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Outsourcing radiologists and journalists

Hospitals are even outsourcing radiologists, according to the January 4, 2013 news release, "Outsourced radiologists perform better reading for fewer hospitals." And journalists are being outsourced overseas. These types of news usually go viral. You also can check out the site, "The secret to making a story go viral," from the National Association of Science Writers.

Outsourcing radiologists and journalists.
Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Audi

For science and healthcare journalists, outsourcing physicians is an eye-opener, especially for most seniors. Science writers can frame a piece to be positive or negative. But who hears of outsourcing doctors from other lands? Usually doctors study here and then practice in other communities. The outsourcing story in science newswriting goes viral because at the root of the issue is experience and superior training when it comes to finding a physician who listens to patient feedback.

When a story about health or science goes viral, readers want to know whether the outsourced doctors came from another hospital in the USA or were outsourced from overseas. That's an important point because the outsourcing emphasizes a search for experience among radiologists, for example. If the radiologist comes from a USA hospital A or B, that's a different story from someone coming from a distant land with experience and language different from local practices.

The basis of a science news story going viral depends on from where the outsourced doctor originated: a nearby hospital or from a place faraway? That's what patients are interested in finding out: the type of experience when it comes to selecting doctors.

"Readers prefer to share stories that are positive and exciting," Maria Konnikova writes of a Penn marketing study: "When the researchers manipulated the framing of a story to be either negative (a person is injured) or positive (an injured person is 'trying to be better again'), they found that the positive framing made a piece far more popular." Also check out the sites, fighting click-bait with software, and viral titles for famous books."

So why are radiologists being outsourced to hospitals?

Experience working for a particular hospital matters when it comes to the performance of radiologists who work for outsourcing teleradiology companies, according to a team of researchers, whose finding could have important implications, given the growing use of telemedicine. The results of the study appeared online on December 20, 2012, in the journal Organization Science. Check out the abstract of the study, "Learning from Customers: Individual and Organizational Effects in Outsourced Radiological Services."

"More than half of all hospitals now use teleradiology services," said Jonathan Clark, assistant professor of health policy and administration, Penn State, according to the January 4, 2013 news release, Outsourced radiologists perform better reading for fewer hospitals. "Hospitals send their X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other images to outsourcing companies who then forward the images to individual radiologists. Over the course of time, these radiologists gain a tremendous amount of experience by reading images from hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of customers."

But is the experience gained by reading images for so many hospitals the same as the experience gained by repeatedly reading images for just a few hospitals?

"There is debate out there about whether or not we should be outsourcing this kind of work," Clark said in the news release. "Some say that one CT is the same as another, so it doesn't really matter if the CT is coming from Hospital A or Hospital B; what matters is that the person reading the image has the right training and experience. The other side of the debate says that radiological images are not commodities and that the process is more nuanced than simply exchanging bits of information over the information super highway. From this perspective a radiologist's performance will improve as he or she learns the nuances of reading images from a particular hospital."

To determine whether learning and performance improvement are customer specific, the researchers, who also included Robert Huckman of the Harvard Business School and Bradley Staats of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, examined the experience and productivity of 97 radiologists reading more than 2.7 million images from 1,431 hospitals.

"By estimating learning curves, we were able to determine the extent to which a radiologist's productivity reading an image for hospital A was a function of his or her prior experience reading for hospital A, versus his or her prior experience reading the same image for other hospitals," Clark explained in the news release.

The team found that the radiologist's prior experience with an ordering customer has a greater effect on performance than his or her overall experience reading the same type of image for other customers

"Somebody might look at that finding and say either what we should have is outsourcing radiologists who read for only a few customers or we shouldn't have outsourcing at all," Clark said in the news release, "because if you're going to focus a radiologist on one or two customers, then you might as well make the argument that you should have him or her work as an employee for that customer."

The researchers also found that the customer-specific knowledge gained by individual radiologists is aided by the variety of customers with whom a radiologist has experience. "How can it be that both specialization and variety are important?" Clark said, according to the news release. "Our models can only take us so far toward answering this question, but we think the implication is that there are limits to both customer specialization and customer variety, and that the optimum is to have a nice mix of both specialized experience and variety in customers."

In addition, Clark, Huckman and Staats found that the customer specificity of learning diminished as the outsourcing company gained more experience with a particular customer

"The implication is that customer-specific capabilities may also be built at the level of the outsourcing organization as a whole and not just at the level of the individual radiologist," Clark said in the news release. "Overall, this finding suggests that while there is customer specificity to learning for outsourcing radiologists, the implication is not that we shouldn't outsource. Rather, our findings provide guidance to outsourcers in terms of how they might think about designing the work of their radiologists to maximize productivity. For new customers, an outsourcing firm may wish to keep individual providers relatively more focused on serving a specific customer. As organizational experience accrues with a specific customer, however, such dedication becomes less critical."

