When an injured child comes into the ED, no one wants to wait a minute longer than necessary for the radiology report, especially if there’s a suspicion of child abuse. At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, NE, such cases regularly present themselves, yet radiology studies often took an hour or longer from exam completion to report dictation.
When I joined Children’s radiology department in 2009, I was tasked with decreasing that turnaround time to 15 minutes. My team and I knew such a drastic reduction would require a strategic approach rather than a tactical one. Simply upgrading equipment or eliminating bottlenecks would not be enough — every process and system would have to be optimized to the highest level to meet the goal.
It’s amazing how quickly we’ve all gotten used to having not just our phone, but all the information on the Internet, in our pocket. In fact, limited access to an information system tends to aggravate us — like not being able to read medical images from home or when we travel. Of course, massive data requirements and privacy issues make image access a great deal more complex than serving up a social media account or even a basic patient record.
[Note: Read part 1 of this series here]
A Crash Course on Diagnostic Imaging Departments for the MU Team
If you already work in the radiology or cardiology department, you can skip this section and advance to the next one.
If you are a member of the Meaningful Use implementation team at your hospital, you are likely trying to figure out a lot of unfamiliar jargon coming from those nice folks in your imaging departments. Here is what you need to know to communicate with them on this topic.
This article will interest you if you live in the United States and are:
- A radiology or cardiology professional who has been asked a bunch of questions filled with unfamiliar acronyms and words like “Image Results,” “170.314(a)(12),” and “MU2” by your hospital’s Meaningful Use team, or you are
- On your hospital’s Meaningful Use team who just received blank stares when you asked your radiology department team to assist you with adding the “Image Results” to the objectives you can achieve.
An exciting event took place recently at the Microsoft Testing Labs in Washington State — McKesson Radiology™ v12.0 was tested with a 5 million exam load. It ran for 240 hours with no degradation in performance, no memory leaks, no runaway CPU usage and no bottlenecks.
The experiment was designed to examine how next-generation imaging solutions might emerge to take healthcare to the next level. Some are calling these systems PACS 3.0, and they aim to take radiology beyond the enterprise level. The scalability test is detailed in a new white paper, “Scalability Testing of the PACS for the Future: McKesson Radiology at Microsoft Labs.”