From volume to value: Strengthening the imaging value chain

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In a recent article from Journal of the American College of Radiology, a variety of authors make the argument that radiologists can and must assume a leadership role in shaping the U.S. healthcare system. They discuss that, as healthcare organizations turn their attention away from providers and volume to focus more on patients and value, radiology practices that “align their priorities accordingly will more likely achieve success” in this new healthcare environment. Enterprise-wide imaging strategies and interoperability can be a huge factor in the long-term success of a healthcare organization. But let’s consider a few of the other key points within the article… 

The evolution of imaging
First and foremost, radiologists must understand the call-to-action of today’s healthcare market. In the past, radiologists leveraged analog imaging to stake their claim as critical players in the healthcare continuum. As radiologists became a little more forward-thinking, the digital imaging revolution created a need for the subspecialty of imaging, further raising the profile of the profession. As radiologists look to the future, however, they must understand their role in shaping the healthcare industry, moving beyond interpretation and becoming a key decision-maker in clinical care. By leveraging an imaging strategy to collaborate with other providers, radiologists can greatly impact the patient experience and the quality of care.
Building for long-term success
By stepping into this new role as a key decision-maker, radiology practices should consider building their future on five key pillars:
  • Imaging appropriateness
  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Efficiency
  • Satisfaction

The key to establishing these pillars is to focus on identifying improvement opportunities at each of the imaging value chain. Here are some key things to consider to deliver maximum value and optimal outcomes:  
1.  Imaging appropriateness and patient scheduling
  • What imaging tests are needed?
  • How can I be cognizant of my patient’s radiation safety?
2.  Imaging protocols
  • Given the clinical situation, what is the optimal imaging protocol?
3.  Modality operations
  • What is the efficiency of modality operations?
  • How can we operate in a patient-friendly manner?
4.  Image interpretation and reporting
  • How can we ensure that we’re delivering timely, meaningful and actionable information?
5.  Report communication and physician interaction
  • How can I make this information accessible to other caregivers?
  • What can I do to be a bigger part of the overall decision-making for clinical care?
6.  Data mining, business intelligence and future trends
  • What tools can we leverage to gather actionable insight into patient trends?
  • How can we monitor this information to create best practices?

By addressing these issues, radiology practices can deliver maximum value in costs and outcomes. Additionally, the use of technologies (like the ones Merge Healthcare provide) can help with decision support and address best practices to optimize the patient experience.
What is your radiology practice doing to stay competitive and define the imaging value proposition? 

Originally posted on: 3/27/2014 12:27:55 PM

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