"Our findings may be particularly important, given the growing use of telemedicine and the uncertainty associated with delivering health care in a virtual way. In the setting we studied, teleradiologists are often reading emergency cases, where speed and productivity can be critical, so it is important for outsourcing radiology firms to understand how they might design their operations to improve performance and ensure a rapid response for each customer."

Outsourcing journalists overseas

Since journalists work with words and don't play doctor, newswriting may be outsourced overseas, but what about really quality copywriting? You may wish to check out the site, "Journatic worker takes 'This American Life' inside outsourced journalism." You need pretty good verbal and writing skills for copywriting. That's what makes it a great independent home-based online career for English majors or communications graduates and others who enjoy working at home on their computers working creatively with words.

It has been said that copywriters are the introverted mirror images of sales and marketing people who prefer to work alone behind the scenes, most often at home to focus and concentrate on creative details that help make more quality sales. Sometimes you're called a point-of-sale writer turning out quality content, not automated material. Can somebody soon come along and produce a software program that robot-like, turns out better copy than you can write? The decision may be based on which creates more sales, your work or something automated or outsourced? You may wish to take a look at the article, "Why Good People Can't Find Jobs The Fiscal Times."

Where the future of outsourced journalism is heading

As citizen journalism slowly declines, what's picking up quickly is the state of outsourced journalism. Freelance/independent writers/journalists might enjoy checking out the July 3, 2012 article, "Journatic worker takes ‘This American Life’ inside outsourced journalism," by by Anna Tarkov. What put the damper on a variety of citizen journalism outlets included making the journalists feel more like second class citizens when the field divided into the haves and have-nots. For example, in many citizen journalism blogs, writers weren't paid or were paid a token honorarium, a fraction of the pay for new articles similar in quality or word length to what those writers had received from print magazines a decade before.

Those who had the money to run the websites also had the funds to hire others to edit the work of the citizen journalists, delete thousands of their articles, or order them to revise and rewrite or decline to publish their hard labor. The citizen journalists perceived the low pay or no pay as disrespect. Many of them were journalism graduates or experts in their fields who had been writing for many years for the print magazine and newspaper industry. Some had lost their jobs due to merging of publications. Others included retired educators and other professionals.

What led to a slow decline of citizen journalism was the shift to editing the articles, declining work after it had been written and edited by the citizen journalists before submitting online, or limiting the articles due to lack of space. Too many articles were declined, and when accepted the pay was poor in comparison to what writers earned when most publications were print rather than digital.

Then from the outside, radio personalities began to make fun of citizen journalists and bloggers at the same time publishers balked about the quality of e-books that were self-published, completely disregarding the high quality work of authors whose books had gone out of print and then reprinted by the authors who obtained or bought the rights to their out-of-print books and self-published or print-on-demand published the works to keep the books in circulation.

Then the tide changed once more. Instead of those with staff jobs or publishing companies disrespecting the work of writers who blog, citizen journalists, and those who write for less pay online, the publishing industry began to outsource writing and editing, indexing and publicity overseas and locally to those with journalism backgrounds and/or education...but at far lower pay, in fact, the pay was closer to what the higher end citizen journalists were making.

And journalists were turned into content producers instead of being known as writers, authors, or columnists. The robotic-like term, "content producers" dehumanizes the work of the writer. And a rising number of outsourced journalism earns less than what journalists and editors were paid when print journalism required staff reporters and independent stringers who aspired to a staff writer's job. Some journalists left the arena to become virtual editors, desktop publishers, or paralegals. Others went back to school. And some found they made more money as virtual assistants or freelance editors, helping others put together their work or turning out corporate "white papers." More money was to be made writing these corporate "white papers" than trying to find high-paid outsourced journalism income for some writers in the field for decades.

You also may be interested in the Forbes article, "5 Ways To Get Cheap Labor Without Outsourcing Overseas." Then you may go to the site, "Why You Shouldn't Outsource Your Writing Overseas." You can follow that article with, "Editors Only - Outsourcing Editorial Work -" Or see, "Outsource Freelancer - Find a Freelancer For Free -‎."

Some writers become freelancers or independent journalists and authors as they may refer to themselves only to find that like much of the animation industry, journalism and public relations writing, editorial work, and other employment related to writing, editing, research, or indexing seems to increasingly get outsourced, sometimes overseas. The pay for overseas writers, of course is lower than what a staff reporting job on a mainstream publication would have paid.

See the article, "The Thin Line Between Outsourcing and Exploitation - All Indie Writers." Also, you may check out the article, "Outsourcing writing services to a professional blogger." Then you may want to take a look at, "4 Reasons why being a freelance copywriter is one of the best and safest jobs in today's new world." Interested in what journalism jobs face in the near future? See the website, Society of Professional Journalists.

