This post will be of particular interest if you are an imaging professional at a US hospital or imaging center that performs CT scans on Medicare or Medicaid patients – even more so if you manage the equipment budget.
Having addressed all the new state regulations and Joint Commission recommendations on CT radiation exposure tracking and minimization, you may think that you are on top of things. But there is another impending item by the name of NEMA-XR-29-2013 that you may need to factor into your plans.
Depending on an institution’s exact situation, NEMA-XR-29-2013 could either be a pebble or a boulder, financially speaking.
Interview with Dr. Robyn Cairns, pediatric radiologist at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital and vice chair of medical informatics for the Department of Radiology at University of British Columbia
With the rapid expansion of radiology comes a corresponding need for advances in radiology peer review. Dr. Robyn Cairns, pediatric radiologist at BC Children’s Hospital in British Columbia and vice chair of medical informatics for the Department of Radiology, University of British Columbia, puts it this way, “The busy pace of a radiology practice demands an efficient solution to integrate peer review into radiologist workflow.”
After a radiology technician in Georgia falsified more than 1,000 radiology results, it was found that 10 of the test results had actually been positive and two of the patients died. The technologist was fined and sentenced to six months in a detention center, while the healthcare facility where she worked faced multiple lawsuits.
No director of radiology wants to think that one of his or her employees could be capable of such a transgression, but falsified radiology records can lead to a healthcare organization’s loss of reputation, fines or penalties, and perhaps for affected patients, even loss of life.
What is Image Results Anyway?
“Image Results” is the name of a Meaningful Use 2 menu objective. So you could conceivably just opt out of doing it if you already have six of the other menu objectives well covered. But since most hospitals will find it to be a quick win and it is so valuable to quality patient care, it would be a shame not to address it. Also, it is probably going to be core in MU3, so why put it off?
[Note: Read part 1 of this series here]
A Crash Course on Diagnostic Imaging Departments for the MU Team
If you already work in the radiology or cardiology department, you can skip this section and advance to the next one.
If you are a member of the Meaningful Use implementation team at your hospital, you are likely trying to figure out a lot of unfamiliar jargon coming from those nice folks in your imaging departments. Here is what you need to know to communicate with them on this topic.
This article will interest you if you live in the United States and are:
- A radiology or cardiology professional who has been asked a bunch of questions filled with unfamiliar acronyms and words like “Image Results,” “170.314(a)(12),” and “MU2” by your hospital’s Meaningful Use team, or you are
- On your hospital’s Meaningful Use team who just received blank stares when you asked your radiology department team to assist you with adding the “Image Results” to the objectives you can achieve.
When the new ICD-10 system is implemented on October 1, 2015, which is the most recent date set for its onset, many changes will accompany the transition, including a dramatic increase in the number of codes. The increase will be helpful to practitioners, including those in radiology, because it allows them to improve the specificity they use when documenting why a patient was seen and what care was given.
What video games were your first favorites? Were they old school—Pong, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong? Those examples are a far cry from today’s complex, realistic video games.
As games have become more sophisticated, concepts from gaming have seeped into other areas that are utilitarian, beneficial and have real-world applications. Game-inspired processes can encourage people to complete certain tasks and change behavior. The gamification trend is even entering medicine as a tool to help encourage practitioners’ best practices and processes such as peer review. How can healthcare organizations utilize the benefits of gamification to help improve radiology workflow and potentially improve patient care?
A recent article about the high rate of inappropriate imaging for patients who have headaches and are concerned about internal pathologic conditions caused a stir. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that around $1 billion each year is spent on neuroimaging for headaches, even though it’s not recommended per guidelines set by physician groups, including the American College of Radiology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Studies like these raise a larger issue about talking to physicians about reducing unnecessary costs. Being a thorough, compassionate practitioner doesn’t have to include non-recommended testing.
Radiology peer review is designed to track data without negatively impacting user productivity, learn how an organization is trending and discover where improvements are needed. In a Diagnostic Imaging interview, Nicole Wichlei, product manager of McKesson QICS™ ( Qualitative Intelligence and Communication System), notes that, “The objective of a peer review program should be to learn and improve.”
Radiology peer review should not impair physician’s or radiologist’s performance. The key to successful participation, said Wichlei, is “to make the doctors’ lives easier. They need a system that works in their primary system. If it will make it easy to do so, the adoption rate will be high, something that flows that isn’t disruptive to their current work flow.”