Tag: Radiology

09 Oct 2018

Unlock productivity, quality and communication with radiology workflow orchestration

Radiology exams are typically categorized as Stroke Cases, STAT cases, Trauma cases, Emergency Radiology, Inpatient, Outpatient and ICU cases etc. A radiologist’s workflow dashboard therefore must be organized in a manner that s/he has access to all vital information with the click of a button. But, it is easier said than done!

With increased accessibility and affordability of imaging modality machines and also due to incessant endeavors of modality manufacturers and PACS companies to provide precise imaging solution, there has been a quantum jump in the number of exams to be read. Further, the advent and availability of newer modality machines has also created the need for subspecialists readings.  A radiologist dashboard is now no less than a cross-word puzzle. What is most affected are the radiologist’s productivity, quality of work, communication between different stakeholders and the overall viability of running an imaging facility.

To overcome these challenges, companies are creating workflow orchestrators. Workflow Orchestrator is a mechanism for automatically matching imaging scans with a radiologist profile in the radiologist service provider environment. So, instead of radiologists spending their precious time figuring out which scan to read, the scans look for a perfect radiologist to read them.  Workflow Orchestrator further mines for exams in terms of priority or SLA (service level agreement), right sub-specialty and the best relationships and accordingly populates them in the worklist of the relevant radiologists for their appropriate response.

RIS-PACS with Workflow Orchestration lends itself in enhancing productivity, quality and communication.  With the implementation of intelligent tools such as Workflow Orchestration, the exams are exposed to a broader audience as time goes by. To begin with, the exams are exposed to the most suited radiologists, ones that have the best expertise and the best relationship to read that exam.

The Workflow Orchestrator also ensures that all available subspecialists are taken into the fold if a particular exam is not read or taken up quickly enough. The orchestrator delivers incalculable augmentation where quality KPI is concerned. The software also organizes exams not just by clinical but also by business priorities. The most crucial exams can be seen on top followed by the emergency and STAT exams, right after that comes inpatient exams, and then outpatient exams. Each exam is tagged by the intelligent software by the SLA so the time remaining to read each exam can be seen easily.

The productivity of the radiologists can be seen clearly from the personal radiologist dashboard. Apart from other features, there is also a break glass mechanism so that if a radiologist chooses to read out of order, the system will ask for a reason to do so. With integrated communication tools such as chat or instant messaging and more, the orchestrator’s software allows radiologists and referring physicians to easily share context of exams with each other and even ask for a specific exam to be reviewed.  The workflow orchestrator lets radiologists have the right tools to manage inaccurate exams and enhance productivity.

The Workflow Orchestrator helps direct imaging exams first to suitable clinical subspecialists, and then it makes sure that the exams are made available to other radiologists as needed to satisfy desired turnaround times. Exams also can be allocated to specific radiologists according to a referring physician’s preference and existing affiliations with hospitals or healthcare facilities. The platform’s workload balancing function can optimize reporting times.

RADSpa’s Workflow Orchestrator is one such value-added capability in the ever-evolving healthcare delivery paradigm.

  • It takes care of enhanced productivity by aligning demand with supply.Dynamic assignment automatically accelerates and assigns studies to the most appropriate, available radiologists. There is better communication through associated tools and automated notifications.

 

  • With a universal worklist, the orchestrator incorporates quality and interpretations tasks in one place. Efficiency is improved by contributing to quicker turnaround times and reduced length of stay.

When a study was conducted to see the impact of RADSpa’s Workflow Orchestrator feature, the results were overwhelmingly positive.

  • Almost 85% of the radiologists agreed that RADSpa’s Workflow Orchestrator helped them to reduce the TATs and increase productivity.
  • Statistical analysis of 180 days of logs before and after automation indicated 35% improvement in overall TAT for emergency cases.
  • Radiologist productivity per case improved by 25% as every case is auto-validated for images prior it is assigned.
  • Exam Coordinators or the Assigners reported a massive 98% reduction in effort which used to go in manually eliminating errors, and thereby more time in hand for handling greater workloads.

Radiology Workflow Automation has positively impacted timely patient care specifically in Reporting Emergency cases and thereby saving lives.

