By Gail Schwartz
Let’s face it: whether you’re a radiology practice manager, an imaging department director, or a hospital executive, R, F, and P are unlikely to be your favorite letters.
When an institution issues an RFP, it’s usually a sign that things have gone awry with an existing relationship. Whether perceived or real, there may be the opinion that greater value—monetary or otherwise—is available from a new imaging services provider. After all, why else would a hospital team put themselves through such an arduous exercise?
For all parties, the RFP process is anxiety-ridden, costly, and disruptive, both clinically and from a relationship perspective. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of all stakeholders to improve or strengthen existing relationships so that the letters R, F, and P are never uttered. Nevertheless, as an article published several years ago in the Journal of the American College of Radiology noted, “radiologists are losing their hospital contracts in record numbers.”1
Why? One important reason is that medical institutions are under increasing pressure to control costs while simultaneously demonstrating quality. As a result, they need to feel confident that their imaging partners are aligned, collaborative, and focused on delivering the highest possible value.
But sometimes a disconnect exists between the presence of the desired value and its perception. An RFP can happen to radiology practices who are doing a great job of delivering quality service but a poor job of “marketing” themselves to hospital leadership. As in all relationships, communication needs to be proactive and planned. Both parties need to understand and agree on expectations and keep the lines of communication open.
Efforts to make RFPs unnecessary must center on consistent, high-quality communication among administration, radiology leadership, and radiologists. Join me for my upcoming breakout session at the AHRA 2017 Annual Meeting, “Making Radiology R.elationships F.ire P.roof to Render RFPs Irrelevant” (Tuesday, July 11, 4:15 p.m.–5:45 p.m.) to learn how you can secure your relationships.
- Muroff LR. Why Radiologists Lose Their Hospital Contracts: Is Your Contract Secure? J Am Coll Radiol. 2010;7(3):180-186
Gail Schwartz, Vice President—Healthcare for trg Marketing Works in York, Pennsylvania, has an extensive background in planning and executing strategic marketing and branding initiatives for entire healthcare organizations and specialty service lines. Her work has been recognized with Quest Awards, Aster Awards, and the Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards. Gail can be reached at 717-852-7171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.