The current state of the healthcare industry can best be summed up by the late, great David Bowie in one word: “Ch-ch-ch-changes.”
The ICD-10 changeover went smoothly — until it didn’t, and health care systems are challenged to stay efficient while accurately implementing the new codes. Outcome-based revenue models require a new level of comprehensive health management. VNA solutions offer the promise of greater efficiency, streamlined workflows and better outcomes, but with a learning curve.
All of these changes — even with the challenges they present — offer great promise for a better-functioning health care system in the future.
For cardiology specialists, these changes present new opportunities to improve cardiology workflow. The following four articles take a look at the state of health care IT, and give predictions for the future of cardiology imaging.
One major area of impact for cardiology workflows is increasing interoperability between systems for a holistic Electronic Health Record (EHR). A fully comprehensive EHR can help eliminate unnecessary tests, and enable smarter and faster health care decisions.
There are several major initiatives underway to improve interoperability, both in the public and private sector. In this article, Sara Heath examines the progress of five such initiatives. She finds significant progress in the private sector initiatives, and reports on the current status of interoperability legislation in both houses of Congress.
2. Q&A: New ER Cardiac Imaging Guidelines
The American College of Radiology and the American College of Cardiology recently collaborated to release a new set of guidelines this year. The guidelines identify 20 discrete scenarios and rate the potential imaging responses for each.
In this article, Diagnostic Imaging interviews a co-author of the report, University of Ottawa Professor and Chair of Radiology Frank Rybicki, MD, PhD. Rybicki explains the rationale for writing the guidelines, how they chose which scenarios to include, and how the process was peer-reviewed.
Recent studies have shown that MRI is safe to use for patients with implantable cardiac devices, provided the imaging takes place at a cardiac MRI facility that can adjust the environment to minimize induction of radiofrequency energy, heating, and triggering of arrhythmia. But as health care systems focus on eliminating ineffective imaging, the question remained whether MRI was a useful diagnostic tool for these patients.
In this article, Robert Beiderman, M.D. presents the results of a multiple-year study of the effectiveness of MRI for patients with pacemakers or implanted defibrillators. According to Beiderman, the study shows MRI “has added substantial clinical value to patient diagnosis and subsequent patient management, justifying the risk of the procedure.”
Reducing redundant or ineffectual cardiac imaging is a major issue for modern health care organizations. Concerns about cumulative radiation exposure are leading to new guidelines for when imaging is indicated, capitalizing on the more robust data available in the EHR.
In this article, Tim Casey presents the results of a multi-study review in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. The meta-study found that quality improvement initiatives, such as physician audits and improved patient feedback capabilities, can reduce instances of inappropriate cardiac imaging. The researchers caution against overly generalizing the results, citing the need for further study. However, they did find that quality improvement interventions, closely tied to physician audit and feedback mechanisms, can lead to better patient outcomes.
As health care technology continues to develop, health systems will be challenged to focus on the changes that will have the most positive impact on their operations. As these articles demonstrate, more comprehensive, integrated patient health records may be a major factor in improving outcomes.