  • Manual errors and allocation time is reduced by 98%, TAT is improved 35% and RAD’s productivity by 25%.
  • Zero error in case assignment to radiologists by the coordinators (assigners).
  • Radiologists receiving advance alert regarding their work list.
  • Notification to assigners regarding un-attended cases. This helped assigners to follow-up with the respective Radiologists or re-assign them to equivalent Radiologists.

This value-based care has helped radiologists achieve more and do much more. This increased cooperation between healthcare providers as well as professionals benefits all participants in the care continuum. Workflow Orchestrator is therefore a great productivity and quality boosting tool and promises to be an excellent tool for collaboration and communication.

  • It takes care of enhanced productivity by aligning demand with supplyDynamic assignment automatically accelerates and assigns studies to the most appropriate, available radiologists. There is better communication through associated tools and automated notifications.
  • With a universal worklist, the orchestrator incorporates quality and interpretations tasks in one place. Efficiency is improved by contributing to quicker turnaround times and reduced length of stay.

When a study was conducted to see the impact of RADSpa’s Concierge Automation feature, the results were overwhelmingly positive.

  • Almost 85% of the radiologists agreed that RADSpa’s Concierge Workflow automation helped them to reduce the TATs and increase productivity.
  • Statistical analysis of 180 days of logs before and after automation indicated 35% improvement in overall TAT for emergency cases.
  • Radiologist productivity per case improved by 25% as every case is auto-validated for images prior it is assigned.
  • Exam Coordinators or the Assigners reported a massive 98% reduction in effort which used to go in manually eliminating errors, and thereby more time in hand for handling greater workloads.

Radiology Workflow Automation has positively impacted timely patient care specifically in Reporting Emergency cases and thereby saving lives.

  • Manual errors and allocation time is reduced by 98%, TAT is improved 35% and RAD’s productivity by 25%.
  • Zero error in case assignment to radiologists by the coordinators (assigners).
  • Radiologists receiving advance alert regarding their work list.
  • Notification to assigners regarding un-attended cases. This helped assigners to follow-up with the respective Radiologists or re-assign them to equivalent Radiologists.

This value-based care has helped radiologists achieve more and do much more. This increased cooperation between healthcare providers as well as professionals benefits all participants in the care continuum. Workflow Orchestrator is therefore a great productivity and quality boosting tool and promises to be an excellent tool for collaboration and communication.

16 Jul 2018
Transforming Radiology Technology

The Transformation of Radiology using Technology

Radiology has indeed come a long way since 1895, the year of the spectacular discovery of X-rays by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen. It now plays an inherently crucial role in improved and better diagnosis and patient care.

The past few decades have seen the limits of imaging informatics being pushed beyond traditional boundaries thanks to several major changes in computer and communication technology. With the advent of new technologies, such as the World Wide Web, wireless connectivity, and, now, the ever-present social networks, momentous advancement has been made in the way radiological services can be delivered. The Internet has become a crucial gateway for electronic transmission and sharing of health-related data, something we today know as “e-Health”. Many types of e-Health are currently becoming available. In many hospitals, the electronic health record (EHR) is being introduced, which allows a complete electronic record of the patient’s health information. This EHR should not only automate and streamline the physician’s workflow but also allow patients to gain control over their health data through online portals.

The move from an analog to a digital working milieu put the radiologists at the front line of producing and distributing digital images. New dedicated software products were developed. One of the most important shifts being adopted by many healthcare institutions across the globe is a paper-free environment and the Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) and Radiology Information System (RIS). These are truly remarkable steps in this direction. Radiologists employ the PACS to store myriads of image files which can be easily retrieved at any time in the patient management. Making lives extremely convenient, the entire database of images of all patients across all modalities is just a click away. It not just saves time but with the help of software solutions like RIS, it is now possible to keep a track record of every patient from scheduling appointments to diagnosis and treatment.

