For emergency department managers, complaints are a serious and complex issue. They are worrisome due to concerns of possible litigation – emergency medicine is one of the top 10 specialties facing a higher number of lawsuits – and because dissatisfied patients are at odds with goals to improve patient satisfaction and care.
At the same time, ED staff is working in an extremely challenging environment. Physicians must determine whether a patient is truly in pain or feigning it to get, for example, a Percocet prescription. Staff may have to tend to another patient whose partner is becoming belligerent and appears under the influence. Nevertheless, amidst the chaos that can be an ED, there are helpful strategies for handling patient complaints – whether they’re coming from patients or the patients’ loved ones.
Sometimes, progress is as simple as viewing things from a different angle. For instance, when we consider radiology tests or procedures, we think of technologists and radiologists. What’s the best equipment for them, how can we make them more efficient, and how can we decrease the time they spend waiting for images?
But take that view and turn it 180 degrees to the patient, and everything changes. Success is no longer about departmental workflow; it’s about lowering the patient’s anxiety and frustration level to help improve radiology patient care.
November 8 is International Radiology Day. On the one hand, I think it’s wonderful that there’s a day to recognize the value that diagnostic radiology brings to healthcare and the numerous ways it helps improve quality of care. On the other hand, I believe that radiologists should not sit back on this day thinking about a job well done. Instead, International Radiology Day can be used as a call to action, further emphasizing the value of the work that radiologists do day in and day out.
In Part One of this Q&A, Dr. Patti outlined some of the obstacles that radiologists face regarding their physical workplaces. Those challenges include rotating to different facilities so there’s a lack of ownership of a workstation, not wanting to seem “high maintenance,” and having different individuals with different ergonomic needs working at the same workstation. Now, back to the discussion:
Allan: That is a long list of obstacles. Is the situation solvable?
This blog is in the form of an interview with Dr. Jay W. Patti, a radiologist from Mecklenburg Radiology Associates in Charlotte, NC. The interview is on a topic of interest to both of us (and hopefully you out there in Internet-land): using ergonomics to reduce repetitive stress injury (RSI) amongst radiologists.
Allan: Why do you think radiologists are still struggling with workstation ergonomics? And is it still important?