The Future of Diagnostic Imaging

What does the future look like for diagnostic imaging? In many ways, we’re already seeing it.

Imaging departments have steadily evolved to meet the challenges of modern health care systems. As providers shift from fee-for- service care to value-based care, advanced diagnostic imaging technologies must evolve to better track and quantify the value of care. The requirements of an imaging professional are also evolving, as the health system seeks more insights from imaging services.

To effectively adapt to new challenges, imaging departments need to increase efficiency, improve internal communication, and build better workflows. These needs are shaping the future of diagnostic imaging.

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The Future of Radiology

To fully realize a value-based future, radiology departments need to become greater participants in the flow of information across the health care system. They need to consider the larger context of patient care to inform diagnoses and set priorities.

Some of the technology radiologists can use to shape their future is already available. New vendor-neutral systems have the potential to create a seamless data experience across departments and devices. These systems integrate with the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) to give physicians a holistic view of patient health. Intelligent radiology workflow software adds another layer of optimization, helping to promote efficiency and make sure patients receive the appropriate level of care in a timely fashion.

Right now, a health system on the cutting edge of technology is more connected and informed than ever before. The software that collects an unprecedented amount of patient data also organizes and presents it in an intelligent, intuitive way.

But the solutions currently available are just the beginning. Given the rate of change in the past few years, there are bound to be more monumental shifts just over the horizon. This page is a resource for forward-thinking radiologists and other health care providers.

The Future of Cardiology

New advances in cardiac technology are changing the course of treatment for many patients. These developments have the potential to change cardiology workflows in turn. As non-invasive treatments like TAVR become increasingly recommended as an alternative to surgery, the cath lab is poised to play a larger role in the department as a whole.

As cardiac care evolves, workflow technology must evolve with it. The modern cardiology department is moving toward a single-database solution, software that stores invasive and non-invasive care data. This means a single point of integration with the EMR, decreasing the likelihood of error and malfunction and increasing efficiency.

The cardiology department of the future will use single-database solutions to automatically track patients through procedures and across their course of treatment. With the software handling much of the record keeping and status updating chores, cardiologists will be free to focus their attention on improving patient outcomes.

These articles focus on how cardiology departments can improve efficiency and increase communication today, and which developments will shape a better tomorrow.

Measuring the Value of Imaging

In the old volume-based world, it was easy to demonstrate the value of imaging. Value was based on the number of procedures read. Radiologists were evaluated largely on the number of studies they could read in a day.

Now the challenge is to show value in a different way. Imaging is no longer a commodity evaluated by sheer number. For value-based care, the quality of each read is more important than the quantity.

Achieving higher quality without sacrificing efficiency requires that radiologists have a contextual understanding of patients’ medical history. Intelligent workflow systems help provide that context by consolidating data across multiple systems and automatically displaying the most relevant data.

Improving Workflow and Internal Communication

Historically, radiology departments have worked within their own silo, limiting external communication to a necessary minimum. In a value-based world, that kind of isolationism is counterproductive.

Modern radiology workflows incorporate system-wide communication make it simple to share information between departments and keep radiologists informed. These workflows rely on interoperable software that frees information from individual systems and silos, bringing it all together in an integrated EMR. Automated workflows drastically reduce the need for time-consuming manual intervention and dramatically reduce the possibility of human error.

Intelligent prioritization is another aspect of workflow technology that can not only help drive measurable improvements in the department itself but also demonstrate radiology’s value beyond departmental barriers. Software can automatically prioritize the most urgent cases to maximize use of the sub-specialists’ time and ensure patients receive the appropriate level of care.

These articles address the challenges and opportunities in workflow and communication both within the radiology department and throughout the entire health system.