SPIRAL CT LUNG SCREENING AT DESERT RADIOLOGISTS By Linda Robert Marilyn Raquel Mike MKT 438 Instructor: Kelly Wood July 19, 2000 HISTORY OF DETECTING LUNG CANCER Lung cancer affects more than 170,000 men and women each year. Currently, there isnt a practical or definitive screening method for detecting this disease. Historically, chest x-rays were used to detect cancer when patients presented symptoms. Though chest x-rays can pick up cancerous lesions, it has not been recommended as a routine annual screening tool because it often detects the disease too late when cure is difficult. By the time lung cancer is large enough to be visible on chest x-rays, it is often advanced and may have already metastasized to other parts of the body.
For this reason, it was very important to find new methods of early detection and diagnosis. The answer was the Spiral CT (Computed Tomography, “Cat Scan”) Lung Screening now being offered at Desert Radiologists. DESERT RADIOLOGISTS Desert Radiologists is Nevadas oldest and most sophisticated outpatient radiology center. All diagnostic modalities are performed under one roof. In each of our facilities, patients are able to have imaging studies that are traditionally performed in hospitals only.
Desert Radiologists is committed to state-of-the-art comprehensive diagnostic care for the people of Nevada. We supply our patients with prompt quality health care while keeping in mind their rights to compassion, dignity, and personal regard. Many believe that the success of Desert Radiologists is due in part to the very strategic and innovative marketing/public relations techniques utilized to convey the message of our incredible abilities in providing cost-efficient, high-quality radiology. We are on the cutting edge of new technology that enables Desert Radiologists to provide the best radiology care to our patients. DESERT RADIOLOGISTS POSITION IN THE MARKET Established in 1966 by Drs. Robert Taylor, Harris Knudson and James Lum, Desert Radiologists diagnostic radiology practice has grown with the Las Vegas community to become the areas chief resource for the highest quality, comprehensive medical care in the field of radiology.
The firms staff of over 25 Radiologists and 185 technical and support personnel promotes a reassuring environment that helps allay patients concerns and results in the best possible experience for those entering an unfamiliar world of CT scans, MR imaging, interventional radiology, and nuclear medicine. Desert Radiologists is a private corporation owned by physicians. Its success in providing radiology services to Southern Nevada for more than 30 years has given the organization a positive image within the community. Desert Radiologists is always searching for new procedures and ways to enhance the practice. NEW SERVICE PROVIDED Desert Radiologists gathered research data from a firm that provided the Spiral CT lung screening to their patients and extensive data from the Internet to study the effectiveness of this new procedure. With positive results, the physicians made a commitment to offer this new screening procedure that can detect lung cancer at an early stage to the Las Vegas community.
This newly developed screening test will improve the odds of defeating lung cancer. The Spiral CT lung screening is based on United States and Japanese studies that indicate CT screening is able to diagnose tumors early enough to greatly improve survival rates. An estimated 157,000 people will die this year of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death of both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Virtually all the “cures” in treating lung cancer occur in those patients where the cancer is detected early before there is any distant spread or metastasis beyond the “local” tumor or “local” lymph nodes. Lung cancer tumors found by a chest x-ray are typically large when patients present with symptoms. In contrast, when detected on a Spiral CT, the tumor may be no bigger than a grain of rice.
A study from Early Lung Cancer Action Program (ELCAP) included 1,000 volunteers with an average age of 67 years. The volunteers historically smoked an average of one pack of cigarettes a day for ten years. These volunteers never showed signs of cancer or exhibited symptoms of cancer. The participants were given both traditional chest x-rays and CT scans. The chest x-rays detected tumors in 68 of the 1,000 participants while CT scans detected tumors in 233 participants–more than three times as many as x-rays had diagnosed.
Lung cancer is deadly. Until recently, there has not been a successful process to detect the tumors early enough before a patient has symptoms. However, the new process can increase the five-year survival rate from 14 percent to 80 percent if all smokers and ex-smokers receive an annual CT exam and early treatment. TARGET MARKETS In order to make the Spiral CT Lung screening a success it is necessary to educate the importance of the screening to the primary care physicians, patients, and insurance companies. Specific patients to be targeted are the smokers, ex-smokers, and persons surrounded by secondary smoke, i.e., casino waitresses, waiters, bartenders, etc.even children.
