Society of Interventional Radiology

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Strengthening our story

By Susan E. Sedory Holzer, MA, CAE
SIR Executive Director

Next year, SIR will introduce a new and enhanced brand identity to our members and the world. As we prepare for that, I wanted to share with you all of the thinking and work that has brought us to this very exciting point in time.

Increasing awareness of interventional radiology is one of the five goals in SIR’s strategic plan for being the first choice for image-guided therapy. We believe this won’t happen unless SIR and SIR Foundation are more distinctly seen as essential, expert resources for IRnot just in the eyes of our members—but among the health care decision-makers, influencers and consumers who are shaping the new health care landscape in which we work and live.

In winter 2013, the society embarked on a brand assessment with a global public relations firm with offices in Washington D.C., to evaluate perceptions of IR and critically assess the SIR and SIR Foundation brands. Leveraging the 2013 Annual Scientific Meeting, we conducted in-depth interviews with numerous members—volunteers, established practitioners, trainees, medical students, corporate partners—about SIR, SIR Foundation and the way we communicate about our specialty. Follow-up interviews were conducted with more members and with policy-makers, hospital administrators, referring physicians and patients to further hone our understanding of what makes IR, SIR and SIR Foundation unique.

The assessment yielded valuable insights for improving our messaging amid the changing environment.
  •  As a society and a specialty, we must be more audience-centric in our communications. Each of the many different audiences important to our specialty should understand our value in terms that matter to them, not just in terms of the treatments we provide.
  • There must be a clarion call to focus on collaboration, not competition. Even when the stakes and turf wars are at their highest, SIR can gain from collaborating with other organizations to shape the expansion of IR into new clinical areas and patient teams and solidify ourselves as the embedded expert to these organizations.
  • We must show how the very essence of IR is agile and modern. Siloed specialties are old-fashioned and expensive; hospitals, insurers and patients want physicians who are flexible and agile. SIR is uniquely positioned to show how IR delivers on the very things modern medicine asks for: better outcomes, less burden on the patient and innovative use of technology with clear patient benefit.
  • We need to portray SIR and SIR Foundation as distinct but complementary organizations working in service of IR.  Our members are excited about the impact of research on the specialty, but few are clear about the difference in missions between the two organizations or what their dues fund. Highlighting the role of SIR Foundation-funded research reinforces the sustained vision of SIR Foundation and its investment potential for members, patients and other key audiences.
Interventional radiology has provided innovative care for patients for more than 40 years, and in that time, SIR has changed our name once and our logo twice. We have never stopped defining the future of medicine and adapting to the ever-evolving health care landscape. Now—perhaps more than ever—we are guided by the inspiration and promise of IR’s limitless potential. The time has come to tell our story confidently and compellingly in everything we do.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and comments on strengthening our story.

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