Diagnostic Reading #5: Five Must-Read Articles From the Past Week

This week’s articles focus on: automated email messaging to engage patients in their own care; five healthcare trends to watch in 2016; why the IT transformation is creating a growing need for CIOs; adding an annual pledge for healthcare facilities that participate in the Image Wisely program; and the move to spend more healthcare IT dollars on analytics, patient engagement, customer relationship management and cybersecurity.

A healthcare startup made a wild pitch to Cara Waller, CEO of the Newport Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach. The company said it could get patients more engaged by “automating” physician empathy and told Waller Diagnostic Reading, Patient Engagementits messaging technology would improve their satisfaction and help keep them out of the hospital. High satisfaction scores and low readmission rates mean higher reimbursements from Medicare, so Waller was intrigued. So far, she’s been surprised at patients’ enthusiasm for the personalized—but automated—daily emails they receive from their doctor. Continue reading

Diagnostic Reading #4: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

Our Diagnostic Reading Top Picks

This week’s articles describe the high priority radiologists Diagnostic Reading #5 - Radiology and Health IT Articlesplace integrating PACS with an EHR, expected growth for the global ultrasound market, patients’ desire for personalized treatment, Radiology Today’s top picks for areas within the imaging space that promise the greatest innovations and a study that indicates mentally demanding activities may play an important role in maintaining a healthy brain.

With such a wide variety of PACS and electronic health records (EHRs) in the marketplace, decision-makers at hospitals and private practices have a lot to consider when purchasing new equipment. If they want to keep their radiologists happy, they may want to make sure the PACS can be properly integrated with the EHR. According to a recent study published by the Journal of the American College of Radiology, an integrated EHR is a bigger priority to radiologists than having access to the most advanced clinical features.

The global ultrasound marke Continue reading

Diagnostic Reading #2: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

This week’s diagnostic reading articles describe the need to deploy Healthcare Vue for Radiology enterprise image viewers, growing adoption of telemedicine tools by healthcare providers, changes expected in data security, cloud and mobile technologies, why radiologists need to lead change and how patient-centric care can result in shorter perceived wait times and greater satisfaction.

Providers have more work to do to expand enterprise image viewing, which gives clinicians the ability to quickly view patient images without limitations on where they can view them, according to the results of a new HIMSS Analytics survey. The survey of 144 hospital, health system and ambulatory PACS/radiology leaders, follows a similar study conducted by HIMSS Analytics in late 2014 to gauge trends in provider adoption of enterprise image viewing. Less than half of respondents indicated that they use an enterprise image viewer to meet their diagnostic imaging needs.

Telemedicine tools like smartphones, two-way video, email, and wearable technology are becoming increasingly common in many healthcare settings. In 2014, HIMSS led a study that found that 46 percent of more than 400 hospitals and medical practices said they used at least one type of telemedicine. Additionally, the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM) found that 33 percent of U.S. healthcare practitioners offered healthcare services via telephone, video, or webcam visits, and another 29 percent planned to do so in the next few years.

Several industry analysts have forecast that 2016 will be the ‘year of action’ on many technology fronts, as several recent trends become commonplace strategies. Cloud computing, data security and mobile are tops among them. This article contains six predictions for what we can expect in 2016 on the mobile technology and cloud computing fronts.

Frank Lexa, MD, MBA, radiology residency director for Drexel University College of Medicine, calls upon radiologists to lead change “because if you let someone make changes who doesn’t understand what we do, it will be damaging to our industry and to your patients.” He advises radiologists to pick one project in one location, and demonstrate its value before spreading any alterations elsewhere.

Focusing on a patient’s satisfaction can lead to shorter perceived wait times and higher patient satisfaction, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Anna Holbrook, MD, Emory University School of Medicine, and colleagues studied questionnaires completed by 147 MR outpatients who had received care from a radiology department in which “patient experience” was a stated strategic priority. The authors found patients often believed the wait time was almost half what it actually was and were satisfied with the experience.

Diagnostic Reading #35: Five Must-Read Articles from the Past Week

Carestream LogoA new week and a new issue of Diagnostic Reading. This week the articles focus on the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), another controversial study about breast screening, using SPECT to identify traumatic brain injuries, a new American College of Radiology commission on patient experience, and the U.S. Congress’s telehealth push.

1) Radiology Averts Cuts in Proposed 2016 MPFS – AuntMinnie

Radiology received no payment increases or decreases in the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) released on July 8 by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Other subspecialties will see payments increase, but some will see decreases. As of January 1, radiation oncology and radiation therapy payments will be slashed by 3% and 9%, respectively.