Currently, this screening is not covered by insurance. Therefore, the managed care organizations must be educated to the effectiveness of the screening. It has the potential to save lives and expenses in the long run. If the cancer is caught at an early stage, the patient will require minor surgery and/or treatment. If the cancer is not detected early and has already spread throughout the body, it could require advanced, more expensive treatment or surgery.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The companys primary goal is to raise awareness of the Spiral CT screening. The importance of having this screening done is to increase a patients survival rate. We plan to perform at least 200 screenings per month at each of our locations. The screening is not covered by insurance; therefore, we are charging $250 per screening. The fee is competitive throughout the United States.
We feel the Spiral CT screening will increase a persons survival rate and decrease surgery/treatment expenses. Our objective is to convince insurance companies to begin covering this screening in their plans. We feel that awareness and education will be effective in implementing the necessary changes. PUBLIC ISSUES The following points will focus on results sought by the company through our public relations campaign. Also, the primary publics and secondary publics, both internal and external will be identified. The corresponding issues of importance and how they relate to the campaign will also address some of the reasons we have adopted our campaign focus.
Desert Radiologists desires to be at the forefront of medical imaging and technological advances as they are discovered in the industry. Their goal is to communicate to the public and the competitors that they are progressive and up-to-date in their technique and approach. The patient, physician, and referring health agency can feel confident that only trained expertise in all aspects are projected as a common thread within Desert Radiologists. External or secondary publics such as subcontractors or equipment manufacturers will also experience a reciprocal exchange of professionalism as an edge is gained in the market by utilizing business savvy and sound public relations practices. Primary and other external publics will comprise much of our public relations advertising. Pharmacies, doctors, health and smoking clinics, medical centers, hospitals and any other referring health agencies as well as the media make up secondary external publics. Desert Radiologists provide a service, the publics who are focused on are mostly external because it is a way to get revenue to the company for the benefit of the internal primary publics who make up the composition of the business itself, such as owners, doctors, administrators and board members. In the future, insurance companies are another primary internal public who has the potential to benefit from the screening by providing the service as a preventative maintenance measure. This could prove to be an attractive avenue for obtaining revenue.
The primary targeted publics are smokers, non-smokers, and ex- smokers. Because they are a target group outside of the company and therefore external, the shift of the public relations effort must lean toward promoting extensive efforts at a large audience rather that concentrating efforts on a limited number of candidates who fit a composite profile and would be identified as primary internal publics. Of course because all employees and staff can be members of the target group and therefore not excluded, they dont make up the majority of the customer base desired. The potential for forming lasting and productive relationships with both internal and external publics make issues important due to the fact that these particular services are limited in utilization and application to a small group of professionals which make the competition more fierce in nature. In the health profession, this type of competition takes away from the sensitive nature of this service that could hinder our campaign if it were communicated to the public that we want everyones business at any cost. The following aspects of our campaign will focus on our plan to mitigate this and will describe the strategies and tactics we are contemplating as we proceed.
RESULTS SOUGHT Results sought through the campaign are to ultimately improve the odds of defeating lung cancer and generate consistent revenue by using the newest technology to do it. Research and studies show that preventative health care can be painless and low cost compared to the alternative. The low dose radiation scans are expected to save more than 100,000 lives annually in the United States alone. “People die who dont need to. CT scanning has the ability to change this tragedy” states Dr. Gerald L.
Warnock, medical director at Epic Imaging in Portland where this process is used. The hope is that this test will do for lung cancer what the mammogram did for breast cancer and the Pap test did for cervical cancer. Because lung cancer is difficult to detect in the early stages and spreads quickly, early detection can save lives by removing a small segment of the lung and curing a patient. Overcoming test data will be a difficult objective. At this time, the expense of the tests have not shown numbers that make it worth the insurance companies …