Missed service level agreements and turnaround times, manual interventions, work interruptions and silos of information – these are a few of the typical challenges that radiology departments face. Frustrated referring clinicians, wasted time and inefficiency are the undesired results.
That’s where workflow solutions can be of assistance. They help counter challenges like these through automated alerts, escalations, consolidated tasks and enhanced communications. Laurie Bergeron is a product analyst at McKesson, and she shares her insight about the latest workflow solution, McKesson Enterprise Image Workflow Intelligence™, in this Q&A.
Q: What can radiology managers expect their team to experience when using McKesson Enterprise Image Workflow Intelligence?
A: This workflow platform, which is built on a flexible rules engine, helps radiologists complete their work more efficiently by consolidating all interpretation, quality and communication tasks into a single location. It also allows them to consolidate PACS workstations by launching multiple viewers from this single prioritized task list. Workflow Intelligence helps radiology managers to better utilize sub-specialists’ expertise, automate assignment and prioritization, monitor turnaround times and meet business objectives as well.
Q: What are a few of the critical pain points that this solution will help solve?
A: There are several. Radiologists’ talent is not being fully utilized; many are grabbing studies from a poorly prioritized, filtered work list. Our rules engine smartly assigns and prioritizes tasks automating and dynamically moving studies around to the most eligible and qualified reader.
Radiology administrators report that they spend too much time building custom filters, lack tools to push out workflow changes and are manually monitoring the work list for unread studies. The rules engine allows for extreme flexibility and adapts to changes in business and workflow rules; changes are pushed out for all users. Unread studies monitoring is automated with escalation paths and communication mechanisms.
C-suite, department heads and imaging managers need to make sure the referring clinicians are getting their studies turned around in time to meet their service level agreements. Rules automate this to help ensure the studies are read in time.
Q: Can you explain why it’s beneficial to tailor a work list to a specific facility? How about per a particular radiologist?
A: Each customer is different; there is no “one size fits all” approach to workflow. From imaging centers, to academic hospitals, to large IDNs, each has unique needs. The flexible workflow layer allows for customizable smart prioritization rules that define prioritization and escalation models. This allows for definition of workflows such as stroke protocols, trauma cases, academic sub-specialty assignment with specific priorities and escalation paths. That means that a trauma study from the ED that’s been unattended to for 15 minutes is then made available to a larger pool of candidates and moved to the top of the list, for example. Academic sites may want to build workflows based on sub-specialty and a reading group by location. Workflow Intelligence fits both models.
This flexible approach also allows for user-specific task lists tailored to the radiologists’ credentials, sub-specialty, and facility, and can also zoom in on rotation. If a radiology team wants to take full advantage of sub-specialties, studies can be assigned by using data such as patient location, ordering service, referring clinician, body region, procedure type and age to assign that study to the most qualified reader. If you have a pediatric neuro-radiologist, of course you want him or her to quickly be assigned any pediatric neuro studies.
Q: How does it help improve communication between team members?
A: Workflow Intelligence uses communication tools, including instant messaging, notification, SMS and email. Based on the workflow rules that are in place, a site can invoke these tools as part of the workflow. For instance, after 24 hours has elapsed, an email may be sent to the department head about an unread study.
Q: Can you give an example of a timing agreement that would be regularly missed and how this solution can fix it?
A: If you have a goal of a 30-minute turnaround time for overnight ED cases, and there is a case that’s 25 minutes old, the workflow uses a flexible rules engine to move that case to a higher priority and notify the appropriate person that it is nearing SLA. Similarly for other critical cases such as stroke protocols, PE screenings, triple rule-out, trauma cases. Or, you may want to turn all in-patient cases from floor 4 around in 2 hours. This is achievable.
Q: What kind of feedback do you hear from radiologists who use it?
A: A filtered work list is just not smart enough. This new approach changes a bucket of studies to a dynamic workflow conductor that allows for meeting-specific workflow and business needs.
Most importantly, the radiologists have a single view task list that takes the logic out of their heads and automates this behind the scenes, allowing radiologists to focus on patient care rather than what study to choose next.
Stay informed about radiology tools that allow your team to improve workflow by following McKesson Enterprise Medical Imaging on LinkedIn or contact us for more information about McKesson Enterprise Image Workflow Intelligence.