Medical Imaging Workflow
Medical Imaging Workflow
As the healthcare landscape continues to prioritize interoperability, data sharing and value-based care, the efficiency and flexibility of your medical imaging workflow is key. With this shift in healthcare, organizations must solve the challenges of simultaneously increasing efficiencies, reducing costs and maintaining patient care.
From a variety of McKesson industry experts and guest authors, get insight on key concerns for healthcare leaders, ranging from how to help your radiologists redefine their roles to improving your diagnostic imaging department. Read the articles below to begin improving your medical imaging workflow today.
Approaching Interoperability: Taking the Next Step in Realizing the Full Promise of Digital Diagnostic Imaging3:40 pm
Back in the day, when part of my job in radiology was hand developing x-ray film, no one could have imagined the impact of digitization on medical imaging — including all of the new kinds of diagnostic imaging and the tremendous savings in time, money, and space.
Now that more than a quarter century has passed since the first PACS systems were introduced, we are approaching another transformation: fully realizing the promise of digitization, with the ability to easily access and share a patient’s medical images across disciplines, accountable care organizations, and healthcare systems.
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” With apologies to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his epic poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” many radiologists today struggle with a similar problem. While trying to find nuggets of useful information within EMRs, many may be saying to themselves, “Data, data, everywhere, nor anywhere to look.”
Consider for a moment the positive strides in information technology and imaging that have occurred over the past several years. Clinicians in all departments have magnitudes more data at their fingertips to help them make better decisions. But having all of the information in the world and not being able to find the one specific piece you need to make a concrete diagnosis is like being stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean and needing a glass of water to drink.
Adopting a mindset of continuous improvement in quality and interpretation workflows is necessary shift for radiology to achieve a successful shift to value based care. But this change and the transformation of best practices from theory to reality is not always easy to accomplish. A good quality system is about consistency, visibility and education and about ongoing improvement.
Between increased emphasis on quality and the need for operational efficiency, the daily radiology workflow can be a challenge. That challenge is amplified when radiologists don’t have the right tools for the job. Simply put, there are too many clicks and too much paperwork. It should be easier. The good news is today, there are tools to help radiologists manage and automate their workflow. These tools automate workflows, allowing imaging professionals to maximize quality while maintaining efficiency.
When it comes to clinical image exchange, different health care providers have different needs. There is no one size fits all solution since IT and image management environments vary so widely from provider to provider. But despite the differences in environments, a recent Peer60 Report states that providers agree on their top priority for image sharing:
Within a hospital network, images need to be moved directly, automatically and cost effectively to the point of care.
Sharing images out of network came in at number two, and sharing image data files with patients was a distant third.
Clearly defining the differences between peer review and peer feedback can be difficult, because these two concepts often overlap, and Radiology departments have unique workflows and standards that govern quality and collaboration.
A question to the UK Imaging Informatics Group about the differences between the two sparked a lively internal discussion. This particular discussion thread defined Peer Feedback as “the process to provide feedback for radiologists when an addendum is added to a previously dictated report,” and Peer Review as “a review of a reported exam, whether or not an addendum was added.”
Royal College of Radiology Expects Departments to Step Up to New Communication and Fail-safe Alert Notification Standards9:28 am
Noting that only 34% of UK radiology departments use an automated alert system and just 17% have the ability to perform enterprise-wide tracking on radiology reports for referring physicians, the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) recently released a report outlining new standards to be implemented across the region.
There are 10 reporting standards recommended in the report:
1. All radiological reports should be produced, read, and acted upon in a timely fashion, best to serve the patients’ needs.
2. It is the responsibility of the radiologist to produce reports as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to flag reports when they feel a fail-safe alert is required
The U.S. health care system’s shift from volume to value has driven an influx of information technology solutions, but as in any industry, it takes more than new technology to be successful. Transformative change in health care requires the right combination of people, process and technology. Without a broader perspective, you may embark on a fragmented approach that takes into account only one of these factors at a time. Adding technology addresses individual problems but may ultimately create unnecessary complexity. Adding processes can standardize workflow, but may make change difficult if the processes are unwieldy. Adding people can alleviate work, but the right people may prove difficult to find, and come at additional cost.
Recently I was at UKRC, the largest radiology tradeshow in the UK, and I had the opportunity to join two McKesson customers at a symposium about transformation driven by quality in imaging. These customers told us how their organizations used strong governance groups, data-driven decision making processes and continuous improvement to improve quality in their imaging workflows across their entire enterprises.
I believe that with the adoption of Accountable Care and Value-Based-Care in the United States, there are more and more similarities between the challenges the public system in the UK and Ireland face and the challenges the health providers in the US face. While there are differences in geography, the desire for improved quality and consistent improvement through peer review are truly universal.
The transition to value-based care is pushing radiology beyond its traditional borders, and success in this new model is measured in better patient outcomes. In order to achieve those outcomes, radiologists and their colleagues in the hospital and referring community need broad access to both data and images. A more integrated, collaborative radiology workflow can connect both systems and people, which helps provide much-needed context for better patient care.
Here are four characteristics of an integrated, value-based radiology workflow.