Radiology Imaging News, Insights & More
When it comes to radiology imaging, healthcare executives may have difficulty deciding where to start lowering the total costs of information technology while enhancing performance. In these articles written by McKesson thought leaders and guest authors, hospital leaders and radiologists can discover industry insights and opportunities to help make challenging decisions and meet your healthcare organization’s needs.
Explore topics ranging from ICD-10 and value-based imaging to big data and EMR data mining. Read the articles below to learn how to improve your radiology imaging department.
New advances in the science of clinical imaging seem to come hand-in-hand with new challenges for the radiology department to prove its value. In the best-case scenario, evolving methods for treatment will enable radiologists to contribute even more meaningfully to overall patient care, as well as demonstrate how our existing efforts help keep patients healthy.
This month’s roundup takes a look at both parts of this new equation. The first three articles explore promising new imaging methodologies. Then the final two address the challenges of proving radiology’s worth in a value-based paradigm, including tools to help radiologists deal with the MACRA rollout.
The PACS of today has evolved significantly from where it started. Today’s PACS has the potential to bridge the radiology department to the rest of the healthcare enterprise, and to help optimize the efficiency of its users. With PACS a radiologist can have improved turnaround time on reports, collaborate with clinicians, and positively impact patient care. This is the goal of all healthcare organizations: to drive better patient outcomes. To this end, today’s PACS is more than just a departmental image archiving system; it’s a leading-edge enterprise imaging solution.
The American Cancer Society’s guidelines call for annual mammograms for women starting at age 45. While these screenings can increase the odds of successful treatment, early and accurate diagnosis is often made more difficult by the challenges stemming from accurately classifying breast density.
With the increasing conversation around the topic, imaging clinicians and researchers alike are tasked to determine which imaging methods are most effective for dense breasts, and how best to treat patients with higher breast density. To add a layer of complexity, many states have passed laws mandating density notification.
Morgan Freeman once said, “As you grow in this business, you learn how to do more with less.” While radiologists are not actors, the same can be said for the growth of radiology in the era of value-based care. With the number of imaging studies on the rise, and the added pressure of increased participation in patient care, radiologists are finding that they have more work to do, without the benefit of additional resources.
The term “value” means different things to different people in medical imaging.
Technologists define value through the quality of the medical images acquired in diagnostic procedures. Radiologists view it as a contribution to patient care through the interpretation of images. For referring clinicians, value is in the diagnostic quality and efficiency of the radiology imaging services they receive. Patients see it in the timeliness of the imaging procedures as part of their treatments. CMIOs and executives, responsible for the efficiency, quality and overall business health of a diagnostic service, define it through clinical outcomes and productivity, reduced turnaround times and cost. IT staff is balancing these needs with accessibility, high availability and compliance with privacy and data security policies. With so many different interpretations, how does a health care enterprise define “the value of imaging?” And what will the future hold for “value” in 2017?
If a radiologist fell into a time machine and ended up thirty years in the past, it’s likely he or she could still work in the field. The technology would be outdated, but recognizable.
Now imagine a radiologist of today just ten years in the future. The pace of change has become so rapid that the profession might be unrecognizable. There is real potential for massive shifts in every aspect of the job, such as what diagnostic tools are used, how results are read, even how the department is organized and how it communicates with the rest of the system.
For radiology departments to go beyond imaging and stay relevant in the healthcare industry, they need to clearly demonstrate their contribution to the organization’s overall success. Imaging continues to play a critical role across the patient care continuum, and as hospitals redefine their own benchmarks, imaging departments must also find new ways to prove their value. Outcomes and value are the benchmarks in today’s environment and to achieve results in these areas, radiologists need solutions that help them manage their processes more intelligently and more efficiently.
Radiologists operate in a fast-paced work environment, juggling a combination of tasks that includes interpreting studies, and calls from referring physicians. And as imaging volume rises while reimbursements decline, individual specialists are under more pressure than ever.
Reading 3D MR often means that radiologists must exit their PACS workstations and use a separate program to view the 3D images; they waste precious minutes waiting for those programs to load or navigating menus. But when 3D functionality is integrated into a radiologists’ everyday workflow, it can expedite the care process and limit many of those interruptions.
UMass Memorial Health Care wanted to drive quality improvements within radiology services for its system of hospitals and clinics. By implementing Conserus Workflow Intelligence™, they were able to address quality and communication gaps that occurred from clinical, technical and financial standpoints.
An automated peer review workflow is helping drive quality improvements and peer learning. An effective and potentially lifesaving system is in place to communicate critical results with referring physicians. Interaction between the ED and radiology is streamlined through the use of central mailboxes that help ensure there are no unnecessary delays. And the workflow for billing and coding is improving revenue, while ensuring the system can effectively address audits.
There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the transition to value-based care. But there’s no denying that the transition period is raising stress levels across the health system, and in the radiology department in particular.
These changing times require a different set of leadership skills–some would say a new type of leadership–to transition the traditional imaging department. These skills are necessary for creating a more integrated, more collaborative health system.
Here are seven characteristics of the new breed of healthcare IT leader.