Imaging Centers

Growing with Desert Radiology

Photo of Desert Radiology Imaging Center

Desert Radiology executive Matt Grimes starred in a recent Aunt Minnie webinar, detailing the Las Vegas radiology group’s operational and growth strategy, and sharing some very relevant takeaways for imaging providers and vendors. 

About Desert Radiology – Desert Radiology (DR) operates 11 imaging centers, services 14 acute care hospitals across Southern Nevada, and staffs over 80 radiologists and 500 clinical/support teammates. DR was founded nearly 55 years ago, but it has nearly doubled its imaging centers and radiologist workforce in the last five years.

Challenges – Desert Radiology faces more than its share of challenges, some of which are unique to the Las Vegas area (large managed care population, no local radiology med school programs), and some that are common across the country (radiologist hiring/recruitment, competition, declining reimbursements, rising volumes).

Growth Starts from Within – In order to grow without burning out its team, DR restructured its shift schedules to better fit staff members’ needs and diversified its radiologist career paths to match their personal goals (e.g. multiple partner tracks, an associate track, and a telerad track). 

Engagement Pivot – DR previously relied on radio and billboard ads to reach new patients but pivoted towards a community engagement strategy, with a focus on outreach, charity work, and deepening its relationship with local providers and partners.

Population Health Partnerships – Because of Las Vegas’ high concentration of managed care patients, Desert Radiology places considerable focus on reducing unnecessary imaging and achieving early/accurate diagnoses. This patient environment has also driven DR to deepen its local healthcare relationships, leading to new population health-appropriate agreement structures and referrer programs.

Selecting The Right OEMs – When evaluating new scanners, DR first examines image quality by having its radiologists evaluate images while blinded to the scanner brands (avoiding bias). It then evaluates the proposed scanners’ ease of use, workflow fit, and overall value, before making a final decision.

DR’s Case for United Imaging – Grimes also detailed how Desert Radiology has benefitted from working with United Imaging (the webinar’s sponsor), specifically highlighting the value of UIH’s “Software for Life” (scanners automatically updated with future software) and “All-In” (scanners include all possible features/packages) policies.

The Takeaway – We get plenty of insights from the commercial and academic side of radiology each week, but operational insights are still rare, making this webinar particularly useful for the many imaging groups with similar goals and challenges as Desert Radiology.

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-- The Imaging Wire team