Improving Radiology Workflow After Technological Improvements

2011-10-18
 

radiology information system workflowwTechnology won’t solve workflow issues. Just ask Jon Copeland.

Copeland is the CEO at Inland Imaging in Spokane, Washington, which provides radiology services to regional healthcare practices. Specifically, he is responsible for assembling specialists who provide consulting services to a variety of private and public clients.

By 2006, Inland Imaging employed 65 radiologists, was completely filmless, used voice-recognition software, and had a single PACS database with connections to the Radiology Information System (RIS) of six vendors.

But, notes Copeland, they “had only gross estimates of the day and night demands on workflow, and we had no accurate work RVU reporting due to data being fragmented across multiple systems.” Why? The PACS and RIS systems, although huge improvements over the previous radiology technology, still did not track all necessary items such as exam backlogs and turnaround reporting time.

After brainstorming, planning, and four developers working for two years, a new workflow system was launched. It was used by everyone in all branches of the practice – specialists, sub-specialists, assistants, even dispatchers.

In fact, the dispatchers immediately started using the information the new system gave them to assign outstanding work to properly credentialed radiology professionals who were available at a given time.

The results have been good for Inland Imaging. Productivity has gone up 14%, peer review of radiology images has increased, and reporting functions help administrators (and other users) know where quality and efficiency can be improved. Moreover, the radiology professionals at Inland Imaging are happy with the new system because it gives them more time with images by making radiology administration easier.

Copeland stresses that workflow issues aren’t over. But their new system gives them the ability to continually measure and improve workflow – a task, notes Copeland that is absolutely necessary in today’s competitive radiology marketplace.

Click here to read Copeland’s original article for Radiology Business Journal.

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