Michael Holmes opens clear communication channels for radiology patients.
Across the country and across the industry, Michael Holmes has enjoyed a long career in healthcare, culminating with being recruited in 2009 to run Diagnostic Imaging Services in the New Orleans area.
In his first position out of college, he sold pharmaceuticals for Marion Laboratories in Kansas City. He later did dermatology/plastic surgery sales and management before breaking in to radiology in 1996.
“I was fascinated by radiology technology from the start,” Holmes says. “It appears there is an almost never-ending push to improve the technology, so we have to keep investing capital to upgrade and follow the changes in the field of radiology.”
The good news is, as an outpatient, radiologist-owned group of seven local imaging centers, DIS has the size, positioning and capital a lot of smaller companies don’t and the nimble maneuvering bigger health care systems can’t, Holmes says. As more physicians join health systems and the competition for referrals has increased, DIS has been able to counteract the challenges through an ambitious expansion plan and premium state-of-the-art technology.
“Patients always have the right to choose what direction they want to take their healthcare,” he says. “If we continue to open additional service locations, upgrade and expand our technology, and maintain our high level of quality services at the appropriate price, patients will continue to consider us as a very desirable option.”
One key to boosting visibility, Holmes says, is that as Americans pay more out-of-pocket than ever for healthcare, DIS has made the unusual step of holding down patient expenses, while pushing for more price transparency in the industry.
“All of us shop around for shoes, groceries, clothes, cars and more,” Holmes says. “It is no different to shop for your healthcare. Ask what the price will be for your x-ray or MRI. If you do not get a straight answer, then shop somewhere else.”
He also recommends patients, physicians and healthcare employees reach out to their representatives in Congress and let them know what they need. Holmes has himself met with state and local officials, as well as the American College of Radiology, and says that despite the prevailing bleak outlook on the country’s healthcare system, he feels optimistic.
“I’m proud of what our staff and radiologists do to provide the highest image quality and customer service,” he says. “Healthcare gets messy when people lose their focus and concentrate on the paperwork and not the patients. We have a simple mission to keep our focus: warm welcome; pleasant experience; and a sincere thank you. DIS became doctor-trusted and patient-preferred because we care. Over the years, our patient survey ratings have been consistently above 97 on a scale of 100.”
Holmes’ continued involvement with DIS is assured and partly personal: His wife has battled through five bouts of cancer, starting at the age of 17.
Her doctors believe she is the oldest living survivor of adenoid cystic carcinoma, and, because of the intense radiation for that case, she has since had thyroid, breast, skin and most recently, a squamous cell cancer removed from her ear that took her hearing on that side.
“I am dedicated to the imaging business because of how imaging has helped my wife,” Holmes says. “We’ve been able to catch these different cancers through early detection on cutting-edge technology, like 3D mammography, ultra-low-dose CT and MRI. If you can find cancer early, you can start treating cancer early.” disnola.com
His top inspiration: His wife. “Collette is the major reason I do so much charity work for various cancer organizations, like American Cancer Society, You Night Cancer Survivors and Community Oncology Association for Patient Advocacy Network,” he says. “She truly amazes me with all she has been through; how she continues her career, being a wonderful mom and wife. If she can overcome multiple cancers with all of her treatments, I know I can overcome the daily ups and downs life can throw at a person.”
His favorite compliment: It came from an executive of a local health system. “During a casual conversation, he complimented me on having changed the competitive landscape in the market when it came to radiology,” Holmes says. “He felt before I arrived, there was no competition. Now, they try and mimic many of the patient care concepts we have in place and how we relate to our referring healthcare providers.”
His idea of patient-centered care: “All of us who take care of all of you need to understand not just what ails you physically, but also understand what matters to you emotionally,” he says. “This comes through by making sure the patients understand what is being told to them about their issues and giving providers time to answer any and all questions. If this open line of communication occurs, both parties will respect one another and make the appropriate decisions together.”