2) New Study Again Questions Screening Mammography – AuntMinnie

A new research study published online July 6 in JAMA Internal Medicine is again questioning the effectiveness of widespread breast screening. Mammography screening of the general U.S. population mostly just produces overdiagnosis, with no measurable effect on mortality. Welch and colleagues found that rising rates of screening produced more breast cancer diagnoses, particularly of smaller cancers, but death rates from breast cancer remained the same. The findings indicate that widespread breast screening is ineffective and should be replaced by a program in which screening is more directed to individuals who are at high risk of breast cancer, according to the authors (JAMA IM, July 6, 2015).

3) New ACR Commission on Patient Experience to Advance Patient Centered Radiology – American College of Radiology

The new commission will develop recommendations on how radiology practices can enhance the experiences of patients and their families; provide information regarding how best to measure radiology patient outcomes; work with other ACR commissions to develop tools, metrics and policy that help members meet Merit-based Incentives Payment System and alternative payment model requirements; and, work closely with the RSNA Radiology Cares Campaign.

4) Congress Makes a Big Telehealth Push – Healthcare IT News

A bill was introduced in Congress that, if passed, would mean important advancements for telehealth in the U.S. The bill would add physical therapists, speech language pathologists, audiologists and others to the list of providers eligible to administer telehealth services, as well as include the patient’s home as an allowable care site for specific hospice and home health services.

Diagnostic Reading #33: Five Must-Read Articles from the Past Week

Carestream LogoIt is time for another issue of Diagnostic Reading. This week we focus on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, quality in radiology, patient and radiologist interactions, new Joint Commission rules, and Medicare’s slow adoption of telemedicine.

1) Supreme Court Upholds Subsidies in 6-3 Vote – Healthcare IT News

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday voted 6-3 against the plaintiffs in the case of King v. Burwell. The ruling means more than 6 million residents in the 34 states with federal insurance exchanges can keep their tax subsidies for health coverage.”

2) What Exactly is Quality in Radiology? – AuntMinnie

According to a talk at the recent International Symposium on Multidetector-Row CT (MDCT) in San Francisco, it is import for radiologists to think about what the word “quality” actually means in the context of radiology, and it is imperative that radiologists work to define it. The talk discussed how one of the key factors to creating a culture of quality and safety is making sure that staff members can speak freely when they’re worried about a protocol or a patient care situation.

3) Do Patients Really Value Interaction with Radiologists? – AuntMinnie

Dr. Sam Friedman provides his personal opinion on how he thinks that ACOs and the other “risk” programs are simply clever ways to separate physicians from their pay. He points to the June 2015 issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, where Cabarrus et al presented the results of a patient survey that found that patients preferred to hear the results of imaging exams from the physician who ordered them.

4) Are Imaging Sites Ready for New Joint Commission Rules? – AuntMinnie

“On July 1, a new era of intense scrutiny and documentation will arrive for CT and other imaging modalities, thanks to new Joint Commission accreditation requirements that become effective on that date. Unfortunately, most radiology departments aren’t remotely ready to fulfill the requirements.”

5) Medicare Slow to Adopt Telemedicine Due to Cost Concerns – Healthcare IT News

“Anthem and a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health plan in western Pennsylvania are the only two Medicare Advantage insurers offering the virtual visits, and the traditional Medicare program has tightly limited telemedicine payments to certain rural areas. And even there, the beneficiary must already be at a clinic, a rule that often defeats the goal of making care more convenient. Congress has maintained such restrictions out of concern that the service might increase Medicare expenses. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts have said giving seniors access to doctors online will encourage them to use more services, not replace costly visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers.”

Diagnostic Reading #29: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another Diagnostic Reading! This week’s articles focus on the expanding purposes of VNAs, a study from the Annals of Internal Medicine about breast cancer risk factors, an article about the ICD-10 grace period and updates about presentations from ACR 2015.Carestream Logo

1) Time to Retire the term “VNA”? – Healthcare Informatics

This article addresses the acronym, VNA, and its definition: Vendor Neutral Archive. The growth of health IT products has also expanded their responsibilities. The author claims that a VNA is neither ‘vendor neutral’ nor an ‘archive.’ He goes on to explain, saying that these applications manage data rather than simply archive it.

2) Study: There’s More to Breast Cancer Risk than Density – Aunt Minnie

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine noted that breast density is not the only factor that should be considered when determining which women should receive supplemental breast screening in addition to mammography. The researchers looked at a variety of factors including age and a consortium of risk factors. The authors writes, “Density information combined with breast cancer risk could be used to prioritize women who could benefit from breast imaging tests with better specificity than digital mammography, such as tomosynthesis.”

3) Number of Female Radiologists, Field Leaders Remains Low – Diagnostic Imaging

According to a presentation this week at ACR 2015, the number of women in radiology has not grown in the last 10 years. This research was done to see if the raised awareness of gender disparity has caused any change in gender representation in radiology. They found that women have consistently made up about 27% of the radiology field since 2004.

