Electronic Medical Imaging Efficiency

2011-06-27
 

Medical Imaging efficiencyPaper + people = inefficiency. That’s what Paul Chang discovered.

Chang is professor and vice chairman of radiology informatics and medical director of enterprise imaging at University of Chicago Hospitals. Convinced that his medical center’s medical imaging throughput could be improved, he and some colleagues set out to find the areas that slowed the turnaround from a physician’s order to the time he or she has the radiologist’s report.

Chang and his colleagues discovered that the reading room, which was paperless, was quite efficient. The scanning suite was not and, unsurprisingly, was full of paper. “When you see a piece of paper, that’s a clue that you have a problem,” says Chang, because it means that a step in the workflow is being handled by a person. So the first step was to digitize all scanning procedures.

They also automated the protocol process in order to make tech time more efficient. Instead of having techs manually enter data from the RIS to set up the scanner, they developed a way for the ordering physician’s protocol to automatically be transferred from the order to the machine. Chang and his colleagues refer to this as a “closed loop imaging system.”

The results were impressive:

  • Set up time was reduced from five minutes to less than one second.
  • Tech data entry errors were eliminated.
  • A 66 percent reduction in tech time with standard CT exams (30 minutes to 10 minutes)
  • A 65 percent reduction for complex CT exams (45 minutes to 16 minutes)

Click here to read the full article from CMIO.

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