront and it can take time to start making a profit. Will you need investors, a business partner, or some loans? Crunching the numbers should be your first step.

Ask Yourself a Lot of Questions

These are dozens of questions you will want to ask yourself in order to determine whether starting an imaging center is a good choice for you. Questions will help guide your research and planning into the financial and marketing aspects of opening an imaging center.

Consider The Location You’re Thinking About Opening an Imaging Center In

The number one rule of all real estate is location, location. location. Sounds easy but there some specific considerations to take into account when we are talking about where to open an imaging center.

Locations near physician’s offices and near the hospital are ideal.

start an imaging center locationMore specifically, your imaging center should be located near the offices of your Referring Physicians. It needs to be accessible and convenient for the patients.  Often a physician will recommend a certain test for a patient and tell the patient to come back to his office when it is completed.

Even if a test is not able to be performed immediately or even in the next few days, the patient likely lives or works nearby or at least is familiar with the area.

Pick a location that’s easy to find

If the patient cannot easily locate the radiology imaging center his or her physician recommended, it is the patient’s prerogative to go to any location he or she chooses.  Missed appointments mean your radiology marketing budget is taking a hit.

Diagnostics Building Specifications

building viewIt is difficult to find a free-standing building that is suitable for all of the requirements for an outpatient imaging center. Even if your chosen building was built as an imaging center, changes will likely have to be made. 

It’s up to you to make sure your facility meets all the requirements.

Look and Feel of the Place

Additionally, you’ll want to consider the overall appearance of the center both inside and out. If the building is old and the rooms are cramped, it could steer potential patients and referring physicians away from you.

Parking and Public Transportation to your Imaging Center

There must be enough parking spaces and many patients will need handicapped spaces. If the building is not free-standing, you must be cognizant of the types of businesses above your planned imaging center.

Ideally, your imaging center will be located within easy reach of public transportation. Otherwise, you are limiting your patient pool to those who have a vehicle.

MRI Specific Considerations

start an imaging center with MRIYou must carefully consider the ideal location for the MRI room.

The MRI machine should be placed in an RF-shielded (radio-frequency) room.

The MRI space consists of three nested components:

  1. An outer shell for structural support
  2. A middle metallic RF-shield
  3. An interior layer made of finish materials

It takes extra space for these items and they must be constructed properly. It can not be too close to moving traffic as that may interfere with the machine’s capabilities.

Steer Clear of ALL METAL

If metal is allowed in the room, catastrophe will ensue. Many times a “foyer” is constructed at the entrance to the MRI room with metal detectors to ensure there are no mistakes.

Consider The Noise of the MRI

The machine is noisy when in use and will possibly be a nuisance to any upstairs or even downstairs neighbors. If your facility is not in a stand-alone building you should assess the possibility of upsetting your neighbors. You also want to take into account any area of your facility that may be sound sensitive and make sure it’s not near any noisy equipment.

Additional MRI Considerations

Depending on where you are, the MRI may have to be a minimum distance away from moving vehicles as well. This includes lawnmowers and trash collection trucks when they are in use. 

CT & X-Ray Machines

The x-ray room and the CT room will have to be lead lined. There will be questions about storage and elimination of any chemicals that may be needed for any specialty machines. Newer machines may not be as “hazardous” as older machines so a decision concerning what radiographic machines to purchase may have to be done prior to the final plans for the building.

Installing The Equipment

Remember, the machines to be installed are more often than not very large and very heavy. They will not fit through a doorway. Often the outside wall of the building will have to be removed for the installation, especially for the MRI. After installation, the wall, as well as any required lining, will have to re-installed. The ceiling of the room also will have to be lined.

The Pros Know Best

blueprints

Start an imaging center: After deliberating and choosing a suitable location for your center, the hard work begins. Even if the building is already built, even as an imaging center, work will have to be done to the premises.

The layout of the facility should be designed by a professional in the area of imaging centers. Dimensions of rooms may vary wildly depending on the footprint of the proposed or existing building.