4) Newly Introduced Bill Looks to Establish ICD-10 Grace Period – Health Imaging

The US House is moving forward with the ICD-10 bill. The upgrade will take place on October 1. However, some healthcare executives and politicians were concerned that transition to the new coding from ICD-9 would cause confusion. For this reason, a bill was passed that says nobody can be denied Medicare reimbursement solely for using inaccurate codes during the first 18 months of implementation.

5) Medicare Imaging Spending is Down, with Some Variation by State – Radiology Business

At ACR 2015, presenters shared their findings on the trends of Medicare spending when it comes to imaging. They found that overall, national Medicare expenditures for imaging have fallen since 2006. They attribute this to factors based on education about radiation dose and the recession as well as policies instituted by the government. Some states did not follow these trends, read more to find out why.



Diagnostic Reading #27: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

Carestream LogoIt’s almost time for the weekend, but first make sure you catch up on some of this week’s most important articles. The topics include big data and customized healthcare, data security, advice from a recognized health system for reducing readmissions, a possible halt in ICD-10 implementation, and radiology’s role in precision medicine. Enjoy!

1) How Big Data Will Customize Our Health Care– Wall Street Journal

This article discusses the growth in data use in healthcare. The author says that though health systems have been adopting technologies that can collect, consolidate and share data about patients, they haven’t fully learned what to do next. Furthermore, he notes that electronic health systems will collect data, but there may be challenges when it comes to figuring out how to use it.

2) Healthcare Security: Adapt or Die– Healthcare IT News

In this article, the author talks about the growing concern for data security in healthcare. Medical records sell for nearly three times as much on the black market as credit card information. In 2013, 40 million people had personal information stolen. Having said this, the article goes on to discuss new security priorities. Disgruntled employees and hackers pose a security threat, if health systems do not adapt, they could be at risk for data breaches.

3) No One-Size-Fits-All Strategy for Readmission Reduction– FierceHealth

Ascension Health, the nation’s largest non-profit health system, has been working to reduce readmissions by individualizing care to specific patients. The organization seeks to meet the needs of an individual before they need hospitalization. The system promotes education and looks at factors that each person may face such as socioeconomic status, family support and community resources.

4) House Bill Proposes Halt to ICD-10 Implementation– Healthcare Informatics

With the ICD-10 deadline for implementation coming in October, a new bill has been introduced. If passed, this bill would prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from replacing ICD-10 with ICD-9. The dispute comes due to issues with the new coding in the bill. The bill has not yet made it to the House floor for a vote.

5) Radiology’s Role in Precision Medicine– Diagnostic Imaging

Government initiatives have emphasized precision medicine. Precision medicine can lead to more effective treatment of patients. This article discusses how radiology can be used to phenotype by following tracers to determine the presence of cancer cells after chemotherapy. With medicine shifting from a one-size-fits-all model, using imaging to personalize medicine can be used to diagnose and prevent in different ways.

Diagnostic Reading #26: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

Carestream LogoIt’s Friday, it’s almost the weekend, and that means it’s also time for a new Diagnostic Reading. This week’s articles include an article about technology and connectivity written by a Carestream’s director of IT, more questions about the USPSTF breast screening recommendations, tips to improve healthcare quality, the new CMS quality-based standards and how patient portals might cause disparities.

1) Is Technology Still the Main Road to the CustomerCIO Review

The growth of new media has been obvious in recent history. David G. Sherburne, Director of IT for Carestream, provides his insight on the growth of media when it comes to “C-Level executives.” Sherburne makes the initial observation that technology has created connectivity and ease of access across several levels. He notes that for this reason, he states that executives should abandon the old-fashioned silo system and work more closely with their “C-Level” peers.

2) Should women over 75 be screened for breast cancer?AuntMinnie

Many questions have been raised about the recent update by the USPSTF concerning recommendations for breast imaging. One of the disputed topics is about the recommendation for women over 75 years-old. This article explores the importance of continuing breast screening when women are older, highlighting how other organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology have recommended that women should have annual screenings starting at age 40, and as long as they are in good health.

3) 15 ‘Vital Signs’ to Improve HealthcareFierce Healthcare

Quality healthcare is a point of emphasis at just about any facility. This article lists 15 metrics, as determined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that can affect the overall health of Americans and lead to better health care provision. These factors include patient safety, care access, community health, addictive behavior, preventative services, etc.

4) CMS Releases Strategic Vision for Physician Quality Reporting Programs – Healthcare Informatics

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released standards for quality care reporting programs. This initiative moves the payment system away from the fee-for-service model and begins the shift toward reward incentives for providing quality care. Quality reporting and patient feedback are emphasized by the new plan.

