The Benefits of Bringing Context-Sensitive Data to Radiology Points of Care


Radiologist examining scan images with added EMR contextInformation is the lifeblood of a health system. Access to relevant patient data from various systems can help guide diagnoses, increase efficiency, and even shorten inpatient stays.

The move towards enterprise imaging — making imaging data available seamlessly across a health system — is one way that health systems are seeking to achieve these goals. But providing relevant data to the radiology department is an ongoing challenge, and there’s still a great deal of progress left to be made. Fifty-eight percent of physicians say their EMR is hard to use. Even worse, 53% of radiology departments do not have PACS-EMR integration.

Access to context-sensitive, highly-relevant data is vital for radiologists in a connected, modern health system. We developed Imaging Fellow™ to make data access easy and efficient.

What Is Imaging Fellow?

Imaging Fellow is an EMR and data optimizer that extends relevant clinical information to the radiology point of care. The software filters data from the EMR and consolidates it into a single integrated display, including:

  • Relevant prior admissions
  • Related lab values
  • Medications
  • Filtered clinical notes
  • Rad-path correlation

It mines the essential insights from a mountain of patient data and puts it at radiologists’ fingertips. Here are just a few of the benefits that a solution like Imaging Fellow brings to radiologists:

Improved Context

Radiologists need context and relevant patient history to answer queries about specific patients, but sometimes this context isn’t available in PACS. Imaging Fellow makes it possible to pull previous physicians’ notes into the chronology of the patient exam.

This crucial context can help radiologists make more informed diagnoses, leading to better quality of care. Dr. Elon Gale , Associate Chief of Radiology at Lowell General Hospital, described how the added information benefited his radiology team: “People very quickly became addicted to the information,” Gale says. “They recognized the amount of data, the concentration and relevance of the data, is so important to accurately assessing patients.”

More informed radiologists are also better equipped to have deeper, more productive conversations with clinicians. They’re able to participate more fully and meaningfully as members of the care team.

Controlled Costs

When radiologists have easy access to filtered, relevant data, they can make more informed diagnoses. That means fewer unnecessary procedures or redundant exams. Currently, 5-25% of scans performed are “defensive medicine,” or overutilization to make sure all the diagnostic bases are covered. Better information and more context means ruling out procedures before they’re performed, not after.

More informed diagnoses also help avoid billing discrepancies and denials. The current denial rate is 30%, costing hospitals an average of $30 per denied claim. Greater clinical context can help make sure the patient is receiving the appropriate level of care, helping reduce the number of denied claims and eliminate discrepancies.

Greater Physician Satisfaction

In the pre-digital health system, radiologists reviewed film in person with other clinicians. Distributed systems have eliminated that face-to-face repartee, which can negatively impact other clinicians’ perspective of radiology. There’s a tendency to treat the radiology department like a lab test, with little recognition of the information and expertise radiologists can bring to patient care. This type of treatment lowers radiologists’ job satisfaction and can drive high burnout rates.

When radiologists are equipped with more information, however, they can participate more fully as integral members of the care team. Dr. Gale experienced first-hand how Imaging Fellow can help radiologists connect with the rest of the health system. His team had a patient presenting with abdominal pain, in which the radiologist needed to rule out pneumoperitoneum. The exam was ordered by a clinician for an orthopedic patient.

The radiologist used Imaging Fellow to see the orthopedic clinician’s name, number, and his patient notes. The radiologist called the fellow clinician directly and quickly resolved the case with a single quick and efficient conversation. “Before Imaging Fellow, we wouldn’t have had the orthopedic clinician’s name or his notes,” Gale says. “As it was, the clinician was grateful for a quick resolution and happy to have the direct, informed conversation with our radiologist.”

When radiologists have broader, more intelligent access to context of care, it benefits clinicians, health systems, and patients alike. Imaging Fellow helps connect radiologists with the crucial information they need to make more informed diagnoses, be more efficient, and add more value to the care team.

Contact Change Healthcare today to learn more about Imaging Fellow.

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