Outsmarting the Radiology Workflow Management Problem

In a radiology practice, resources are often scarce, always stretched thin, and too costly to waste. Yet valuable radiologist time is often spent simply determining which study to read next. The pressure to keep turnaround time low and RVUs high, while maintaining high quality and fulfilling non-reading tasks, is unforgiving.

In a radiology practice, resources are often scarce, always stretched thin, and too costly to waste. Yet valuable radiologist time is often spent simply determining which study to read next. The pressure to keep turnaround time low and RVUs high, while maintaining high quality and fulfilling non-reading tasks, is unforgiving.

The increased expectations of medical imaging organizations have inspired new software solutions that can alleviate a lot of the strain. One notable example is the advent of intelligent, automated workflow solutions that can maximize productivity, increase quality, and provide important insight into business metrics for ongoing optimization.

Achieve Worklist Perfection

Intelerad’s InteleOrchestrator™ solution delivers on all counts. It automates the process of organizing and prioritizing the radiology reading worklist across the entire organization for optimum efficiency. InteleOrchestrator™ offers features that boost practice productivity as well as radiologist satisfaction, while also providing data and tools to identify issues and implement solutions, leading to increased quality.

With InteleOrchestrator, a powerful assignment engine constantly evaluates and prioritizes cases in the queue in real time, accounting for variables such as radiologist subspecialty, credentials, workload, location, and availability, while also factoring in service-level agreement (SLA) requirements and STAT escalation needs.

Cases are automatically and consistently distributed to the most appropriate subspecialist, ensuring that the right study is always read by the right person at the right time. A smart, context-aware worklist effects a more balanced workload, higher quality, reduced turnaround time, and higher radiologist satisfaction.

Analyze Business Metrics to Identify and Address Issues

In addition to providing features that support radiologists directly, InteleOrchestrator also provides tools that benefit the business leaders and radiologist support teams in an imaging organization. More than a workflow manager, InteleOrchestrator also provides an analytics platform with data and tools to measure practice productivity, value, and quality. Performance dashboards track individual reading workload and progress. Integrated analytics are available to track and compare trends over time.

With a complete repository of workflow data, InteleOrchestrator can be utilized to inform and identify productivity- and quality-related issues. With the built-in analytics features, business leaders or support teams can monitor and analyze a wide variety of metrics, such as:

  • Turnaround times for every segment in the exam lifecycle
  • Turnaround times averaged by shift, reading location, radiologist, modality, site, and priority
  • Time spent in dictation for each exam and aggregated by procedure code
  • When the exam was read, where the exam was read
  • Radiologist who read the exam (FT/PT/teleradiologist, subspecialty)
  • Operations requests for each exam including time spent completing the request
  • Results communicated for each exam including time spent completing the communication
  • Exam metrics (body part, subspecialty, RVU, work unit, SLA compliance, subspecialist read)
  • Peer review error rate by time of day

Peer Review Example: Leveraging Data to Identify Opportunities for Improvement

The primary measure of report quality is peer review, and InteleOrchestrator incorporates a double-blinded peer review process with random assignment. It supports both ongoing peer review – automatic assignment to meet specific quotas across site, radiologist and modality – as well as focused peer review – controlled assignment by exam type or radiologist to focus on areas needing improvement. A process for feedback to the radiologist is built in, offering immediate visibility to ratings and comments.

The graph below presents an example of workflow data from InteleOrchestrator involving the peer review process that would enable an imaging organization to identify an issue and create a solution. It shows the number of exams with an unfavorable peer review score as a function of the time of day that the exam was dictated. The left axis and bar graph illustrate the number of exams with an unfavorable rating; the right axis and line graph show the percent of all peer reviews with an unfavorable rating.

A likely conclusion from this data is that radiologists are more inclined to make mistakes when they are busy, tired, or hungry.

Monitoring this data over time would establish times of day where quality is more vulnerable. A practice could start to investigate workflow changes to mitigate the impact of this, such as specifying which exams are read during more vulnerable times. The solution could include schedule changes or reading workflow changes to assign “easier” cases in the mid-day hours to radiologists who have been working longer.

Establish a Universal, Unified, Cross-Enterprise Imaging Workflow

InteleOrchestrator can be used with a variety of third-party diagnostic viewers and voice recognition systems. It can also be paired with Intelerad’s InteleOne® XE interoperability solution to seamlessly link users from a single diagnostic viewer interface to patient images and reports that are stored in any of the disparate systems found across an organization’s imaging ecosystem.

In combination, these two powerful Intelerad solutions aggregate reading tasks and relevant priors from any/all repositories across the enterprise into a single, actionable, intelligent worklist. The resulting unified, cross-enterprise workflow enhances productivity and resource utilization organization-wide. All authorized users, whether located at an imaging center or hospital, stationed at a remote facility, or working from home, can experience the same seamless, universal access to patient orders, images, and structured reporting across diverse patient identifier domains.

Modernize the Read Environment

By modernizing their reading environments with Intelerad’s intelligent workflow technology, medical imaging operations are literally outsmarting the worklist management problem while opening the doors to a whole range of new possibilities for optimizing business problems and consolidating disparate technology systems.

Furthermore, a modernized reading environment makes it easier to attract and retain radiologists, a key concern for so many imaging organizations.

We have been working with these technologies as a radiology group client as well as a reseller partner, for multiple years. the combination of Intelerad’s workflow and diagnostic solutions with its intelligent worklist technology has allowed us and our clients to manage workflow more efficiently and intelligently. It’s been a key driver of our growth.”

Worth Saunders, CEO of Greensboro Radiology and President of Canopy Partners

As if it weren’t smart enough, Intelerad’s intelligent workflow technology is AI-enabled and can be augmented with meaningful information through a vendor-neutral interface. This is critical as the role of artificial intelligence in medical imaging evolves and becomes more established.

Why Intelligent Workflow? A Smarter Way to Read

Establishing a unified, intelligent, cross-enterprise workflow is vital to the success and growth of today’s medical imaging operation – whether hospital-based, imaging center, or independent radiology practice.

Increase the efficiency and productivity of an imaging organization’s most expensive and thinly-stretched resources – radiologists – by removing the burden of deciding which study to read next. Streamline the process of locating relevant priors stored in another system, use analytics to identify bottlenecks and implement solutions, increase the quality of interpretation, reduce study backlog, eliminate costly over-reads by ensuring radiologists only read exams for which they are credentialed, establish or enhance multi-specialty 24×7 support. The possibilities are endless once you open the door to the potential of intelligent, automated workflow.