How many times a week do you find yourself stumped by a question that—while not impossible to answer—really gets in the way of maintaining an efficient workflow? If you’re lucky, the answer is “not all that often.” But for many healthcare professionals, finding a solution to workflow obstacles can be challenging, especially when you need that answer fast.
, the online social platform for Merge Healthcare customers, offers a solution to this problem. Inside Merge Communities, customers can share information with Merge Solutions experts and among their peers, pose questions on a wide range of product-specific topics, or freely discuss opportunities and challenges affecting radiology practices today. The platform provides a forum for real-time interaction. Hundreds of Merge customers—more than 400 alone in ambulatory radiology-related PACS
user groups—are taking advantage of the Merge Communities to identify solutions, track support cases, and network with each other.
For example, consider Debi Kuykendall, Support Systems Manager at Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center
in Dallas, who serves as Merge’s RIS Subcommittee Chair. The Merge User Group for RIS recently helped her team resolve an issue in which their RIS was cancelling out one accession number when they tried to reschedule patient visits using two of the same procedure (CPT) codes.
“We assumed it was looking at the duplication as an error, when really it was being used for bilateral studies, or studies that needed the same codes for billing, but were really two different clinical studies—MRI Brain and MRI Pituitary,” Debi told me. “Luckily, we had just joined the Merge User Group for RIS, and we learned that others weren’t experiencing this problem because they had actually set up their procedure code tables with more detailed descriptions. We had just loaded the one we had in our previous billing system. When we realized we could do this, we not only fixed our issue, but improved the way we used our RIS, and made it easier for technologists and physicians to determine what was actually performed.”
Debi also expressed how invaluable it is for her and other customers to communicate with each other about countless aspects of their businesses and tools. While vendor training can show users how a system is designed, she said, often the options for configuration and customization are so great that it may be difficult for some clients to determine the best way to utilize features and pull it all together for optimal results.
“Sometimes there are solutions that we obtain from our peers, rather than Merge Training and Support,” she said. “Many of the applications are interfaced and integrated with other products, and being able to collaborate with others in the industry about these flexibilities and demands has been a huge benefit for us.”
Having worked in the industry for some time, one of the key benefits to ambulatory radiology is how it enables us to address issues affecting such a large and diverse group of customers. When we are designing new features and improvements to our solutions, for example, customer feedback on both priorities and design approaches is essential. Merge Communities facilitates this research, as the groups enable us to ask questions, share ideas, and receive virtually instant feedback. The communities also help us to understand market trends and issues and to build relationships with folks we cannot visit in person very often.
Merge Communities is truly a collaborative effort between Merge and our customers for the betterment of the radiology field as a whole. Be on the lookout for additional posts on Merge Communities to find out how your peers are using the platform.
If you’d like to learn more now or want to join, contact Julie Pekarek at Julie.Pekarek@Merge.com
We hope to see you there soon!
Editor’s Note: This blog is the first of a two-part series on Merge Communities. Be on the lookout for part 2 coming soon.
Julie Pekarek is Vice President of Solutions Management at Merge Healthcare