An MRI requires definitive parameters that a CT exam room or a room for a plain x-ray machine will not need. You’ll need to think about the width of the hallways and the location of the different modalities, as well as the location of the front desk and even the bathrooms.

Think your plans are done? Not till Uncle Sam says so!

After getting the plans drawn and approved by all of the stakeholders involved in the project, the process is just beginning. The county will have its say on the construction or the remodeling of the buildings. There will be details from the building department of your county that may also have specifications for the build of the center. They will go over every aspect in detail. You may think you have thought of every contingency but this is rarely the case.

Where are the exits on the building? Where will the fire extinguishers be placed? Don’t forget about those required pesky water fountains. What about sprinkler heads? Oh no, this may interfere with the MRI machine. You may also have to educate the authorities on the requirements of the machines you will be installing. It can be a difficult and tedious process.

Keeping Your Patients Happy

The entrance to your facility is very important. You need to be sure it makes all patients feel welcome and at ease.  Keeping your patients happy also means the look of the interior is crucial. An interior decorator may be utilized to get the perfect “feel” of the imaging center.

radiology center business plan

Think Beyond The Building

A beautiful facility is a great start, but before you need to think ahead. How will you attract top-notch employees? How can you get 5-star online reviews ethically right out the gate? Established competitors have already considered these points and if you want to succeed you cannot overlook them.

From the start, you should utilize a reputation management system to gather patient experience data and build your positive online reviews. Here’s how to build a positive online reputation right from the start.

Ready to Get Started?

Now that you have your plans in place, the land or building is purchased or at least under contract or option, it is time to begin. You may have thought that getting to this point was difficult but more work, the hard work, is about to begin.

Start an imaging center: Using a Contractor

You may have a contractor or you may have decided to handle the renovations or building yourself. It is not impossible and can be done. By now you know your design inside out. Your contractor should too but it is still your money. If mistakes are made, you are the one who will have to live with them.

Go to the site daily and check on everything.

From the site preparation to the actual building of the imaging center, if the site work is off and needs to be fixed at a later date, you will have to pay for it. Since you’re already paying a pretty penny, you’re not going to want to tack on extra costs because of a misunderstanding. Mistakes can be fixed, but always at a cost, and most often you will have to pay the bill.

Using a Foreman

Foreman to start an imaging centerIf you have decided to be your own contractor, hire a foreman. A good foreman can save you aggravation and money. Not only can he take care of the details, but he should be able to set up an approximate, or definitive timeline for the completion of the work as well as a reliable cost. His knowledge will be invaluable.

Building a Great Staff for your Radiology Center Business Plan

Building a great staff for your imaging center takes time and effort. Consider hiring a chief technologist and let him or her interview prospective employees. If you have chosen well, that person will make a list of individuals they have worked with in the past and will know who is good and who is not. Their judgment may be better than yours in this case.

Don’t wait for your building to be completed to begin this step. Relocating, leaving another job, and upcoming travel can all play a part in when your new employees can start, not to mention training time.

Imaging Center Profitability: Co-ordinate your schedule with the vendors of your equipment.

Your machines should be ready to be installed at the proper time in relation to the building. The realization is that often what the salesman told you and reality may be different. The fact of the matter is that things may have changed over time. You should check and recheck all of the details to make this step as smooth as possible.

Finally, You Are Ready To Open Your Imaging Center

After following this guide to start an imaging center, you’ll be ready to, well, open the place! You overcame a lot to get here, now the real work begins. 

Your next big hurdle is to go out there and get the businessGo for it. You can do this!

Have you done your research? Get the knowledge to get ahead!

Find the best strategies for patient retention, data security, generating great online reviews, and more!

There are two important questions to answer relating to starting an imaging center.

The first is: Should you open a diagnostic imaging center? The answer to this one will vary depending on who’s asking it. 

The second is perhaps more important and needs to be answered first: What does it take to start an imaging center?

This article is going to give you everything you need to know about building an imaging center so you can come to an informed conclusion on whether or not this endeavor is right for you.

Setting up a marketing strategy for your new imaging center?

Click to read about our diagnostic marketing products and services to grow your center.

