A recent article in Healthcare IT News
on the topic of workflow engines really caught my eye.
Workflow engines are essentially software applications that manage processes. They set rules governing decisions around a given process, as well as the route needed to complete that process accordingly. They’ve been used in manufacturing for many years, but are just now entering the healthcare environment.
The gist of the article, based on a presentation delivered by a Mayo Clinic radiologist at this year’s RSNA meeting
, is that workflow engines can dramatically improve workflows in radiology for today’s value-based healthcare environment, which places a premium on efficiency and evidence-based medicine.
From a radiology perspective, a properly outfitted PACS
can be leveraged as such a workflow engine.
Most PACS in service today support only one linear workflow: order the exam, schedule the exam, perform the exam, perform QC, read the exam and report the results. But the latest PACS can support multiple workflows that run parallel to, in conjunction with, or even after the basic exam workflow.
These processes include critical results reporting, technologist workflows, ER/ ED wet read workflow, incidental findings tracking in addition to monitoring system events such as pre-fetching of studies. In Merge PACS we refer to these individual workflows as “Worklist Dimensions.” All of these items drive individual users’ worklists and actions, not just for the radiologist but also for the ED physician, admin, clerical staff and others.
Moreover, this ability to manage multiple processes really demonstrates its value in the communication of documentation and incidental findings. Reports show on average 25 to 30 percent of imaging studies generate incidental findings, yet a surprisingly high number of these fail to get communicated for follow-up.
Our ultimate goal is to help providers improve patient care. Leveraging technology like an enterprise PACS that can handle multiple, parallel workflows may prevent these types of errors and help identify medical concerns so providers can communicate them to patients more quickly. What’s more, Merge PACS Multi-Dimensional Real time Worklist serves as a proven and effective workflow engine without the need for adding an external module to an existing PACS. Additionally the real time notification service built into the Merge PACS worklist provides nearly instant notifications
to users for rivaled safety and scalability.
As you work to identify ways to provide high-quality patient care and streamline how to deliver it, how will you use workflow engines to support your organization’s goals?