Medical Imaging Improvements Support Quality Care & Enhance Patient Experiences


 Quality Patient Care ABC News reports:

“In the ICU at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., they are using smaller needles to prevent unnecessary pain. And if a patient needs a loving hand to hold to get through the pinch, their relatives will be there morning, noon and night. The ICU has made limited visiting hours a thing of the past.”

“At City of Hope, a cancer treatment facility in Duarte, Calif., patients helped guide construction of its new Helford Clinical Research Hospital. The intention was to ensure that the patient perspective was considered and to create a more “home-like” environment.”

These types of changes may be a direct result of a survey that has professionals in Hospital Organizations all abuzz.

In the past few years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services developed the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and announced that by October 2012, Medicare reimbursements and bonuses were going to be linked, in part, to scores on the survey. Talk about a wake-up call!

Patients’ Perspective Surveyed

As described by the CMS, the HCAHPS survey is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspective of hospital care.

The six composites summarize…

  • How well nurses and doctors communicate with patients
  • How responsive hospital staffs are to patients’ needs
  • How well hospital staffs help patients manage pain
  • How well the staff communicates with patients about medicines

… and whether key information is provided at discharge.

More and more hospitals are turning to enterprise-wide medical imaging solutions to help address the concerns reflected in the HCAHPS survey in order to increase their clinical efficiency. This results in a significantly upgraded patient experience due in part to:

  • Improved workflow and productivity within and between the radiology and cardiology departments and workflow automation to other areas of the hospital
  • Elimination of communication barriers between departments and facilities
  • Increased physician adoption through improved point-of-care access to patient information

Staff Communication Key to Patient-Centric Care

Aravind Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of management sciences at Ohio State, who was the author of a similar survey conducted by the University, stated that “When leaders were more patient-centric, our analysis showed that they were able to overcome that tension between clinical quality and the quality of the patient experience. Leaders have to be thinking about patients when they design their operations. That way they can cater many of their design principles to individual patients.”

As patient wait times decrease, as staff receives more quickly the accurate information about proper medication, and as information moves more quickly through the entire enterprise, this can only lead to increased patient satisfaction with their overall experience.

What have you found most contributes to the overall patient experience?  I encourage you to share your thoughts, via a comment below.

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