Assessing Imaging Center Profitability

Before you start creating a vision and a marketing plan for a  new imaging center, you’ll want to do some research. For your radiology center business plan, Imaging center profitability may be on a long-term upward trend, but with healthcare reform and economic changes, there are no guarantees. Is it worth the risk? The only way to answer this is to do the research specific to your situation and location.

Starting an imaging center is not cheap.

You’ll have to put in a lot of money upfront and it can take time to start making a profit. Will you need investors, a business partner, or some loans? Crunching the numbers should be your first step.

Ask Yourself a Lot of Questions

These are dozens of questions you will want to ask yourself in order to determine whether starting an imaging center is a good choice for you. Questions will help guide your research and planning into the financial and marketing aspects of opening an imaging center.

Consider The Location You’re Thinking About Opening an Imaging Center In

The number one rule of all real estate is location, location. location. Sounds easy but there some specific considerations to take into account when we are talking about where to open an imaging center.

Locations near physician’s offices and near the hospital are ideal.

start an imaging center locationMore specifically, your imaging center should be located near the offices of your Referring Physicians. It needs to be accessible and convenient for the patients.  Often a physician will recommend a certain test for a patient and tell the patient to come back to his office when it is completed.

Even if a test is not able to be performed immediately or even in the next few days, the patient likely lives or works nearby or at least is familiar with the area.

Pick a location that’s easy to find

If the patient cannot easily locate the radiology imaging center his or her physician recommended, it is the patient’s prerogative to go to any location he or she chooses.  Missed appointments mean your radiology marketing budget is taking a hit.

Diagnostics Building Specifications

building viewIt is difficult to find a free-standing building that is suitable for all of the requirements for an outpatient imaging center. Even if your chosen building was built as an imaging center, changes will likely have to be made. 

It’s up to you to make sure your facility meets all the requirements.

Look and Feel of the Place

Additionally, you’ll want to consider the overall appearance of the center both inside and out. If the building is old and the rooms are cramped, it could steer potential patients and referring physicians away from you.

Parking and Public Transportation to your Imaging Center

There must be enough parking spaces and many patients will need handicapped spaces. If the building is not free-standing, you must be cognizant of the types of businesses above your planned imaging center.

Ideally, your imaging center will be located within easy reach of public transportation. Otherwise, you are limiting your patient pool to those who have a vehicle.

MRI Specific Considerations

start an imaging center with MRIYou must carefully consider the ideal location for the MRI room.

The MRI machine should be placed in an RF-shielded (radio-frequency) room.

The MRI space consists of three nested components:

  1. An outer shell for structural support
  2. A middle metallic RF-shield
  3. An interior layer made of finish materials

It takes extra space for these items and they must be constructed properly. It can not be too close to moving traffic as that may interfere with the machine’s capabilities.

Steer Clear of ALL METAL

If metal is allowed in the room, catastrophe will ensue. Many times a “foyer” is constructed at the entrance to the MRI room with metal detectors to ensure there are no mistakes.

Consider The Noise of the MRI

The machine is noisy when in use and will possibly be a nuisance to any upstairs or even downstairs neighbors. If your facility is not in a stand-alone building you should assess the possibility of upsetting your neighbors. You also want to take into account any area of your facility that may be sound sensitive and make sure it’s not near any noisy equipment.

Additional MRI Considerations

Depending on where you are, the MRI may have to be a minimum distance away from moving vehicles as well. This includes lawnmowers and trash collection trucks when they are in use. 

CT & X-Ray Machines

The x-ray room and the CT room will have to be lead lined. There will be questions about storage and elimination of any chemicals that may be needed for any specialty machines. Newer machines may not be as “hazardous” as older machines so a decision concerning what radiographic machines to purchase may have to be done prior to the final plans for the building.

Installing The Equipment

Remember, the machines to be installed are more often than not very large and very heavy. They will not fit through a doorway. Often the outside wall of the building will have to be removed for the installation, especially for the MRI. After installation, the wall, as well as any required lining, will have to re-installed. The ceiling of the room also will have to be lined.

