“Troika” Creates a Benchmark for the Radiology Departments of Non-Government Hospitals in China

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A View of the Radiology Department Inside Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital.

Table of contents

Due to travel requirements, Wang Xue, who was on business in Xi’an, went to Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital for nucleic acid testing. This was her first time to go to this hospital. Just after completion of the test, her mobile phone received a patient satisfaction questionnaire pushed by the hospital.

While filling in the form, Wang Xue said to herself that non-government hospitals do better in connecting with patients.

Xi’an, home to the Air Force Medical University (formerly the Fourth Military Medical University), Xi’an Jiaotong University and some other universities, is a truly important city providing medical services, with more than 30 tertiary hospitals. Among a great number of strong players, Xi’an GaoxinGaoxinHospital, as the first tertiary hospital non-government hospital in China, has been developing steadily in the past 20 years and ranks among the top 20 non-government hospitals in China.

Song Ying, President of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital

When interviewed about development experience, Song Ying, the president of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital, told the CN-Healthcare, “we insist on giving priority to public welfare, bravely assume social responsibility, stick to running our hospital in accordance with the law and in good faith, pay close attention to discipline construction, scientific research and teaching, and talent echelon construction, and have gained a good harvest in terms of both medical quality and patient satisfaction.”

The radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital is medical specialization with high advantages in Xi’an, and the chief organizational member of Shaanxi Provincial Non-government Radiology Professional Committee. Under the leadership of Han Yuedong, the radiology department has performed excellently in providing diagnosis for the hospital and treatment support and convenient services for patients, which has been recognized by the industry.

Service: more convenient and more humanistic

“This feeling is so strong!” Han Yuedong, director of the radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital, blurted out when talking about the feeling of working with a non-government hospital after leaving a public hospital.

He said that in public hospitals, more consideration is given to improving professional ability. After joining Xi’an GaoxinGaoxinHospital, in addition to focusing on professional improvement, he also attaches great importance to providing more convenient and more humanistic services for patients. “Patients will be very grateful for doctors who can provide a little more help to them – I have met many such patients.”

For the convenience of patients, the radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital carried out 7x24service, and a patient can receive his report on the day that he is admitted to hospital. “We provide support, especially for the timely diagnosis and treatment of critical patients at night.” Han Yuedong said.

It is impossible to provide examination service around the clock in most hospitals. Han Yuedong said that on the one hand, it requires the radiology department to reasonably schedule staff shifts; on the other hand, it will inevitably involve the sacrifice of the rest time of staff.

Patients in other places need to pay a lot of time and economic costs to get medical treatment in Xi’an. To alleviate this problem, the radiology department, with the support of hospital leaders, has introduced artificial intelligence for cardiovascular angiography, which has achieved the goal that “a coronary CTA report is available in half a day” so that a patient can receive his report on the same day without having to go back and forth, especially benefiting patients from other places.

The radiology department has two zones in the new complex building of the new branch of the hospital, namely, Imaging Zone I on the first floor and Imaging Zone II on the second floor.  As for the reason for this design, “the convenience for patients to seek medical treatment is one of the important considerations”, Song Ying said.

Imaging Zone I is close to the emergency department of the hospital, which is convenient for emergency examination, and can effectively shorten the time of examination and movement and gain time for the treatment of patients. Imaging Zone II is set up in a “surrounding” way to meet the examination needs of various departments in the new hospital area, reduce the travel time for patients and healthcare professionals, and improve the convenience.

“We will continue to explore more convenient and humanistic measures for patients and keep improving convenience and humanity.” Han Yuedong said.

Talent: pyramid structure

Although it is important to improve patients’ medical experience, the technical ability and level of a doctor are fundamental. The radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital spares no effort in talent training.

“A good department needs to have three elements: academic leaders, advanced equipment and excellent service.” Song Ying said that Han Yuedong, a P.h.D from Xijing Hospital, has extensive clinical experience and professionalism. Under his leadership, the radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital has made great achievements in recent years.