Transformative new technologies, many powered by cloud-based RIS-PACS, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, promise to redefine the practice of radiology in ways that will considerably improve productivity, diagnostic quality, and medical treatment. Today, cloud-based computing in the imaging market has evolved from a service that provided cost-effective disaster recovery for archived data to fully featured PACS. It’s vendor neutral archiving services can address the needs of healthcare providers of all sizes, on the go.

Taking a look at AI, we need to identify AI’s strengths in analyzing visual images. Researchers train the algorithms to better detect potentially dangerous abnormalities, generating faster and more accurate insights to help guide clinicians’ treatment decisions. AI adoption is sure to ease the overwhelming workloads impeding the profession, facilitating radiologists to do what they’re best at and perform them better.

Going further ahead, we can examine Workflow orchestration technology too. This promises to boost efficiency and alleviate bottlenecks. By directing cases to the right recipient in the correct order, this technology optimizes the effectiveness of the read, especially in teleradiology settings. With the profession’s ever-increasing need for solutions that match demand with supply, a lot of organizations provide solutions that facilitate better collaboration across facilities for effective workflow orchestration.

Teleradiology is another field that is assisting well where streamlining workloads is concerned. Remote radiologic coverage and reliable telecom infrastructures means more radiologic analysis is being performed online to take care of workloads between hospitals. And as the field becomes progressively digitized, apprehensions regarding the security of radiology data accentuate the need for robust solutions that will not just prevent breaches but at the same time also safeguard patient information while complying with regulatory requirements.

Diagnostic images captured at the right place and at the right time give physicians, surgeons, and care centers an important tool to help provide better patient care and at a reasonable cost. For this reason, Telerad Tech has been building out solutions since 2009.

Telerad Tech was established with the goal of optimizing radiology productivity and improving patient outcome delivery through transformational medical imaging software solutions. Today, it is amongst the market leaders in providing integrated RIS-PACS software solutions for teleradiology, medical imaging centres, and hospitals of all sizes globally. Telerad Tech’s solutions cater to workflows needs across departments, including Radiology, Cardiology, Podiatry, Orthopedic, Chiropractic, Oncology and Veterinary.

We are today amongst the market leaders in providing RIS with integrated PACS with significant installations in both cloud and enterprise environment across 1500 facilities in 24 countries.

Our software solutions suite has been incubated, tested and perfected in a radiology ecosystem and are designed to address the unique needs of multiple care pathways across departments, including radiology, cardiology, dentistry, oncology, and veterinary. Our software has customizable workflow features, intelligent productivity tools & analytics and Vendor-Neutral Archive technology. It has strong patient security framework and integrates seamlessly with other systems for exchange and retrieval of electronic health information.

To enable physicians to consistently deliver optimal patient management and to augment the precious time of radiologists, Telerad Tech has also leveraged Artificial Intelligence (AI), for various radiology diagnostics.

We truly believe that the future is here

Technological development has undoubtedly prompted some anxiety among radiologists. But while tech adoption will inevitably alter the way radiologists work, technology’s clinical value will be in supplementing and adding to and not replacing or even displacing the professionals. Radiologists empowered by AI will only encounter a new, more efficient stage of radiology, helping to focus their time and attention on the most crucial elements of their job.

Also, we need to remember that image analysis is just one of the aspects of a radiologist’s job, other tasks, including discrepancy reviews, diagnostic reasoning, and patient-facing work such as invasive radiology, will still be performed by humans. Those tasks will simply be supported and enhanced by advancing technology.

The future of radiology is here, and the prediction clearly states that it will not only better health care but also the lives of all the stakeholders.

Author: Prashant Akhawat, COO, Telerad Tech

Co-Author: Ashwani Sinha, Global Head – Business Development

26 Mar 2017
GE

RADSpa to Enable TRS–GE Partnership for Remote Radiology Reporting Accessibility

RADSpa is a unique and revolutionary teleradiology platform with fully integrated Radiology Information System (RIS) and Picture Archival Communication Systems (PACS) built to work in low bandwidth conditions; it is suitable for countries with emerging infrastructures. RADSpa will act as a backbone for Teleradiology Solutions (TRS) and Wipro GE Healthcare partnership and will enable remote radiology reporting services accessibility in Tier 2 and beyond markets with low internet bandwidths in India.This platform is designed to meet the needs of small diagnostic centers/hospitals, large-scale multi-site multi-geography hospitals, and chain of diagnostic centers.

