4 ways radiology can improve the patient experience
What was simply an annoyance for patients before the pandemic – like waiting in a crowded waiting room before an imaging procedure – could now cause outright anxiety. Patients’ definitions of what makes them “vulnerable” have changed, and they expect clinicians to help reduce these times of medical vulnerability.
Paul Shumway. Image courtesy of Novarad.
Getting the right answers quickly – and communicating those answers quickly to the patient and the healthcare team – is important. Patients are no longer willing to feel vulnerable for days and weeks while they wait for scans to guide diagnostic and treatment decisions. They expect the same speed they get from the wealth of information now available online.
To meet this expectation, radiologists need to think about how they can speed up diagnoses and treatment decisions by making images and reports more easily and securely accessible through electronic health records (EHRs) or messages. text on mobile devices.
Given the pressure to increase satisfaction and quality scores, hospitals and imaging centers need to be mindful of these patient perceptions. They should think long term about how to create a more comfortable patient experience.
Many patients arrive at a radiology department with injuries or illnesses that already make them fearful and vulnerable. Relieving additional fears requires open communication with patients and among all members of the interdisciplinary care team.
Workflows that allow radiologists to collaborate faster and easier with the rest of the healthcare team can be invisible to patients. Yet they certainly have an impact on the more visible aspects of patient care, such as wait times and turnaround times.
Technology can help align patients’ expectations with their experience, but it’s not always used with that goal in mind. So here are some obvious and unexpected ways for radiology teams to leverage technology to create a better patient experience:
- Collaborate with enterprise imagery.
Healthcare organizations that take an enterprise imaging approach can improve interdisciplinary collaboration in care. This is largely due to how corporate imagery facilitates information transparency and supports communication across the continuum of care and directly with the patient. One of the apparent benefits of enterprise imaging is the ability to generate faster, more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.
Unexpected benefits, however, include the power to use storyboards to better educate and explain patient care plans. Storyboards show images in the context of patient care to help answer the “why?” ” questions. Enterprise imaging systems can also help bring providers and patients closer together via moving images, making patients feel more involved in their care decisions.
- Use innovative patient-friendly technology applications.
Improving the patient experience doesn’t always have to come from a whole new technology. Familiar, user-friendly technologies like QR codes, for example, can make the entire imaging process more responsive in several unexpected ways.
Radiology departments can securely share images and reports from any DICOM image or visible light source directly with patients or other providers via QR codes. As a result, patients can take charge of their own imaging with more portable, secure and accessible technology than carrying CDs from doctor to doctor.
Indeed, patients may find that they have to do less themselves to get the care they need faster. Leaving their radiologist with their images stored on their mobile device is a simple and immediate solution for patients that prevents the perception “we will have to wait to find out” which has long plagued radiology.
It can also heighten the experience around the happy reasons for imaging exams, making it easier to share ultrasounds of an expected child, for example. For patients accustomed to doing everything from displaying restaurant menus to paying bills via QR codes, the technology itself aligns with everyday life.
Many other innovations also come from familiar technology, from applications that enable images to be generated securely using personal phones, to video game cards that enable advanced imaging functions to be quickly rendered on workstations. radiology work.
- Use machine learning / artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver better and faster procedures.
It’s time to forget that AI is replacing radiologists and instead look at its potential to help providers and patients alike. Radiologists should start thinking not about the advantages of humans over machines, but of the advantages of humans. with machine.
Among their most obvious benefits, machine learning / AI can help improve the patient experience by speeding up more accurate imaging and interpretation. Consider, however, a few additional benefits. With improved speed and accuracy through human-machine collaboration, patients can experience shorter wait times between exam and treatment. In addition, innovative advancements can create new opportunities for less invasive and less time consuming imaging procedures.
- Align around the patient experience.
Patients expect to easily schedule scans, receive images on their mobile devices, and communicate necessary imaging information to their healthcare team – all to get an accurate diagnosis quickly. Listening to patient concerns at every stage of the care journey, along with reducing wait times and imaging times, can dramatically reduce patient vulnerability and improve patient satisfaction.
It is an indisputable fact that hospitals and imaging centers need to deliver a better patient care experience while keeping costs under control. Fortunately, these demands are not contradictory and can be facilitated by technology-driven radiology workflows that improve the speed and accuracy of information and communication. There are many unexpected ways that technology can align patients’ expectations with their imaging experiences.
Paul Shumway is Vice President of Client Services at Novarad, an enterprise imaging provider.
Comments and observations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AuntMinnie.com.
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