Reducing medical data silos is important for a number of reasons. If data is siloed and medical images can’t be readily accessed where and when needed, staff members may spend valuable time searching for and sending them. That leaves providers with less time to care for patients. If an image must be retaken, healthcare costs will increase and the patient’s radiation exposure will go up, which may lead to a reduction in quality of care and most likely harm patient satisfaction.
Data silos are a problem for health systems around the country. However, there are strategies available that can help healthcare teams eliminate medical data silos and access the images they need when and where they’re needed.
Healthcare leaders are barraged with daily demands. Perhaps it’s assessing whether new staff is needed, digging into financial reports, creating strategies for shifting to value-based reimbursement or working to secure market share.
But as they juggle numerous tasks, healthcare leaders should care about diagnostic imaging solutions. Why? Diagnostic imaging solutions help improve workflow, support improvements to patient care and help organizations meet regulations.
Diagnostic imaging solutions can support improvements to workflow by bridging communication gaps. Workflow intelligence platforms can be customized per an organization’s priorities. For example, a department might opt to build a workflow based on radiologists’ specialties and locations to optimize sub-specialists’ expertise.
Healthcare’s shift from fee-for-service to value-based care is redefining the role of radiology within the care spectrum. While that can be a scary proposition at the outset, it actually presents opportunities for radiology to break out of its silo, contend the authors of an article in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
The article, “Advanced Practice Quality Improvement Project: How to Influence Physician Radiologic Imaging Ordering Behavior,” notes that although radiologists may have lost their traditional position as imaging gatekeepers, that freedom can lead to greater collaboration with providers and an important role on the care team.
Healthcare Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have a lot on their plates, from overseeing data security to developing technical strategies that support optimal patient care. As they assess areas for improvement, they should consider taking time to explore opportunities within radiology. Diagnostic medical imaging advances can benefit the rest of the healthcare organization, helping to improve efficiency and save money. Here are five things that CIOs can do to help improve their diagnostic imaging departments.
1. Integrate images with EHR data.
Studies have shown that EHRs are improving patient care, saving lives and promoting efficiency. CIOs have an opportunity to optimize the investment their healthcare organizations have made in their EHRs by integrating them with diagnostic medical imaging.
This is an update to my earlier post discussing how the early detection of lung cancer via low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has been shown to be effective enough in certain populations to warrant a screening program, but that coverage of such a program under Medicare was the subject of some debate.
CMS (Preliminary) Decision
The big news, of course, is that in mid-November CMS made a proposed Decision Memo indicating that Medicare would, indeed, cover lung cancer screening.
The final ruling from CMS is expected in February 2015 and could include some further refinements to the program currently outlined (more on that below).
Few hospitals would say they do not want to improve their workflows. At RSNA 2014 Robert Solgat, account manager at peerVue, talked about how a qualitative intelligence and communication system (QICSTM) can help enhance workflows through an enterprise imaging solution.
A former radiology director and PACS administrator, Solgat discussed some of the key features that QICS offers, including:
- Collecting all data from PACS, RIS, HIS and EMRs to one single location.
- Taking that data, gathering statistics and making meaningful reports – without spending hours to do so.
Below you will find highlights of five of those presentations.
Freddie Adorno, administrator of Enterprise Imaging Informatics for Nyack Hospital, a 375-bed facility 20 miles north of New York City. Adorno spoke about his hospital’s experience with McKesson Enterprise Image™ Clinical Reference Viewer (CRV). He said the CRV’s public URL streamlined access for everyone, especially those making the referral. This eliminated the frustration of multiple logins that that were required for Virtual Private Network and Terminal Services methods.
Radiology Workflow that Consolidates, Prioritizes, Automates and Assigns Tasks: A Q&A with Laurie Bergeron9:00 am
Missed service level agreements and turnaround times, manual interventions, work interruptions and silos of information – these are a few of the typical challenges that radiology departments face. Frustrated referring clinicians, wasted time and inefficiency are the undesired results.
That’s where workflow solutions can be of assistance. They help counter challenges like these through automated alerts, escalations, consolidated tasks and enhanced communications. Laurie Bergeron is a product analyst at McKesson, and she shares her insight about the latest workflow solution, McKesson Enterprise Image Workflow Intelligence™, in this Q&A.
Q: What can radiology managers expect their team to experience when using McKesson Enterprise Image Workflow Intelligence?
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Imaging Technology News and is republished here with permission.
Lancaster General Health is a 550-bed system in Central Pennsylvania performing nearly 500,000 exams per year in its major acute-care hospital, rehabilitation hospital, stroke and trauma center, women’s center and 12 outpatient facilities. The 26 diagnostic radiologists and three radiation oncologists at Lancaster Radiology Associates, Ltd., handle all the radiology services for the health system, providing round-the-clock coverage. Leigh S. Shuman, M.D., a practicing radiologist at Lancaster Radiology Associates and the PACS medical director for the health system, and John Jones, radiology PACS administrator, recently spoke to us about the importance of communication and workflow.
For professional backup, aviators have autopilot, writers have spellcheck. Some physicians receive alerts if an action has been overlooked or an important finding must be communicated quickly, such as a radiologist’s alert to contact the ED about a patient’s blood clot. These notifications can be very valuable, but too many can backfire and cause alert fatigue. Here are three reasons radiology management should seek balance when it comes to automated alerts.
1. Alerts Can Help Speed Up Radiologist Communication.