RADSpa RIS/PACS system once implemented will not only solve the existing challenges of the radiology image management but will also improve productivity and efficiency in the radiology department. In addition, it enables remote radiology across centers seamlessly.

The partnership will combine Wipro GE Healthcare’s medical technology leadership and wide reach across the country with RADSpa to make remote radiology reporting services accessible 365/24/7 in Tier 2 markets.

Source: 24x7Mag

21 Nov 2016
RIS

What do you look for in a RIS/PACS for a Tele-radiology application

Let’s face it. Today a PACS is a commodity …has been for quite a while.
Most PACS and for that matter RIS on the market can do most everything………..at least that is what the brochures claim!

For a Tele-radiology application, these are some of the important requirements

  • What are the workflow features it supports?
  •  How easy is it for a Radiologist to set up a practice for himself or herself?
  •  How many reports can the Radiologist dictate in a day?
  •  What is the cost of ownership?

Let’s take the last one first!

Today, reducing reimbursements from insurance companies, increasing competition across the globe, and the need to provide quality care in spite of all the above – are forcing owners of imaging centers to question the cost of ownership.

This is where the cloud-based solution brings value to the table. With a cloud-based solution, the vendor is responsible for the high end redundant servers housed in class III or similar data center, disaster management solutions, archiving studies and reports for 7 years or more. This solution provides a very low or practically nil cost of ownership.

The Radiologist or the owner can focus on building the business, signing up new hospitals, and bringing the bacon home! The cloud based solution gives him a lot more flexibility and freedom to go after new prospects even if they are not in the same state or even the same country.

The number of reports a Radiologist can generate in a day translates to profits. The system must be simple to use and the reporting engine and viewer must allow him to dictate as quickly as possible. Interface with a Voice recognition system, easy content (text and audio) exchange between the Radiologist and transcriptionist, peer review with ABR codes, QA, real time collaboration between different stakeholders are some of the features to look for in a system. The Radiologist must be the last link in the chain and studies/images must reach him only when they are complete in all respects, thereby saving his valuable time. Some systems have the reconciliation feature that handles this part of the assignment. The system must support all DICOM modalities which can be added any time later with ease and also support non DICOM for use with legacy modalities.

The system must be simple to use and more importantly easy to install. The Radiologist must be able to start his business or add a new hospital within hours thereby generating confidence in his business. If the hospital or clinic that is sending studies provides a VPN -then the issue of encrypting, security, and safe transmission are taken care of and there is no need for any hardware purchase by the Radiologist. If not, a simple PC that can house the DICOM router software and route the studies fast and efficiently to the central server, is sufficient. The system must also be universal such that it should not need any proprietary hardware for viewing and should be able to log in from any browser. Viewing and distributing images on a mobile device is becoming ubiquitous today and helps the Radiologist to take instant decisions from an airport or a coffee shop!

Last but not least the workflow features are very important. It is indeed an irony that when you mention workflow, most people have the “deer caught in the headlights look”. The workflow is the most important factor which contributes to the productivity and thereby to the bottom line of the enterprise. Some systems provide a “soup to nuts” solution for the workflow from capture to archive while some provide certain modules. Here it is important to get a standard off-the-shelf software that can be customized -rather than develop one from scratch and make it proprietary, finding it difficult to change in the future. The workflow defines many conditions that improve overall efficiency.

For example:

  • Assignment of studies to a Radiologist depending upon various conditions
  • Workflow parameters like TAT, number of reads, work load, QA score for Radiologist
  • Auto assignment or through manual intervention by an Administrator
  • Monitoring TAT (Turn Around Time) and reassigning studies if TAT is not met
  • Collaboration between various stakeholders through work-list
  • Customizable work-list which enables the user to see what they want to see and hide the extraneous information.
  • Monitoring QA, reconciliation, Peer review to help improve the quality of care to the patient
  • Integration with existing front end or back end solutions using HL7 or web links
  • Accessing PRIORS and showing patient demographics to the Radiologist while reporting to enable faster and more accurate reporting
  • Enabling the patient to get hold of the report and studies through a secure patient portal.
  • Use of mobile devices and maybe a QR code to make it easy for the patient to receive the information.