5) Study: Patient Portals Could Widen Health Disparities – Healthcare Informatics

A recent study at Northwestern Medical has found that patient portals might widen disparities by race, education and health literacy. The study concluded that people who are not health literate are 3.5 times less likely to register for patient portals than their counterparts.




Diagnostic Reading #25: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

Carestream LogoIt’s Friday, which means it is time for a new edition of Diagnostic Reading. This week’s articles include a study on radiology and patient care, the benefit of clinical decision support, breast cancer screening recommendations, the importance of telemedicine and an update about the future of Medicare without SGR.

1) ARRS: Patient Consults Improve Care, Raise Radiology Profile – AuntMinnie

A study presented at the annual American Roentgen Ray Society meeting in Toronto revealed that patients value the ability to meet with a radiologist to discuss diagnostic images. The study found that patients that met with a radiologist were likely to want to review exam results with a radiologist again. Furthermore, connecting with patients adds to the value of care provided by radiologists.

2) Clinical Decision Support can Cut Inappropriate Imaging – AuntMinnie

According to a report in Tuesday’s edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, clinical decision-support (CDS) can have a beneficial effect on imaging appropriateness. Hard-stop features could cut inappropriate imaging even more. These features disallow imaging procedures without the approval of another person, if the software considers the study to be inappropriate.

3) Speak Now About USPSTF Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations – Diagnostic Imaging

The United States Preventive Services Task Force has released recommendations for mammography. These recommendations discuss the issues of breast density and aging as some of the risk factors for breast cancer. USPSTF is asking for public comments on these recommendations until May 18, 2015.

4) Telemedicine a High 2015 Priority for Healthcare Executives – FierceHealthIT

A survey of 233 healthcare professionals conducted by REACH Health has indicated that telemedicine has taken a position of precedence among healthcare executives. About 60 percent of respondents considered telemedicine to be a high priority this year. These professionals see telemedicine as an important way to improve care. The author notes that patients are interested in telemedicine and aware of its benefits.

5) The SGR is history. Now what? – Health Imaging

With legislation to repeal SGR last week, it is time to look towards the future of healthcare. This article explains what the SGR repeal means and how it will affect healthcare legislation. The author discusses the importance of the new value-based healthcare model that will be put into place called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.



Diagnostic Reading #24: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

Carestream LogoIt’s finally Friday and that means it’s time for another Diagnostic Reading. This week’s articles include big news about the SGR repeal legislation, an update from HIMSS 2015 about patient engagement, information about reducing hospital readmissions, issues with modern American healthcare, and information on what to do if an ultrasound is necessary but there is no sonographer on duty. Enjoy!

1) Congress Passes SGR Repeal Legislation, Ushers in New Era in MD Value-Based Payment – Healthcare Informatics

The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula has been a topic of tension with physicians for quite some time. This week, Senate voted with an overwhelming majority to repeal SGR. The formula was set to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21% only three hours before the legislation passed. This legal action will encourage the pay-for-value model that healthcare leaders have emphasized as the most realistic way to distribute Medicare reimbursements.

2) HIMSS15: Patient Engagement among Top Priorities for Providers – FierceHealthIT

A survey of hospital IT executives conducted by HIMSS has found that 72% of respondents said patient engagement would make up a large part of their organizational strategy over the next couple of years. A hospital executive, Bill Feaster, from Children’s Hospital of Orange County, said, “We’re not going to improve the health of our population unless we get patients engaged in their own care.”

3) A Hybrid Approach to Avoiding Readmissions – Hospitals & Health Networks

Hospital readmissions are costly. A nurse practitioner and a social worker have teamed up in order to address the issue of hospital readmissions, particularly for senior citizens. This article discusses a different approach to reducing readmissions. The author says that in order for this hybrid system to work, it is important to keep up-to-date with elderly patients. Physicians can educate patients while they are in the hospital, and with the support of an electronic health record, they can make sure patients are educated and adhering to everyday medical needs.

4) Four Healthcare Issues the Government Must Tackle – Fierce Healthcare

Healthcare expert, Paul Keckley, PhD, gives advice on how the United States can catch some of the world leaders in providing quality healthcare while using a smaller percentage of GDP. Keckley’s ideas include adjusting the structure, incentives, employer-based insurance and developing a transparent pricing model.

5) Teleradiology Prompts Shift in Use of After-Hours Ultrasound – AuntMinnie

The use of ultrasound is growing in healthcare facilities around the world. Unlike other forms of medical imaging, ultrasound is dependent on operator techniques. Many facilities are using teleradiology in order for after hours CT or MRI images (6 p.m. – 8 a.m.). This means many facilities might share one radiologist. A study in France wanted to find whether or not ultrasound images could be taken using other modalities or postponed until a trained sonographer was on hand. The study found that most ultrasound requests can be postponed until working hours or replaced with a different mode of imaging.