How to Prove Radiology Department Value through Intelligent Workflows

2016-11-17
 

Radiology Workflows at Medical College of WisconsinAs health systems continue their transition to value-based care, radiology providers are challenged to prove their value above and beyond the number of scans they read.

Fortunately, that value already exists. Radiologists’ work contributes directly to patient care, but they need ways to quantify, track, and report this contribution.

Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) used Conserus Workflow Intelligence™ to create workflows that enabled tracking and reporting, both internally and externally. Through these workflows, they can show the value of their radiologists’ work to their internal stakeholders and create a culture of continuous improvement.

The institution provides physician practice for hospitals and clinics in the Milwaukee area, including Froedtert Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. All told, its providers care for more than 425,000 patients a year, in over 1.6 million patient visits.

Read on to see how Medical College of Wisconsin used this workflow management solution to help demonstrate value within their health system.

Proving Value to the Emergency Department

Through Conserus Workflow Intelligence™, the radiology department was able to create a workflow that captured proof of quality. They used the software to help radiology track their recall rates and were able to demonstrate that they were consistently–and significantly–better than the national average.

Since the solution is fully integrated with PACS, all the data already existed, and it was simple to configure a workflow that would amass the data MCW needed to track discrepancies. The department uses this information for internal review, and also to track discrepancy findings on reads that are performed at another facility and sent to MCW for review. Tracking these findings enables the department to show the value of their radiologists’ expertise.

Tracking Improvement and Positive Outcomes

As part of their physicians’ professional development, MCW creates a custom “report card” for each one. The report card includes metrics like review participation rates, number of discrepant reviews, relative value units, turnaround time for ED reports, and comparisons to national and section averages. Many of these metrics can be pulled from reports created by Conserus Workflow Intelligence.

The goal is to create a system in which physicians can learn and grow. In addition to tracking discrepancies, the radiology department also tracks positive events. That makes it possible to formally recognize great work, and congratulate radiologists for a job well done. By tracking performance on quantifiable, meaningful metrics, the institution has seen physician buy-in to the review process increase significantly.

Facilitating Improvement

The radiology department and emergency department need to work closely together for the best patient outcomes. At MCW, radiology trainees often perform after-hours reads for the institution’s emergency and trauma services. When the ED physicians asked for a tool that would make it possible to receive feedback on the after-hours resident reads, MCW used Conserus Workflow Intelligence™ to create a resident review workflow that routes the initial reads to a staff radiologist the following morning for evaluation, and then back to the resident for feedback.

The new workflow is extremely efficient; attending radiologists can evaluate and turn the feedback around in less than a day. Residents receive feedback while the details of the case are still fresh in their minds, and attending radiologists appreciate the ability to automatically deliver the feedback without manual follow-up.

Looking to the Future

As they continue to use Conserus Workflow Intelligence™, MCW would like to find more ways to implement its capabilities. One area that is of particular interest to them is a blind peer review workflow, which would anonymize peer reviews by automatically hiding the exam location and report author. This additional step helps keep the peer review program truly focused on education and quality.

Radiology providers are constantly being challenged to create more efficient workflows. As Medical College of Wisconsin’s experience shows, however, there are meaningful gains beyond simply efficiency. Workflow orchestration software can help radiologists prove value, track performance, and facilitate ongoing improvement and education.

To learn more about Conserus Workflow Intelligence™, visit McKesson (North Hall, Booth 7313) at RSNA November 27 – December 2 in Chicago.

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