Getting patients in for routine diagnostic tests is never easy, particularly when they're being screened for cancer and other serious illnesses. And when you couple the fear factor with financial concerns -- with more people paying out-of-pocket for tests due to reduced health benefits or lack of insurance -- it makes getting patients in the door even tougher.
That's why many hospitals are using new ways to get women in for one of the most important screenings of all: mammograms. Regina Medical Center in Hastings, Minnesota began hosting "Mingle & Mammograms" events last fall, informal gatherings where women get together to socialize and, while they're at it, get a mammogram.
The events are held in a spa setting to help women overcome their fear of what can be a stressful procedure. Women who attend "Mingle & Mammograms" can receive facials, back rubs and dine on chocolate, wine, or sparkling cider while they mingle with other attendees. Women are given the option of having their mammogram done before or after the festivities.
"Mammograms can be scary and unpleasant and the spa setting helps to outweigh some of that unpleasantness," said Judy Misencik, Regina's manager of marketing and development who hosts the events at that hospital.