How to Improve Your Radiological Workflow Process

workflow process

A well-developed and implemented workflow process is essential to your radiology department’s success. You must continuously evaluate your current state of workflow and identify areas of improvement.

However, the complexities in radiology activities and the numerous variables involved mean that it is challenging to make improvements. The resulting inefficiencies impact operating rooms, emergency departments, and other forms of care. These inefficiencies often result in delayed delivery of results, slowed treatment, and low-quality patient care.

Therefore, an efficient radiology workflow process in your radiology department is key to the success of your health facility. But what radiology department challenges can be streamlined to improve your workflow processes?

Unbalanced Workloads

Balancing staffing and a department’s capacity to meet patient needs can be challenging. While involving staff in the process reduces complexities, it’s not usually a straightforward activity. Introducing suitable solutions can enhance a department’s ability to balance workloads through dynamic and automatic assignments and preset rule-based prioritization.

Disparate Systems

Most radiology picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) are interfaced with electronic health records (EHRs). But if that interoperability is lacking—due to having an inferior PACS, for instance—radiology practices can experience challenges. This affects the effective operation of the department.

Healthcare facilities that want to improve their workflow process, achieve operational KPIs, and have meaningful use requirements must invest in technologies that link PACS with EHRs and different Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine systems (DICOMs).

Increased Demands on Radiologists’ Time

Radiologists are experiencing increased pressure in balancing volume and quicker response times to reduce morbidity. Additionally, they require a greater alert level to identify the most time-sensitive critical cases.

Hospitals can adopt effective business intelligence and analytics tools to manage and use their clinical expertise more effectively. Selected technologies need to improve overall communication and standardize reporting protocols. The payoff will be optimized workflow and improved patient care.

Rising Medical Exam Volumes

The increased demand for diagnostic imaging presents a challenge to workflow processes. With constrained budgets, meeting a predetermined service-level agreement is becoming increasingly challenging. Therefore, getting the right exam to the right radiologist at the right time is a crucial goal to be met. With a good solution in place, administrators can create rules to enable studies to be automatically routed based on set criteria. This technology can result in increased capacity and productivity and cut waiting times.

Multiple and Unique Workflows

Radiology departments often have to deal with various workflows that run simultaneously with multiple modalities. This introduces bottlenecks in the processes of registration and checking in, affecting the department’s workflow. But with effective process management solutions, radiology departments can eliminate communication siloes caused by different modalities. This can improve an entire organization’s workflow, enabling departments to work toward similar goals.

Four Strategies to Improve Your Radiology Workflow Process

1. Manage Patient Caseload with Innovative Scheduling Technology

Adopting a solution like Nova RIS that has integrated management reporting enables a department to manage its patient caseload, improving its workflow process.

By permitting self-scheduling, the solution ensures that patients can request medical imaging services on dates and at times that are most suitable for them. This feature also benefits clinicians because they can predetermine what capacity is needed on different dates and times. Imbalanced workloads adversely affect radiology workflow, so investing in the solution can attract key benefits.

Configurable appointment reminders supported by this industry-leading solution can also improve a radiology department’s workflow process. Ensuring that patients have the right information before their appointments minimizes delays and no-shows.

2. Increase Interoperability with Solutions Supporting Multiple PACS

Working with multiple and disparate PACS can affect your radiology department’s workflow process. Clinicians may experience challenges registering and checking in to access vital patient records.

However, investing in a solution that can receive DICOM images from different PACS or modalities can improve your workflow. With CryptoChart, your radiology department can improve its workflow process by enhancing interoperability with different PACS or modalities. This eliminates bottlenecks that can increase inefficiencies at points of care, further improving treatment outcomes by having access to a complete medical workup from multiple locations.

Investing in “2020’s Best New Radiology Solution" also enables your radiology departments to access Novarad’s Object Vault cloud system. With this, your department can store patient records in the cloud and ensure easy access via an encrypted and shareable QR code. Ultimately, this feature improves your practice’s workflow process with an efficient method to access and share medical records.

3. Increase Physician Productivity with Real-Time Alert Mechanisms

Lack of clarity about scheduled procedures, STAT studies, and insurance pre-authorization may introduce complexities in your department’s workflow process. Radiologists may have to call different departments or referring physicians to seek clarity. Such distractions compete for your staff’s time during life-saving clinical procedures. It adversely affects the quality of care offered at your facility.

Therefore, investing in a leading radiology solution that incorporates a real-time alert mechanism that notifies relevant departments of contradictions, issues with insurance pre-authorization and STAT studies, and unscheduled procedures is of great benefit. Reducing demands on your radiologists’ time increases their concentration on clinical work, improving the department’s radiology process.

Ultimately, an efficient radiology process improves productivity while reducing risk, which contributes to better diagnosing at your facility.

4. Manage Rising Exam Volumes with Customizable PACS

Working with a scalable and highly customizable solution can help improve your radiology workflow processes. Thanks to customizable workflows, you can unlock the benefits of unique PACS.

For example, investing in a radiology solution like Novarad’s NovaPACS enables your radiology practice or department to have more options when it comes to automated processes, customizable workflows, advanced routing, reading assignment and tracking, report distribution, and advanced imaging tools.

Due to the increased access to customized worklists and workflows and patient information, your radiology practice can benefit from seamless radiology processes and workflow. These can also improve how you handle rising medical examination volumes.

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!