Han Yuedong, Director of the Radiology Department

Han Yuedong graduated from the former Fourth Military Medical University and acted as the director of the Imaging Center of the General Hospital of Lanzhou Military Region. He is serving as a member of the Standing Committee of the National Non-government Medical Radiation Professional Committee, a member of the Standing Committee of the Imaging Professional Committee of the Shaanxi Physicians Association, and a chief member of the Shaanxi Non-government Radiation Professional Committee, and has presided over and participated in many national and military scientific research projects.

The radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital provides a complete range of services, involving DR, CT, MRI, DSA and other fields, which put forward requirements for its staff’s comprehensive capabilities while giving broad space for staff development. In order to improve the ability of talents, Han Yuedong has taken two methods.

Firstly, the radiology department emphasizes that a talent should become expert in one field while possessing all-round knowledge and ability. The radiology department requires colleagues to work hard on their respective sub-specialties to reach a higher level. On this basis, they should also dabble in other fields, “which will be very beneficial to clinical development”.

Secondly, the radiology department emphasizes that everybody are allowed to grow at the pace of their talent. The radiology department assigns staff to suitable posts and platforms according to their individual capabilities and characteristics to accelerate personalized talent growth.

By adopting these two measures, after years of operation, the radiology department has formed a relatively reasonable talent echelon, which is in a standard pyramid structure in terms of age, education background and professional title and lays a talent foundation for the healthy and sustainable development of the department.

The department holds a film reading meeting every working day morning.

The radiology department also pays special attention to professional training. It was said that the department holds a film reading meeting on difficult cases and technical image quality improvement every working day morning, at which Han Yuedong makes comments and summaries (on whether the preparation and nursing for patients before examination are in place, whether the technical image scanning protocols need to be improved, and whether the image sign analysis by physicians is all-around). The department has been holding such morning meetings for six years without interruption.

There is a topic-based learning every week. Han Yuedong asked all young and middle-aged doctors in the department to participate in case follow-up, and each of them must follow up the patients who have had imaging examinations and received pathological results for one week, and select representative cases to do “imaging-pathology” film reading every Wednesday. With the improvement of colleagues’ technical level and due to the needs of the department’s services, this activity has now developed into lectures on new technologies and cutting-edge topics every Wednesday.

In order to enable colleagues to learn and master sophisticated technologies, Han Yuedong has adopted the approach of ” fanning out from a point to an area” by asking young doctors to “take turns” and “giving them the opportunity to learn and access all relevant knowledge, so that gradually everyone will master it”.

Over the six years since he took office in Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital, Han Yuedong led the department to make many breakthroughs “from scratch” – from the daily routine film reading for case and technical image quality improvement to the case follow-up involving all doctors, and from the implementation of “passing on experience of the senior to the new” and the “New Technology Weekly” update of every Wednesday to the “job rotation” system among young doctors. He has fully provided learning opportunities. He has made great efforts to persist in learning, promote learning and train new doctors.

Equipment: Sharp tools make good work

Good work requires sharp tools. Medical imaging diagnosis is closely related to equipment.

The radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital has a complete range of advanced equipment, including CR and DR systems, digital intestines and stomach machine, 3.0T MRI, 16 row helical CT, 128 row 256 layer iCT and other advanced diagnostic equipment. In terms of equipment, it is not inferior to any local tertiary public hospitals. Some of its equipment is even the first introduced in Shaanxi Province and even in the northwest.

At the beginning of 2021, Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital introduced CARESTREAM DRX Compass X-ray system, which has helped improve the radiology service.

CARESTREAM DRX Compass X-ray system

Liu Wenqian is an imaging technician in the radiology department of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital. Every day, she performs about 100 DR examinations. The most time-consuming thing is frame positioning. It often takes several minutes to adjust the frame from an upright position to a lying position.

DRX-Compass can complete program-controlled auto-positioning as per technician’s instructions through 360-degree electric drive of suspension tube stand. After the preliminary positioning for photography is completed, the system can complete the adjustment of the detail position through the omni-directional and multi-angle automatic tracking function. The operation time is greatly reduced.

What has impressed Liu Wenqian also includes the easily accessible tube-end control handle of the system, the matching of color-coded buttons with the colors on the suspension guide rail, and the easy-to-clean near-table operation panel… All these allow operators to devote more time and energy to patients, reducing the work intensity of operators.

