Small Business Brief

Medical & Services

Ultra Profitable? How to Open Your Own Diagnostic Imaging Center

You’ve always had an interest in entering the medical field, but you don’t have the years of medical school that it takes to become a heart surgeon or ear, nose, and throat expert behind you. 

You want to start a business that allows you to help people, get to know the human body, and potentially even save lives. 

In short?

You’re curious about what it would take to open a diagnostic imaging center. 

The career is an incredibly rewarding option. However, it also requires a strong business plan, a knowledge of your local market, and even the ability to find the right location for your center. 

Want to learn more about whether or not opening an imaging center is right for you, and how to pull it off? 

If so, then read on.

What Is Diagnostic Imaging?

Before we get into anything else, let’s first talk about what specialists in medical imaging do every day. 

In a nutshell, this means that you and your employees will work with other medical professionals to look inside patients’ bodies. This will help you be able to properly diagnose medical issues, evaluate the health of a specific body part, and even evaluate things like tumors and other problems. 

You may focus on ultrasound images, or you may want your imaging center to place a camera, called a scope, inside the body. This means you’ll be able to examine the interiors of organs like the lungs and the heart. 

You’ll share your images with the rest of a patient’s medical team so that they can get the best possible care. 

Handle the Basics First

When you’re ready to open up a medical imaging center, you need to get a handle on all the basics first. 

Start by thinking about how you’re going to fund your diagnostic radiology center.

Will you take out a business loan? Will you seek funding from outside investors?

How long will these investors need to wait before they’re able to see a profit on their investment? Would you prefer to get funding from medical entrepreneurs, who may have a better foundational knowledge of what your imaging center can do?  

Can you afford to purchase your medical equipment outright, keeping in mind that some x-ray machines can easily cost over $100,000? Or, is it a smarter idea to lease your equipment as you get started?

Will you form a partnership with other investors in order to offset your costs? Or, would you rather take on a larger amount of debt, but be the sole owner of your imaging center?

In some cases, buying a franchise of an established imaging center may be a wiser financial move. 

Once you’ve made some tough choices about the financial side of your business, it’s time to craft a compelling business plan. 

Here, you’ll need to illustrate why you’re qualified — personally and professionally — to open an imaging center. You’ll need to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your competitors, nearby hospitals, and how you plan to market your company. 

You should also include detailed estimates, cost analysis, and short-term and long-term financial goals. 

Location Is Everything

Of course, the location of a business is important in any line of work. 

But when you’re opening your own diagnostic imaging center, it’s even more essential. In order to get the maximum number of patients, look for a spot that’s close to hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Make sure that you secure as many physician referrals as you can before you open your doors. Reach out to medical centers near your location, and let them know about the services you have to offer. 

You’ll also need to get serious about a location focused on accessibility. You’ll need large parking lots, proximity to public transit, and even elevators in your building. Remember that those coming into an imaging center may have limited mobility. 

Finally, never neglect the requirements you must follow to ensure your building is safe.

Consider how you’ll keep x-ray scatter under control, and if the building is structurally sound enough to handle large, heavy imaging equipment. Consider the number of imaging rooms you’ll need based on your client volume. 

Go Niche With Your Diagnostic Imaging Center

There are several different kinds of medical imaging that you might be interested in offering to patients. 

You may want to focus on traditional x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. Perhaps you’re more interested in prenatal testing and imaging and want to conduct things like fetal ultrasounds. 

In some cases, you may want to provide echocardiograms to provide insight into a patient’s heart health. 

Whatever you choose, you need to ensure that you and the people you decide to hire have completed the proper training. 

For example, schools like the Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute offer hands-on training opportunities in a variety of different specialization areas. 

Remember that you can always offer additional services as your business grows.

However, trying to take on too much at the start can just end up muddling your branding and making it tough for patients and hospitals to figure out what you actually offer. 

Ready to Open Your Own Diagnostic Imaging Center?

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand whether or not opening your own diagnostic imaging center is the right move for you. 

Remember that you’ll need an excellent educational/training background, the right funding, and an understanding of what your market needs. 

In some cases, you may need specific business forms that can help you to secure funding. We can help you with that. We provide access to templates for promissory notes and much more. 

Don’t forget to keep checking back with our business blog for more tips and tricks on how to grow your imaging center.