After a radiology technician in Georgia falsified more than 1,000 radiology results, it was found that 10 of the test results had actually been positive and two of the patients died. The technologist was fined and sentenced to six months in a detention center, while the healthcare facility where she worked faced multiple lawsuits.
No director of radiology wants to think that one of his or her employees could be capable of such a transgression, but falsified radiology records can lead to a healthcare organization’s loss of reputation, fines or penalties, and perhaps for affected patients, even loss of life.
Thankfully situations like the one in Georgia are exceptionally rare. But it does pose questions about how healthcare organizations can ensure that radiology system checks and balances are in place to protect patients. One example is a Qualitative Intelligence Communication System (QICS). A QICS contains safeguards for patients, promotes ongoing staff education and helps improve staff workflow.
What QICS Can Do to Benefit Radiology Departments
- Helps improve workflow. The technician from Georgia claimed that she falsified results because she was overwhelmed at work. QICS helps to automate workflows by removing clumsy workarounds, connecting disparate applications and removing inter-departmental communication barriers. By integrating with your existing RIS, PACS and EHR, QICS helps to manage a range of workflow processes, or solution spaces, throughout the medical imaging department, and to address the challenges that occur at all phases of the patient/exam life cycle.
- Promotes ongoing education. If technologists are feeling overwhelmed, like the Georgia technician, a QICS review system provides an opportunity for review and education. Unfortunately, manual processes by paper or phone are unable to appropriately and objectively measure, track and document feedback from supervisors to technicians—both positive and negative. That means that radiology leaders miss out on identifying areas for staff members to learn and improve in their work, which would help improve patient safety.
A radiology supervisor’s day is packed, overseeing supplies, equipment, procedures, staff members and troubleshooting whatever the workday throws their direction. A QICS can seamlessly incorporate technologists’ entries into a supervisor’s worklist, keeping the process streamlined, not cumbersome or time consuming. The supervisor can automatically enter pointers about the positioning of patients or departmental procedures to capture and provide feedback in an objective, actionable way.
Radiologist Richard Woodcock noted in his blog post “How to Do Peer Review in Radiology” that radiology review processes should be anonymous, random, reliable, consistent and focused on improvement rather than the error itself.
- Benefits facilities. The hospital where the technician worked has faced lawsuits and negative publicity since the falsified records came to light. There are a number of ways that systems such as a QICS can act as a checks-and-balances tool to benefit healthcare organizations in addition to its other benefits. For example, it provides workflow to manage and oversee student technologists, creates customized reports and promotes organizational efficiency that supports efforts to improve patient care. A QICS also helps facilities track tasks for regulatory and accreditation standards.
A QICS can be implemented to improve staff members and supervisors’ workflow while allowing for accountability and ongoing education. Rachael Rapraeger, the technician who falsified the records, apologized for her crimes, but said she did so because she felt “overburdened” at work and was trying to please her bosses. QICS solutions can be a valuable safeguard, helping to ensure patient safety even as it helps your radiology staff members improve performance.
Learn more about McKesson’s QICS that allows departments to create records to help ensure accountability, bridge the gaps in their workflow, and support patient safety initiatives.