Why radiology is the cornerstone of any hospital

Radiology is the cornerstone of any hospital. An efficient, high-quality, well-run radiology department increases patient satisfaction as a result of its ability to improve patient care. Over time, a well-run radiology department adds significant patient volumes to the hospital, which, of course, favorably enhances the hospital’s bottom line. Regardless of whether the hospital is not-for-profit or for-profit, a smooth-sailing radiology department vastly increases the profitability of the hospital. The better the hospital system does financially, the more patient care and comfort can be enhanced.

Sometimes, though, hospital administrations need a reminder of just how important is a superior on-site radiology team. As many hospitals who have endured such a setup can attest, it is not adequate to have a teleradiology service and a couple of interventional radiologists on-site. That is a stop-gap measure designed to “fill a hole” until a permanent solution can be put in place. The problem with such a setup, though, is that it becomes very difficult for a hospital to recruit an entire group without enticements and promises being made that, from experience, cannot last.

Through constant, daily interactions, the medical staff of a hospital become reliant upon their on-site radiology teammates. The daily communication with known radiology personnel cannot be underestimated. Relationships build over time and doctors, in particular, are not too terribly happy when they are forced to adapt to frequent changes. Patient care advances become second nature through the efforts of highly-trained interventional radiologists. Hospital administrations don’t always notice the well-run components of their system to the same degree as those that need improvements. As we know, the broken parts of a machine need attention while the well-oiled, smoothly operating components do not.

As an interventional radiologist who has worked in several different hospital systems throughout my career, I have lately been immensely gratified by the outpouring of support that I and my radiology partners have received from the medical community here in Naples, Florida. Without prompting, and without exception, all of the doctors with whom we radiologists associate daily have stated categorically that our group enhances their ability to better care for their patients. We have come to realize that radiology has not and will not be commoditized to the degree that many other industries have become. You cannot farm out radiology interpretations to the lowest bidder and expect to get the same high-quality, sub specialized interpretations that you get from, for example, my group.

A tightly-run, efficient, high-quality group of individuals, like the radiology group of which I am a partner, is much more than the sum of its parts. It is a sub-specialized juggernaut with the highest satisfaction ratings of any group or department in the entire hospital system. I am and will continue to be a proud partner of Naples Radiologists. As we grow and change with the times, I fervently hope that  our hospital administration, and hospital administrations across the country, appreciate and respect their high-quality radiology departments, if they are so blessed. In doing so, their patients will receive better care and will have better experiences.

If they do not,well, patient care will unfortunately suffer.

Paul Dorio is an interventional radiologist who blogs at his self-titled site, Paul J Dorio, MD.

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