Improving Patient Care and Satisfaction in Radiology

improving patient satisfaction in radiology

Quality Improvement toward Better Performance and Patient Care and Improved Patient Satisfaction in Radiology

Quality improvement broadly refers to (a) quality assurance programs meant for sustained quality improvement; (b) processes meant to improve the clinical, diagnostic, and technical performance among all staff; and (c) processes meant to improve patient and staff safety.

In radiology, quality improvement focuses on improving processes and the performances of therapeutic and diagnostic procedures, the quality and safety of staff and patients, and the effective management of imaging services. Based on that definition, as a chief radiologist, you can draw numerous benefits from focusing on quality improvement. This helps heads of radiology clinics/departments adopt strategies meant to optimize efficiency and eliminate wastage of resources. This translates to improved access times and report completion times and reduced waiting times, promoting better performances and driving up patient satisfaction.

While quality improvement may seem straightforward, numerous challenges may derail the process, leading to reduced patient satisfaction in radiology practices.

Challenges That May Hinder Quality Improvement in Your Radiology Facility

Establishing appropriate data collection and monitoring systems

In radiology, data collection and monitoring are integral to your quality improvement efforts. Notably, data helps in assessing the scale of a quality improvement problem and helps assess changes in response to your interventions.

However, data collection, feedback, and monitoring systems to identify trends may be considerably hard to get right. They are often complex to understand and poorly designed and implemented. Local teams may lack the skills and experience in collecting and interpreting quality improvement data in the administration and clinical space. These challenges risk alienating your radiology team, rather than engaging them to achieve quality improvement goals.

In time, the resulting confusion about quality improvement can derail such efforts, adversely affecting your facility’s performance and patient satisfaction levels.

Your organizational culture, context, and capacity

Sometimes, radiology clinics and departments have adverse cultures and lack organizational capacity. Trying to introduce quality improvement measures can lead to emotional exhaustion and reduced support. The resulting variations in leadership approaches and staff morale may lead to significant variations in quality improvement efforts.

Varying organizational culture, context, and capacity may affect your radiology department’s or standalone radiology clinic’s quality improvement outcomes, but you can overcome this challenge. You can boost staff support and morale by fostering an organizational culture that supports personal and professional development and is committed to continuous quality improvement with incremental change and involving staff contributions as part of the solution. This may help your facility improve its performance and offer improved patient care, boosting patient satisfaction.

Unintended quality and technology improvement consequences

While it has been assumed that quality and technology improvement initiatives lead to harm-free radiology practices, studies have shown that such initiatives can lead to unintended consequences. Top among these is increased adoption of stringent human oversight guidelines and regular audits of deployed quality improvement solutions, particularly those that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI). This may sour relationships with clinicians, affecting your facility’s performance and patient care. Ultimately, this may translate to declining patient satisfaction in your radiology business.

How Can Chief Radiologists Achieve Quality Improvements, Improving Performance and Patient Satisfaction in Radiology?

Here are a few strategies that you can adapt to improve your facility’s performance and increase patient satisfaction.

Reduce wait times to optimize patient experiences and outcomes

Waiting time is a measurable metric of a facility’s performance efficiency. Cutting wait times can be a big step toward improving patient satisfaction in radiology businesses.

With the help of novel radiology technologies, you can initiate several quality improvement measures, reducing wait times, enhancing your facility’s performance, and improving patient satisfaction in your radiology business. Notably, radiology solutions can help initiate and monitor quality improvement initiatives, touching on areas like collaboration, communication, workload management, and analysis. With these technologies, radiology practices can either eliminate or automate time-wasting clinical processes, helping boost performance and improving patient satisfaction in radiology clinics or departments.

For instance, employing Nova RIS’s scheduling and operation management features can help collect and monitor data on a radiology business’s health, patient caseloads, radiology procedures, and physician trends. This helps create efficient quality improvement strategies, helping your facility improve its performance. Also, the real-time monitoring of a radiology practice’s quality improvement metrics can help identify unintended consequences and various bottlenecks in your facility. With the timely identification of quality improvement challenges, chief radiologists can adjust their approaches accordingly, improving patient satisfaction in radiology practices.

Furthermore, long wait times result from delays in finalizing patient reports. In a radiology facility that’s adversely affected by long report finalization times, clients have to wait longer to receive their radiologic tests. Without proper communication of wait times, such delays can upset your patients, affecting overall satisfaction.

To overcome delays, quality improvement measures should integrate technologies that support voice recognition capabilities. With such a solution, your practitioners can shorten the time needed to finalize patient reports. This will help boost performance and improve satisfaction in your radiology business.

Eliminate preventable harm with improved safety and compliance

In today’s radiology practices, quality improvement measures that lead to better performance, improved patient care, and satisfaction can’t be complete without improving safety and compliance. To elaborate, implementing quality improvement measures that target safety and compliance helps your facility eliminate preventable harm.

Introducing quality improvement measures plays a significant role in monitoring radiology doses and tracking the cumulative ionizing dose exposure. Since inaccurate doses and overexposure may cause preventable harm, adopting relevant quality improvement strategies can help eliminate the risk of that harm with alerts that warn that a patient is near the maximum permissible dose. As a result, clients won’t need additional treatment for unintended radiologic effects. This saves time for your facility and improves patient satisfaction in your radiology services.

Also, adopting technologies that help boost safety and compliance can go a long way toward eliminating preventable harm and penalties associated with key regulations. (Some regulations that may lead to penalization of your facility, financially or operationally, include HIPAA, FDA, IHE, etc.). Regarding technology, integrating a solution like NovaDose into your quality improvement strategies can help your facility monitor radiation dose exposure, ensuring compliance, reducing risks of preventable harm, and improving patient care. Over time, the improvements will boost patient satisfaction in your radiology business.

Here at Novarad, we believe that the key to a successful imaging center is to work smarter, not harder, to deliver the type of care and outcomes that patients desire.

To see how we can help improve your workflows, feel free to reach out to our workflow specialists today!