Creating Your Brand, Radiology-style
Build your practice’s image with these branding tips.
Radiologists face a struggle in today’s current health care climate. How can they promote value-based care, and how do they stand out against other specialties that now offer imaging services?
Unsurprisingly, non-medical businesses face similar struggles in that they need to brand themselves to win out over their competitors. In order to promote their services and beat their competitors, radiologists need to determine who they want to be and how to present their practices. To do that, they focus on branding.
What is branding, you might ask? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “Your brand is your promise to your customer.” It tells your customers — patients and referring physicians in radiology’s case— what they can expect from your products and services and how your practice is different from others who provide that same service. In a health care climate, where value is increasingly in demand, radiologists may want to make their brand one of value. To help radiology practices communicate quality and define their niche, we took some branding advice from Business Insider and adapted it to radiology.
Keep It Simple.
In order to build an image that represents value, first you have to add value for your stakeholders. The College’s Imaging 3.0™ program has valuable tips and showcases practices that have gone the extra mile in presenting their value. Imaging 3.0 calls for radiologists to do more and be more. Be seen. Go to tumor boards. Talk to your patients and referring physicians. Get out into the community. While these tips may seem relatively easy, the actual process of creating value can seem overwhelming at first.
To start building value, start simple. Consider what you can integrate into your schedule this week, then maybe next month, and then maybe set some long-term goals. By focusing on one task a time, you can work to become more visible in your community.
Choose How You Present Yourself.
In the corporate world, this means to define what kind of company you want to present yourself as. Are you fun and quirky like Hulu? Or are you straightforward like the Home Depot? One way to present yourself as a valuable member of the health care spectrum is to be seen as open and communicative. Take time to make calls to referring physicians when appropriate. Or make yourself and your staff available to answer questions that patients may have. Consider getting your practice on social media too. Patients can connect with your practice on Facebook and ask general questions about procedures and new tests. Participating in social media events like tweet chats may also help, as you can connect with other stakeholders and educate them about radiology and radiologists.
Don’t Let Others Try to Define Your Brand.
For radiology practices and businesses alike, this one can be complicated. You want to listen to your stakeholders and you want to provide them with the experiences they desire. By giving patients what they want, you’re sure to get high patient-satisfaction scores. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re presenting the most valuable treatment. If your patient desires imaging that you know is unnecessary, you are giving them better value — and sticking to your value-based brand — by helping them understand that they may not need the test. This way, you also present yourself as a knowledgeable consultant and the expert in your field.
Apply your brand consistently.
You can’t be everywhere at once, but every time you’re able, pick up the phone or make the effort to help a patient understand their results. Calling your referring physician once in a year gives them a valuable experience for that particular patient, but it doesn’t tell them that you are valuable all the time. In order to appear valuable and patient-centered, you must be consistent.
Part of that consistency is ensuring that the value-based tools you create are used and protected. Once you have branded your services as valuable to patients and colleagues, you must make sure that other specialties don’t take over those services that radiologists, as the experts in their field, should be performing.
Appropriateness criteria and clinical decision support tools like ACR Select™ are consulting resources created and supported by radiologists for the larger health care spectrum. If radiologists fail to protect their position as imaging experts by not advocating for decision support or supporting the creation of appropriateness criteria, they may lose that top position. Protect your brand — and your value — by ensuring that other health care stakeholders understand the value of clinical decision support and that you provide them with a unique and valuable service.
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By Meghan Edwards, copywriter for the ACR Bulletin