Trends in the media based on the most Google searches versus in-depth research of individual niche interests

and safest jobs in today’s new world.

and safest jobs in today’s new world.

If you want to find out more about trends in the media regarding what people are searching for on Google, check out the Google Trends site under 'insights'. Check out the "hot searches." If you're looking for Sacramento business news, you can narrow down your media search to your city's business news. One example might be "Sacramento Business News - Sacramento Business Journal."

See the site, Best of Biz Leads: July 2, 2012, if you're looking for hyperlocal business news. You also may want to check out a seminar that ran in 2012: Seminar: Building A Successful Social Media Strategy.

You also may be interested in the local business media sites, Insurance, Technology, Logistics & Transportation, Environment, Four-county Sacramento region, Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Awards, Philanthropy. Check out hyperlocal news link for those interested in Sacramento business, culture, and media that's happening today: Best of Biz Leads.

Searches people are making that's hot online include interactive media. For example, see the site, National Journal - Tech Daily Dose to find out why an article at the site reports that a flawed Department of Homeland Security policy has opened the "floodgates" to counterfeit microchips from other countries. Or your voice can join in with other media asking for feed back by adding to a dialogue about the 10-most-disruptive technologies affecting journalism today (or in the future) How? The site is at the Media Giraffe link.

What's new regarding media and culture is the emphasis newspapers are putting on finding hyperlocal news of hyperlocal topics such as what businesses each day are doing in a specific city or area. Regarding hyperlocal news searches, also see, Journatic worker takes 'This American Life' inside outsourced journalism and the site, National media is interested in the culture of what the most popular searches are regarding hyperlocal news. In 2012, an expo focused on how will technology innovation support journalism and participatory democracy from the organization, Media Giraffe. The site emphasizes research and reporting about technology innovation that's useful in journalism.

You may be interested in networking with other writers in various professional associations, for example the Society of Professional Journalists, or within your specialty in journalism, such as the Association of Health Care Journalists, if writing about health is your specialization. Various journalists' organizations may have job listings, training or seminars, and various types of meetings to exchange information with other members. There are also associations and honor societies in journalism that offer help to students such as scholarships. You may wish to check out Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Or see sites such as Journalism That Matters | Blog | About Journalism That Matters, and the site, Media Giraffe Project / Journalism That Matters supporters | Media.

You may be interested in the Switcheroo American Life MP3 audio lecture in "forgive us our press passes." Also, from the Poynter Institute (Poynter. | Standing for journalism, strengthening democracy) for the study of media leadership, check out the article, journalism outsourced to third world nations, Journatic staffer takes This American Life inside outsourced journalism." You can get a handle on what people are searching for in hyperlocal media and in national searches in general. Google has one of the best sites for finding out nationally what people are searching for online in its "Hot Searches" trends site.

Google's "Hot Searches" and media culture

The 'hot' refers to the largest number of searches on Google for these people or sports events. Nastia Liukin, for example is a gymnast. See, Liukin falters but resolute in final competition. What people weren't searching for in huge amounts were science in the news, nutrition, and health although it takes health and stamina to compete in athletics and sports.

Today's hot searches focused on Anderson Cooper. So you have media personalities in the news searched for most in addition to sports figures. People are most interested in broad aspects of the news and sports.

Consumer insights searches

Think Insights is a Google search site that shows you what viewers are looking for regarding consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research. The site is like a think tank for people interested in marketing foresight, insight, and hindsight. For example if you're interested in Sacramento media, check out the search site, "Organic Search Results and their Impact on Paid Search Ads," and narrow your search to what's happening in Sacramento.

To find out how many hours Boomers watch TV or movies, click on the Research Library site at the top of that website or click on the Boomer icon if you want to study consumers age 45-65. The Research Library site and the Boomers icon notes that Boomers spend an average of 189 minutes per month across screens, which include TV + Movie + Online Video + Mobile.

Compare this boomer consumption to that of Gen X at 159 minutes and Gen Y at 119. Not only do boomers spend a great deal of time in front of media, but they have the appetite to consume it as content. The bigger question is, are marketers tapping into this opportunity? Check out the Google Think search site for their Insights Library.

Most of the Google Hot searches are national rather than local or hyperlocal in what type of news people are searching for online. For those looking for jobs, you'd be more precise to check local business headlines at the Sacramento Business journal such as the headline link: Call center to bring 2,000 jobs.

For those interested in health-related media, see the link: Business interests look to repeal Affordable Care Act. What you're looking for is national and local headlines. A Google "Hot Searches" usually is national, trolling what searches people are looking for as an entire nation day by day.

If you're interest in social media as a way to promote your work or earn more, check out the link: Creating a social-media buzz. And if you have a company or work at home with a laptop, see the popular search link, How to safeguard your company from smartphone and laptop liabilities.

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