Today’s value based care environment demands improvements in quality, interpretation and communication to deliver better outcomes for patients. In previous posts, we’ve discussed the impact intelligent workflow software can have on an individual’s patient journey, but today we’d like to highlight some of the ways automating workflow can help a radiologist.
Below are three specific ways workflow management can facilitate increased efficiency for radiologists in their daily work:
1. Critical Test Results Management
Every radiologist wants to expedite critical results. But without tools or a consistent workflow, departments can be forced to rely on manual workflows and human intervention, both of which make it difficult to close the communication loop.
A workflow orchestration solution that incorporates critical results communication and integrates with any PACS can help simplify this workflow tremendously. Ideally, when a radiologist encounters a critical radiology result, he or she launches the Critical Results workflow directly from PACS, reports the study and flags it. Information about the study, the patient and the referring physician is populated automatically, and the intelligent workflow solution communicates the finding based on your health systems’ preferences. Pre-defined escalation rules determine the frequency for alerts, which are sent until results are acknowledged. Radiologists can rest assured that the automated solution will close the communication loop so nothing is left to chance.
2. Dynamic study assignment and prioritization
Consistently putting the right case in front of the right doctor at the right time can be difficult, if not impossible when there are multiple systems in place. Without a way to effectively track which studies and tasks need to be completed, cases can slip through the cracks. Using manual workflows to manage this process makes it prone to error.
With an automated, rules-based solution, granular levels of priority can be applied to each study. For example, cases from the ED may be granted a higher level of priority than those from another area. Or cases for outpatients from remote locations could be read before other studies to ensure those patients are not subjected to an overnight stay. Once studies or tasks are prioritized according to your health system’s rules, a workflow solution can automatically assign them to the right radiologist or specialist.
Workflow management solutions can assign work based on a wide range of factors, and can constantly monitor tasks or studies to re-assign and escalate them if they’re not read within defined thresholds. For radiologists, automated assignments mean they never have to manually search for studies within their areas of sub-specialty or worry about meeting their SLAs. They always receive the highest priority study or the one that is best suited to their knowledge and skills.
3. Automated collaboration and notifications
Radiologist peer to peer communication can be disruptive to workflow and often lacks documentation. Locating colleagues for second opinions and consultations takes time and impacts productivity. But to deliver more value, radiologists are feeling increased pressure to collaborate more closely with their colleagues.
What radiologists need is a way to make collaboration easier and more efficient. Solutions that automate, track and integrate quality workflows where feedback can be tracked and measured can enable learning and closer collaboration. When discussions occur in a single system as part of a normal workflow, peer to peer collaboration is easier and quicker and notifications are audited and tracked so they become part of the patient record.
Workflow orchestration solutions can help to transform your radiology worklist from a sequential list of studies into a consolidated, dynamic task list that facilitates communication while it also helps your departmental users manage their quality tasks and their studies for interpretation. Replacing manual processes with technology lets your radiologists focus their efforts where they’re most needed.