Marketing mix in a radiology department: challenges for future radiologists in management
Radiology has gained an enviable position among medial specialities. Developments in new technology expand its horizons and the volume of radiologic imaging techniques and procedures increase far more than the overall growth in health care services. In this position radiology has become a prime target for restrictions, cutbacks, controlled financing in an area of managed care and new national health care policy based on partially fixed budgets. Future health care takers have to choose the best available diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Evidence based medicine, cost-utility analysis, diagnostic performance analysis, patient outcome analysis, technology assessment and guidelines for practice are means to guide us through our obligatory choice. Our major objective is to use the most performant available imaging technique or intervention to achieve the best possible outcome for our patient at lower possible costs. A strategic response from radiologists is required to meet the imperatives of this new management situation. They must do far more than interpret imaging procedures. They must work as efficient managers of imaging resources, organise their practices and define their marketing-strategies using the different, so-called, marketing-mix elements. The challenges will be great but the rewards are worth our best efforts. In this article we highlight the marketing responsibilities of future radiologists and their clinical practice in this new socio-economic environment and we present different useful marketing tools.