In addition, DRX-Compass is equipped with the latest DRX Plus detector, which features fast operation, light weight, dust-proof and waterproof, and more diversified application scenarios. “Some patients have serious fractures, so they may not be able to move to the bed. I can take out the detector and put it directly under their body, which is convenient for patients and can avoid secondary injuries to patients.”

DRX-Compass also provides a wealth of advanced clinical application functions and image processing techniques, and automatic long-length imaging can greatly reduce the shooting time and exposure dose…

“The intelligent features of DRX-Compass simplify the operation process, save operation time and improve the flow of patients.” Han Yuedong said, “Its image quality is very good. Long bone splicing and other functions have played a very good role in clinical diagnosis. Since we used this product, the overall effect is good.”

Zhao Haitao, Director of the Medical Department

Xi’an International Medical Center Hospital and Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital are both affiliated to Xi’an International Medical Group. Zhao Haitao, director of the medical department, is an argumentation expert in equipment procurement of the Group and has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. With regard to the selection of imaging equipment, reliability, stability, image quality and product brand are the factors she pays most attention to.

“The imaging department has a large number of equipment in a hospital, and the Center Hospital is a trinity of medical work, teaching and research. On the one hand, equipment procurement should meet clinical needs; on the other hand, it should maintain a certain degree of advancement in software and hardware to meet teaching and research. Of course, cost performance is also very important.”

Xi’an International Medical Center Hospital has purchased many Carestream products, including mobile DR systems, DR imaging rooms and kiosks, etc. Zhao Haitao recognized the performance of these products.

To achieve innovative development, Zhao Haitao believes that product quality and after-sales service are equally important for hospitals. In addition to the image quality, she has also been very impressed with the quality service of Carestream Health. “When we need Carestream, what we need to do is just to make a call, and they respond very quickly, whether to replace parts on door-to-door basis or to provide online guidance”.

Influence extends beyond the hospital

The influence of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital extends beyond the hospital. It has published the MRI Diagnosis for Soft Tissues, the first monograph on MR for soft tissue lesions in China, and Radiology Cases Reviewing of Soft Tissue Tumors and Tumor-like Lesions, a case analysis collection. Han Yuedong is the main editor of them.

“The writing of these books can promote the leading role of our department, our hospitals and even Xi’an in radiology medicine.” Han Yuedong said.

In April 2021, the National Academic Annual Meeting of the Radiation Professional Committee of Chinese Non-government Medical Institutions Association, organized by Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital, was held in Xi’an, and Han Yuedong was elected as the chief committee member.

Song Ying has many expectations for the radiology department. “With the expansion of Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital and the continuous increase of talent echelon, the hospital has ushered in a ‘second take-off’. As a medical technology department in the hospital and an advantageous specialty in Xi’an, the radiology department should give play to its technical advantages to provide the best professional services for patients and clinical departments.”

She expects that, as the chief organizational member of Shaanxi Provincial Non-government Medical Radiology Professional Committee, the radiology department of Xi’an GaoxinHospital should enable more sub-specialties to edge into the advanced ranks in Shaanxi Province and even across the whole country, through the continuous improvement of professional level, and should lead the non-government medical radiology industry in Shaanxi Province to take a standardized and professionalized road to better serve patients, so as to “ultimately build a regional radiology center.”

Compared with public hospitals, non-government hospitals have many constraints, such as those in terms of talent introduction and policy support. There is still room for improvement in standardization. Han Yuedong has a clear understanding of the reality: “Professional development cannot be achieved in a short period of time. It takes time to accumulate, and it requires endurance of loneliness.”

However, Han Yuedong is full of confidence in fulfilling the president’s expectations. “After several years of development, our department is now in a golden period of time, and we have introduced many advanced equipment, and our team has been constantly enriched and replenished. We have the ability and confidence to realize the president’s expectations.” Han Yuedong plans to continue to focus on improving professional capabilities and patient services in the future.

Editor’s Note: The name “Wang Xue” used in this article is a pseudonym.


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