A PACS-driven workflow has proven to be beneficial in offering teleradiology services, while still allowing referrers to use the HIS/RIS they prefer.
The story of Innovative Radiology is a common one experienced in the diagnostic imaging sector. The organization was experiencing an increasingly busy workload serving over 40 Houston-based hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, and imaging centers, which totaled about 300,000 procedures per year.
For about 10 years, Innovative Radiology was linked electronically to referring physicians through a single RIS to create multiple registration centers. Physicians had to manually register patients in the RIS and workflow was guided by it since the images and patient information went right to the radiologist. This was arduous and required an immense amount of coordination and system integration. On a given day, thousands of images would be sent to the organization from dozens of different systems. Since reporting was not integrated, the radiologists would have to log on to the RIS, select the study, then log on to the PACS to read the cases.
It was the adoption of Meaningful Use that forced Innovative Radiology to move away from its RIS and look for a PACS-driven system. By accomplishing this, the organization now has options—a referrer can still communicate with Innovative Radiology with its HIS/RIS, but it is no longer mandatory.
An on-site or cloud-based teleradiology system can connect radiologists to reports, images, and patient history to provide efficient and effective care.
To implement the PACS-driven teleradiology system and services, Innovative Radiology needed to partner with Carestream to go through a three-phase transition process, which is outlined in the eBook, “Increased Capabilities: Do More with Vue for Teleradiology”:
Transition Phase #1: Innovative Radiology’s use of teleradiology began August 4, 2013. Phase 1 lasted two weeks during which two radiologists at Innovative Radiology were connected with two low-volume sites. About 40 studies from up to seven referring physicians were read daily. All involved digital radiography (DR). Report request order entries were created at Houston Medical Imaging (HMI) using Carestream’s Vue Motion. Report distribution was by fax. There was no email distribution and neither billing nor interface with the Houston healthcare information exchange (HIE) was possible.
Transition Phase #2: Continuing for two weeks, there was a leap forward in both study volume and sophistication. About 25 studies, including DR, PET, CT and ultrasound, were interpreted daily by three radiologists at Innovative Radiology. Studies were referred by 16 physicians from a single site, Oncology Consultants. Report request order entries using Vue Motion were created at the client site. Emails notified referring physicians that results were available via fax and Vue Motion. Billing and HIE HL7 interfaces were established.
Transition Phase #3: During this phase, the network was expanded to include about 30 client sites, including HMI and other large imaging centers. Within one week, 14 radiologists at Innovative Radiology were filing between 300 and 400 DR, PET, CT, ultrasound, MRI and nuclear medicine reports. Any of up to 2,000 physicians were referring studies for interpretation.
Today, Innovative Radiology uses a teleradiology solution that allows for an increase in study volume, workflow, and overall productivity. In early 2014, more than 40 sites were connected to Innovative Radiology via the teleradiology offering from Carestream.
For more information about Innovative Radiology’s story, and Carestream’s Vue for Teleradiology service, you can download this eBook, “Increased Capabilities: Do More with Vue for Teleradiology.”
What do you think about teleradiology? How is it improving care for the patients while also benefiting the providers that offer it? Did you experience roadblocks when implementing a teleradiology service? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
Kiran Krishnamurthy is the Worldwide Product Line Manager for Carestream’s HCIS business.