Complete, accurate patient information is the name of the game these days. But access to that information can be trickier for radiologists than other specialists.
An article from HealthIT.gov says patients receive better medical care when providers have full access to complete information and notes, and that the comprehensive picture provided by an EHR can help providers diagnose patients’ problems sooner.
Many organizations have struggled to integrate their PACS and EHR. That means the information needed to improve the quality and speed of a diagnosis is not easily available to the imaging clinician. He or she must separately log into the EHR in most cases wasting time. Not to mention the clinician may not be able to quickly find the needed information using a less-familiar system, may increase the potential for error.
Radiologists pick integration over advanced features
Interestingly, a study published in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology found that an integrated EHR is a bigger priority for radiologists than access to the most advanced clinical features.
Respondents to the study were comprised of radiologists from two large health systems that used similar EHRs but different PACS. One health system operated an integrated PACS; the other used a non-integrated PACS that was perceived as clinically stronger. Respondents valued the integrated but clinically weaker PACS more than the non-integrated one.
Rapid access to limited data appears to be more valuable than slower access to a larger variety of patient information, said the authors, suggesting that radiologists use the EHR to answer focused clinical questions. Other responses reinforced this, including 94% agreeing with the statement “EHR data improves the quality of my report,” and the same number saying it improves patient safety.
The best of both worlds
Of course, the best-case scenario is one in which radiologists can use whichever diagnostic imaging solution they choose, including one that’s highly advanced, and still be able to fully integrate it with the organization’s EHR. This would allow radiologists to take full advantage of the PACS-based workflow designed for the radiology department while allowing access to the patient data they need and providing an easy path for radiology results to flow into the centralized patient record.
Advanced imaging workflow systems like the one described do exist. Such a system can include the ability to search for and display contextually relevant clinical data alongside the patient imaging information within the PACS, greatly improving overall quality and speed of diagnosis. In the end, tight integration combined with intelligent data search can result in getting the right data to the right person at the point of care.
Conserus Imaging Fellow™ gives imaging clinicians a more complete view of the patient’s longitudinal record at the point of care from within the imaging cockpit. Learn how Conserus Imaging Fellow can help give your care team a clearer view for better health by contacting us today.