Setting High Standards of Care in Medical Imaging

2012-09-21
 

Stethoscope As we enter the era of “accountable care,” medical imaging departments are uniquely positioned to set a best practices standard of care in nonclinical areas.  As stories emerge regarding vastly differing protocols, image quality and even basic information exchange, technology workers who demonstrate their expertise have an opportunity to revamp radiology information systems. (Source: FierceHealthIT).

Did Internet Spawn Medical Imaging Hacks?

With any open resource, like the Internet, lies a double-edged sword. The sheer lack of accountability lends itself to rogue agents of all kinds, from hackers to hacks. Telemedicine, while promising, has opened the door for outsourced radiology, the quality of which varies widely.

According to American Telemedicine Association CEO, Jonathan Linkous, “Teleradiology is now so common that many hospitals don’t recognize the name–outsourcing part or all of a radiology program is just the way things are now done in healthcare,” he said. (Source: FierceHealthIT)

Is Radiology Becoming a Commodity?

But if medical imaging becomes a commodity, is that a good thing? Richard Abramson, former teleradiologist, doesn’t think so. He found that different sites had vastly different procedures for complaints from the broad to the specific, such as trauma and headache.

If radiologists want to avoid becoming marginalized, then they are going to have to assert their leadership and start getting their own house in order, he wrote in a May issue of Radiology. Having served more than 400 different hospitals and delivered more than 50,000 preliminary interpretations throughout the United States, we think he qualifies as an authority on the subject.

“The industry has a unique opportunity to ‘biopsy’ current practices,” he said.

What’s the Future of Enterprise Imaging?

The growing number of sites offering imaging services online poses both a threat and an opportunity. According to Dr. Paul J. Chang, medical director of enterprise imaging at University of Chicago Hospitals, when it comes to radiology or imaging IT, the value proposition is what hospitals must emphasize.

“Everything we do … in the enterprise has to directly result in measurable improvements in either [sic] efficiency, quality, safety, outcomes–in other words, value,” he said.

How do you see medical imaging evolving in an era of accountable care?  I encourage you to share your comments below.

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