The Pros Know Best

blueprints

Start an imaging center: After deliberating and choosing a suitable location for your center, the hard work begins. Even if the building is already built, even as an imaging center, work will have to be done to the premises.

The layout of the facility should be designed by a professional in the area of imaging centers. Dimensions of rooms may vary wildly depending on the footprint of the proposed or existing building.

An MRI requires definitive parameters that a CT exam room or a room for a plain x-ray machine will not need. You’ll need to think about the width of the hallways and the location of the different modalities, as well as the location of the front desk and even the bathrooms.

Think your plans are done? Not till Uncle Sam says so!

After getting the plans drawn and approved by all of the stakeholders involved in the project, the process is just beginning. The county will have its say on the construction or the remodeling of the buildings. There will be details from the building department of your county that may also have specifications for the build of the center. They will go over every aspect in detail. You may think you have thought of every contingency but this is rarely the case.

Where are the exits on the building? Where will the fire extinguishers be placed? Don’t forget about those required pesky water fountains. What about sprinkler heads? Oh no, this may interfere with the MRI machine. You may also have to educate the authorities on the requirements of the machines you will be installing. It can be a difficult and tedious process.

Keeping Your Patients Happy

The entrance to your facility is very important. You need to be sure it makes all patients feel welcome and at ease.  Keeping your patients happy also means the look of the interior is crucial. An interior decorator may be utilized to get the perfect “feel” of the imaging center.

radiology center business plan

Think Beyond The Building

A beautiful facility is a great start, but before you need to think ahead. How will you attract top-notch employees? How can you get 5-star online reviews ethically right out the gate? Established competitors have already considered these points and if you want to succeed you cannot overlook them.

From the start, you should utilize a reputation management system to gather patient experience data and build your positive online reviews. Here’s how to build a positive online reputation right from the start.

Ready to Get Started?

Now that you have your plans in place, the land or building is purchased or at least under contract or option, it is time to begin. You may have thought that getting to this point was difficult but more work, the hard work, is about to begin.

Start an imaging center: Using a Contractor

You may have a contractor or you may have decided to handle the renovations or building yourself. It is not impossible and can be done. By now you know your design inside out. Your contractor should too but it is still your money. If mistakes are made, you are the one who will have to live with them.

Go to the site daily and check on everything.

From the site preparation to the actual building of the imaging center, if the site work is off and needs to be fixed at a later date, you will have to pay for it. Since you’re already paying a pretty penny, you’re not going to want to tack on extra costs because of a misunderstanding. Mistakes can be fixed, but always at a cost, and most often you will have to pay the bill.

Using a Foreman

Foreman to start an imaging centerIf you have decided to be your own contractor, hire a foreman. A good foreman can save you aggravation and money. Not only can he take care of the details, but he should be able to set up an approximate, or definitive timeline for the completion of the work as well as a reliable cost. His knowledge will be invaluable.

Building a Great Staff for your Radiology Center Business Plan

Building a great staff for your imaging center takes time and effort. Consider hiring a chief technologist and let him or her interview prospective employees. If you have chosen well, that person will make a list of individuals they have worked with in the past and will know who is good and who is not. Their judgment may be better than yours in this case.

Don’t wait for your building to be completed to begin this step. Relocating, leaving another job, and upcoming travel can all play a part in when your new employees can start, not to mention training time.

Imaging Center Profitability: Co-ordinate your schedule with the vendors of your equipment.

Your machines should be ready to be installed at the proper time in relation to the building. The realization is that often what the salesman told you and reality may be different. The fact of the matter is that things may have changed over time. You should check and recheck all of the details to make this step as smooth as possible.

Finally, You Are Ready To Open Your Imaging Center

After following this guide to start an imaging center, you’ll be ready to, well, open the place! You overcame a lot to get here, now the real work begins. 

Your next big hurdle is to go out there and get the businessGo for it. You can do this!

Have you done your research? Get the knowledge to get ahead!

Find the best strategies for patient retention, data security, generating great online reviews, and more!