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MRI Mobility Solutions for Critical Access Hospitals

When you think about the foundational model that helps organizations like KMG provide top-notch value to partner medical imaging providers, all roads lead back to Rome. Or in this case, the ability to provide a mobile option for hospital systems, veterinary clinics, and many more in the healthcare space. Mobility, while a significant factor to consider when looking at total value add, isn’t the only thing systems should be weighing when it comes to their imaging needs and operational models. The results of partnering with the right imaging partner speak for themselves, but they’re still worth covering in more detail.

When it comes to systems in rural areas and critical access hospital, the business case for a fixed MRI system is difficult to make, if not downright impossible for a single system to take on alone. But, not having access to these advanced imaging devices could be the difference in the lives of your patients, and quite frankly, the longevity of your hospital system as well. Sometimes a mobile system just makes more sense. 

A case in point: when multiple rural systems have a demand for imaging services, but cannot justify the cost of a fixed MRI addition to their facility, co-oping a mobile solution with other local systems can help each system provide those crucial services to their patient pool without bankrupting the system in the process. In some cases, the needs of the system may only justify a half day of scans per week, per location. But if the needs of the surrounding systems are similar, then splitting the difference in cost and geographic accessibility could make the case for a mobile MRI or imaging solution. In an age where patient centricity continues to rank high on priority lists for providers, the ability to offer the same services and access to critical technology and specialists can help these more disparate hubs stay competitive and continue to provide top-notch care to their patient pools. 

In a world that is continuing to hurtle towards the nexus of highest quality and instant gratification, patients’ patience levels are at an all time low – and waiting a month to get in for a scan is no longer an acceptable compromise. Not only are patients choosing speed of service as a major driving factor in deciding where to go for healthcare, but convenience continues to play a larger role in the decision making process as well. With the continued evolution of the professional environment and emphasis on remote-first/heavy work from home, patients have come to expect a level of instant gratification that stems in part, from the drastic change in how we live day-to-day; primarily from the perspective of geographic significance to our homes and loved ones – we want to be able to do more with less travel, and do it faster than ever before. 

More and more patients are exiting major city centers in search of more suburban and rural locations. A growing percentage of the population requires only a stable internet connection. What you choose to see out your windows in the morning while drinking your morning coffee before signing on for work is completely up to you – and in many cases, people and families around the country are looking for lower costs of living and more access to nature, driving them to more rural areas of the country. As such, hospital systems in rural areas will continue to see an uptick in patient demand and service, though not a clip fast enough to make a strong business case for an individually funded/paid fixed imaging machine model. When it comes to imaging, at least for the foreseeable future, stopgap solutions like mobile medical imaging may provide the best ROI and service options for many systems around the country.

Another factor to consider, is that the healthcare system today, right now, is operating at its lowest demand levels it will see for at least the next 20-30 years. Given factors like demographic and population percentage breakdown, all numbers point towards an ever-increasing flux in demand for services (think about the baby boomer generation sliding more and more into the seats previously held by their parents in the greatest generation). Healthcare providers and hospital systems are already feeling the crunch, and the pressure is not going to let up any time soon. In this case, the name of the game must be scaling, both physically in capability and headcount as needed, but also from a digital and telehealth perspective. Finding a dependable solution and partner to work with your system is a crucial piece to a winning strategy for hospital systems looking to remain competitive and appealing to a growing patient population. 

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”. When it comes to deciding on the right investment approach for your system, there are plenty of varying factors that come into play. One of the biggest and most common is budget. While impactful and in many cases necessary, fixed imaging facilities are large commitments to hospital systems of any size. But when combined with a smaller patient population and resource constraints on certified specialists, it’s difficult for smaller rural hospitals to continue to compete. But when 5 or 6 come together in joint effort, opportunities unlock in the form of co-sharing resources like mobile medical imaging devices. 

Conclusion

Like most things in this industry, there’s always going to be a level of nuanced need that your partner can and should address in structuring a healthy partnership. So whether it’s co-sharing MMI resources in half-day increments, or something else, having the right partner to stand with you and allow you to scale your capabilities is crucial. When you do the right thing by your patients’ needs, the resourcing and creativity in providing services to them will fall into place.

As we navigate the dynamic landscape of healthcare, KMG stands as a beacon of innovation, offering a comprehensive solution to the challenges posed by mobile imaging. To discover the full spectrum of benefits and explore how KMG’s Mobile Imaging Concierge can elevate your facility’s imaging capabilities to new heights, we warmly invite you to take the next step. Contact us today for an in-depth consultation, and witness the transformative power of mobile imaging with KMG. Your patients deserve the best; KMG is here to make it happen, ensuring a future where healthcare is accessible, and truly exceptional.

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