How Medical Imaging Advances Lead To Better Patient Experiences

2013-04-12
 

Positive Patient Experience

In 2009, U.S. policymakers drafted health reform legislation aimed at improving the quality of health care and slowing the growth of spending. One year later, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, improving access to health care for millions of uninsured Americans.

Quality of care and access to care are just two improvements that lead to a better patient experience; the third is advances in medical imaging.

4 Components to Improved Patient Care

Medical imaging advances have led to a better patient experience in four key areas:

1) Imaging accuracy – Recent advances in medical imaging have revolutionized the diagnostic accuracy of medical images. These advances include multi-modal imaging, dynamic imaging and diagnostic imaging with non-ionizing radiation. Most of these advances involved developing robust, rapid and reliable instruments with an emphasis on seamless operation in the clinic.

Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, implemented a fully digital solution, McKesson Cardiology™ , a single-platform cardiovascular imaging and information system (CVIS). Cardiologists can now access all inpatient and outpatient echocardiograms and cardiac catheterizations from one workstation and even do side-by-side comparisons and re-measuring on the same screen.

“In the past, we would have to look up the old tape, print the image and still not know the proper scale,” says Gary J. Butchko, MD, FAAP, a pediatric cardiologist at Mercy Children’s Hospital. “The CVIS is extremely accurate for re-measuring, and the image quality is 10-fold better. We can read studies more quickly and accurately, and the patient isn’t inconvenienced because we can recheck immediately.”

2) Patient wait timesRadiology Information Systems (RIS) have helped streamline medical imaging workflow, allowing the radiologists and cardiologists to read studies more rapidly and with greater accuracy. In the new medical imaging environment, most signed reports are typically distributed to the enterprise and the referring physician within 24 hours of the doctor seeing the patient. In emergency cases, this time can be cut down to under an hour.

3) Record keeping – The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a component of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, represents the nation’s first substantial commitment of federal resources to support the widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs).

When well-organized and exchangeable, the benefits of EHRs lead to enhancements in quality and convenience by

  • Increasing patient participation in their care
  • Improving accuracy of diagnoses and health outcomes
  • Improving care coordination
  • Increasing practice efficiencies and cost savings

In what way have advances in medical imaging enriched your patients’ experience?

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