The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) is a professional medical society consisting of approximately 8,000 physicians, primarily based in the United States. These medical professionals use minimally invasive image-guided technologies to perform procedures that were traditionally done through open surgery. Their innovative approach reduces complications, improves recovery times, and offers cost-effective options for patients.
Interventional radiology has been its own primary specialty in medicine for a little over a decade so, as Kyle Gerron, senior manager of government affairs at SIR, puts it, they’re “one of the new kids on the block,” constantly advancing and innovating. This means part of SIR’s role is educating lawmakers about the field and protecting its members from policies that could harm their field and practice.
To advance the efforts of an innovation-driven field, SIR needed an innovative solution. This is why Gerron trusts FiscalNote and VoterVoice as his platforms of choice, which enable him to engage lawmakers and members effectively with AI-powered, data-driven tools.
Tracking Legislation and Building Relationships
SIR works closely with regulatory bodies like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). Gerron primarily focuses on federal legislative policy, representing about two-thirds of his advocacy efforts, with the last third focused on the states.
The biggest policy issues SIR advocates for are physician reimbursement, streamlining administrative burdens, and expanding residency programs in interventional radiology. To stay on top of the complex landscape of healthcare policy and regulation across all levels of government, Gerron leverages FiscalNote’s discovery alerts to not miss a beat on any legislative update that could impact SIR’s members. He uses this timely information to engage with legislators on these issues.
“So much of it’s about spreading that awareness and educating policymakers as to what interventional radiology can do for patients. I love to talk about it and articulate that value,” Gerron says. “What’s generally attractive to policymakers is where we’re cutting costs in the overall healthcare system, which is very much needed.”
”VoterVoice, above all else, has been the tool to get our grassroots folks engaged on these issues, putting out the calls to action. We're really, really happy with the level of engagement that we're able to see from our doctors and, I'll be honest, it doesn’t require all that much on our side when it comes to setting up a campaign.Kyle GerronSenior Manager of Government Affairs, Society of Interventional Radiology
Mobilizing Advocates with Ease in the Face of Policy Challenges
Physician reimbursement under the Medicare system is a recurring challenge for SIR and many other medical specialties. Proposed cuts to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule can significantly impact physician practices and patient access. Gerron remembers one of SIR’s most successful campaigns and how VoterVoice was at the center of it.
It was December 2021 and a final rule around physician reimbursement coming out of CMS was posted. SIR had been working with Congress on getting legislation introduced to reduce some of those cuts and make it even, which was proving to be a challenge.
“At the very end of the year, we were able to put out a call to action [through VoterVoice]. That may have been the best engagement that we have had on any broadcast or campaign because it was coming down to the wire and we were able to mention how serious this is,” says Gerron. The message encouraged SIR members to take action and easily contact their member of Congress with a click or two by leveraging VoterVoice’s address-matching capability and connecting people with the right lawmaker in seconds. “And so they did, and at the 11th hour as Congress likes to do, the bill was passed, which really crossed out those cuts and gave us one more year to continue to work on what overarching reform might look like.”
”VoterVoice makes it really easy for our doctors to receive that email and take action with only one or two clicks, which is very nice for those folks who are incredibly busy and spread very thin.Kyle GerronSenior Manager of Government Affairs, Society of Interventional Radiology
The campaign was a huge success for SIR. More than a thousand supporters took action via SIR’s VoterVoice-powered action center, with 54 percent of advocates new to the society’s list. Having easy access to metrics and visual reports in the platform allowed the team to quickly learn from this success, understand what worked, and replicate these best practices in coming campaigns. Plus, they leveraged these metrics in the society’s annual report to prove the value of advocacy to the organization and its members.
“VoterVoice above all else has been the tool to get our grassroots folks engaged on these issues, putting out the calls to action. We’re really, really happy with the level of engagement that we’re able to see from our doctors and, I’ll be honest, it doesn’t require all that much on our side when it comes to [setting up a campaign],” says Gerron. “It makes it really easy for our doctors to receive that email and take action with only one or two clicks, which is very nice for those folks who are incredibly busy and spread very thin.”With VoterVoice, Gerron is able to also keep members informed even when there’s no action to take. He leverages the platform to quickly send out a monthly newsletter to the most engaged members as well as SIR’s PAC supporters. VoterVoice makes it easy to segment audiences and send targeted messages to maximize engagement.“That we can segment really does help us out on the staff side. We can also create fun competitions in that way like, ‘oh, Texas is doing really well this month; your people might have to step it up’ — our physicians love that kind of stuff,” Gerron says.
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Build a Better, More Engaging Message
As the first digital advocacy solution to leverage ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (AI), VoterVoice helps users improve their advocacy campaign emails — something SIR was quick to adopt not only for advocacy campaigns but also for PAC solicitations. The tool helps Gerron work more efficiently, from flagging spelling and grammatical errors to providing suggestions on the subject line and message length; phrases that trigger spam filters; and the number, type, and placement of links.
“I love [the SmartCheck feature in VoterVoice] — particularly on the subject line, like it might not always be best to say ‘response required’ or ‘invite’ in all caps because it might go trigger a spam filter,” Gerron says. “So that’s really nice to use because it not only warns you but it also provides suggestions as to what might be better, which has been really nice.”
Building a Successful Advocacy Strategy with VoterVoice
VoterVoice has played a pivotal role in SIR’s advocacy efforts. The platform has empowered the team to engage its members effectively, streamline campaign communication, and provide a user-friendly experience for busy physicians.
From mobilizing members through targeted emails to building a data-driven strategy with robust reporting capabilities, VoterVoice allows SIR to better engage and inform members, evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns, identify successful strategies, and report advocacy outcomes to the board and senior leadership.
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