6 Myths About Diagnostic Images in Value-Based Care
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What is the role of medical images and radiology in VBC?
Do diagnostic images play a role in supporting value-based care? Do radiologists have a part in improving patient outcomes? Of course they do! But to set the record straight for those who aren’t convinced, we’ve separated the facts from fiction.
Did we miss any myths? Do you have added proof points? Please leave them in the comments field below!
Myth 1: Radiology and diagnostic images play no role in VBC.
Fact: With secure access to images, results are available faster, patients are happier not to have to undergo an unnecessary procedure (even if the dose was not an issue), and providers and patients avoid the cost of a duplicate procedure.
Additionally, radiology has been the leader in developing the technology to ingest, store, access, and distribute images. The entire healthcare enterprise can benefit from their knowledge and methods for image access and storage.
Myth 2: Radiologists don’t need full access to the EHR/EMR.
Fact: When radiologists have two-way access to the EHR, patients can benefit from a more informed read, radiologists can be more productive, and there is less room for mistakes to be made. In the words of a Senior Director of Research at KLAS, “Healthcare organizations can integrate images into EMRs in a way that makes it possible to enable providers to make more informed decisions and move clinical care forward.”(1)
Myth 3: Referring physicians don’t need fancy reports with embedded images. If they want access to the images, they can always request them.
Fact: Referring physicians can make more informed decisions when images are integrated into the EMR. Just ask Dr. Cree Gaskin of UVA who told Radiology Today Magazine that radiologists are missing a tremendous opportunity if they don’t embrace multi-media reporting. (2)
Reports are even more informative when they also include quantitative information in the form of tables and graphs, interactive features including hyperlinks to key regions of interest on specific images, and bookmarks that take users directly to relevant priors.
Myth 4: Radiology is the sole decision maker when it comes to imaging IT
Fact: In today’s healthcare world, image distribution belongs to the enterprise. Often IT can offer a solution that provides native capabilities integrated into the departmental PACS that not only increase productivity in radiology, but also offer enterprise-wide benefits including the ability to read multiple modalities from one workstation.
Smart software can improve workflow and clinical collaboration by permitting a global worklist, helping with priority assignments, streamlining resource management, security, and interoperability for better deployment.
Myth 5: Patients don’t use online portals for images; and they don’t want to share them with doctors, friends, and relatives.
Fact: Patients engage with their patient portals and share images with clinicians, friends, and relatives. As patients are sent to specialists for critical care, and back to their PCP for maintenance, they are aware of the need for image access to be easy and quick. Increased image access can help increase patient satisfaction.
Myth 6: Radiology has no part in reducing hospital admissions.
Fact: Providers can review images to identify risk factors for hospital readmission, and compare the data to population health statistics to help improve outcomes and reduce admissions.
Imaging and radiology are central to achieving value-based care. With more complete information, a radiologist is in a position to suggest an imaging protocol that more quickly identifies a patient’s condition which can help lead to a better outcome. With more complete information from the radiologist, the referring doctor might arrive at a solution that is not only more appropriate, but less costly. Collaboration among radiologists, patients, and referring patients allows improved outcomes through faster treatment, improved clinician insight, and more productive radiologists – all components of VBC.