Healthcare leaders are barraged with daily demands. Perhaps it’s assessing whether new staff is needed, digging into financial reports, creating strategies for shifting to value-based reimbursement or working to secure market share.
But as they juggle numerous tasks, healthcare leaders should care about diagnostic imaging solutions. Why? Diagnostic imaging solutions help improve workflow, support improvements to patient care and help organizations meet regulations.
Diagnostic imaging solutions can support improvements to workflow by bridging communication gaps. Workflow intelligence platforms can be customized per an organization’s priorities. For example, a department might opt to build a workflow based on radiologists’ specialties and locations to optimize sub-specialists’ expertise.
What matters most to healthcare professionals is delivering the correct image at the right time. Investments in rules-based logic to prioritize and assign studies can help the most qualified reader access the study in the timeframe that is appropriate for that study.
Ideally, future workflow solutions will learn from physicians’ prior behaviors to anticipate their next logical steps in the diagnostic workflow to help improve workflow even further.
Help Improve Patient Care
Diagnostic imaging solutions can also help improve patient care, an interminable goal of healthcare leaders. Workflow promotes collaboration across the continuum of care between radiologists and referring physicians, which may ultimately benefit patients by helping to improve their quality of care.
Ubiquitous access to images that has been created by the adoption of PACS and EMRs represents tremendous opportunities for collaboration between healthcare professionals. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, we must recognize that radiologists and cardiologists can both be trusted advisors for diagnosing the patient. We also need to create incentives for the imaging specialists to focus on non-interpretation tasks like consults.
When collaboration is facilitated, radiologists are better able to help improve patient care. For example, radiologists can give guidance on what diagnostic imaging tests are most appropriate for specific patients’ conditions or help reduce radiation exposure. When seeing patients directly, radiologists can act as an additional counsel, encouraging lifestyle changes or motivating patients to follow screening guidelines, for example.
Support Regulatory Compliance
In today’s healthcare arena, there are a number of regulatory requirements that diagnostic imaging solutions help support. From critical results reporting to peer review, diagnostic imaging solutions help health systems become and stay compliant.
Currently in the healthcare industry, there is an emergence of quality processes being implemented by healthcare organizations, often in response to Joint Commission requirements and various accreditation considerations for the physicians. In the future we expect to see more requirements being imposed, both by the regulatory bodies and by the payers, which will require measurement and tracking of quality procedures in diagnostic imaging.
For example, Meaningful Use Stage 2 includes an Image Results objective. This requires image results in the EHR to include an explanation or accompanying information, helping referring physicians to better understand the image. Diagnostic imaging solutions that support EHR image integration and have obtained modular certification from CMS can help make the process simpler for organizations to document compliance metrics.
Healthcare leaders have a lot on their plate. But it’s important that they remember why it’s important to care about diagnostic imaging. From supporting regulatory compliance to helping improve workflow and quality of care, diagnostic imaging solutions are critical tools for health systems and ultimately their patients.
Read more information about and obtain practical advice on image results in our short whitepaper Some Practical Advice on Image Results and Meaningful Use Stage 2.