These are just some of the important workflow features to look for. It is best to ask the vendor what they provide – to help you improve the productivity of the Tele-radiology center. An important characteristic the software should provide is the flexibility to customize the features to get the best bang for your buck.

Many vendors who are in this business should be getting constant feedback from their valued users and keep improving their product.

Make sure they provide 24x7x365 support otherwise all the above is not as attractive as it sounds!

19 Nov 2015
Benefits of Teleradiology

Benefits of Teleradiology

Telemedicine is the application of information technology and telecommunications networks for the purpose of medical diagnosis and therapy from remote locations. A host of recent technology innovations have made it possible for telemedicine to expand its reach across every medical speciality– its usage in radiology is called “Teleradiology.”

Radiology incorporates the diverse methods used in medical science to capture images of the internal body structure and function (eg. x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds), to assist in the process of medical diagnosis or treatment.
Teleradiology is the capability to acquire these medical images in one location and facilitate their transmission over a range so that they can be viewed and interpreted for diagnostic or consultative purposes by a radiologist.

This practice is becoming widely adopted by hospitals, urgent care clinics, and diagnostic imaging centers. The factor responsible for its rapidly growing implementation is due to the fact that it addresses the inadequacy of appropriately skilled personnel to provide radiological analysis and the lack of practitioners of this specialty.

The process of teleradiology, in essence, is based on a fundamental triad; an image sending station, a transmission network, and a image retrieval station that should have a high-quality display screen. Additional more recent technology innovations include the incorporation of cloud for redundancy and cost reduction, mobile technologies for greater access and sophisticated teleradiology workflow that enhances radiologist productivity, provide performance metrics and track quality. .

Teleradiology improves client care by enabling radiologists to supply their expertise without necessarily being at the same location as the patient. This is especially essential when radiologist subspecialists (e.g. MRI radiologists, pediatric radiologists, neuro-radiologists) are required, because these specialists are few in number and typically located in metropolitan cities. Teleradiology therefore enhances the quality of radiology reporting by bringing the images of a patient in a small town to the most specialized radiologist who is best qualified to interpret the particular radiologic scan..

On the other hand, smaller sized healthcare facilities in rural areas might use only one radiologist or none at all. In such situations, it is virtually impossible for the radiologist to be available 24 x7 x 365. Having the support of a teleradiology reporting service can both improve the quality of life of the solo radiologist as well as improve the quality of care that might be potentially diminished by radiologist overwork..

Teleradiology can be a means through which physicians can collaborate when they are not in direct contact. For example an emergency doctor at a rural urgent care center can gain obtain a radiology consultation from a specialist urban radiologist and discuss the case telephonically while simultaneously viewing his or her patient’s images. (e.g. they are in remote places). This can be extremely valuable from the perspective of enhancing patient care and improving outcomes.

Using the services of outsourcing companies or radiology groups to supply and maintain the needed radiology coverage, smaller medical facilities are able to make better usage of their own on-site specialists and enable them to maintain their regular working hours.

This can likewise be economical for the medical facility as the outsourcing institution need only spend based on utilization, and is spared the significant fixed cost of having a radiologist on site at a small institution where they may not be fully utilized . The arrangement of these expert services to manage inpatients at small hospitals without experts on site has been revealed to be a reliable way of providing high quality care that would otherwise be unavailable.

In summary, the benefits of teleradiology are related to affording access to specialist radiologist expertise where or when none exists, to the appropriate utilization of radiologist time and energy, and to the overall enhancement of patient care, while at the same time reducing healthcare costs!

The technologies today are mature and evolved, and the outsourced model wherein images are routed to a teleradiology reporting service is an established and tested one which affords significant value, especially to small rural and community hospitals. Startup costs, as well as running costs, are reasonable and affordable and the process is smooth and streamlined.

Sounds like a pretty compelling value proposition? Try it and find out for yourself!!.