A few years ago, Radiology Associates of San Luis Obispo, an independent radiology practice in California, found itself in dire straits. Their patient volume was growing and their radiologists were busier than ever, but their reimbursements were shrinking by $1 million a year. Radiology Associates was at a decision point that required them to either radically change their financial situation or sell the practice to a local hospital.
Their solution? They took a two-pronged approach to adjust the way they operated and turned the business around, which led to not just financial gains, but happier radiologists who experienced more manageable workloads.
The two components to the practice’s transformation were:
- A technology solution, Merge Unity™, that allowed them to automate and manage images and reports
- A management training process, Simpler Business System®, that helped them craft more efficient and logical workflows
Consulting, a management consulting company that’s part of Watson Health, trains organizations using Lean Management, a proven methodology for improving process and creating efficiencies. By bringing together radiologists, technologists and administrative staff, the practice was able to deconstruct the office functions and look for ways to streamline or automate each step. The training also incorporated ways for everyone in the process to continue voicing suggestions or comments, so the improvements wouldn’t stop.
Once the Lean training had given Radiology Associates ideas on how to work more efficiently, they needed a way to implement them. This is where Merge Unity came in.
Merge Unity is an all-in-one RIS-PACS-Reporting platform. Radiology Associates had been using the platform for a few years prior to their Lean training, but they hadn’t optimized it for their unique practice needs. By using the feedback from their Lean training, they were able to customize and auto-populate the report templates to fit their needs. This made the process of reading and generating reports much easier for the radiologists, allowing them to increase their caseload without having to work faster or harder. It also freed up more of their time to focus on difficult cases or interact one-on-one with their patients. Productivity went up at the same time reported stress and burnout among the radiologists decreased.
By combining process strategy and technology, Radiology Associates was able to improve their financial situation, improve quality of care, reduce waste, increase efficiency and reduce physician burnout.
Read the practice’s full success story in this case study